Other Whitewater Trips on the San Juan River


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Paddlesports Schools:

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Located in:
Salida, CO

More Details
Our Website
Whitewater Kayaking, Rafting, Rock Climbing, & Mountain Biking: Guided Tours and Professional Instruction. Choose your own a (more...)
 
 
 
 

Paddlesports Schools:

Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School
Located in:
Forks of Salmon, CA

More Details
Our Website
Otter Bar offers all skill levels of whitewater kayak instruction based out of our wilderness lodge on California's pristine Salmo (more...)
 
 
 
 

Paddlesports Schools:

Great Northern Whitewater Resort/Glacier River School
Located in:
West Glacier, MT

More Details
Our Website
River/Guide school Great Northern Resort has a 36 year history of providing whitewater and fishing trips on the Flathead River in (more...)
 
 
 
 

Paddlesports Schools:

Zoar Outdoor
Located in:
Charlemont, MA

More Details
Our Website
At Zoar Outdoor, we create great paddling experiences! For adults, kids and families that emphasize the joy of kayaking or canoein (more...)
 
 
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Utah  :: San Juan River Utah  :: Lower San Juan Kayak & Canoe Touring

Lower San Juan Kayak & Canoe Touring on the San Juan River

Related River Guidebooks on AllAboutRivers

Labyrinth Canyon River Guide
Labyrinth Canyon River Guide
in Utah River Guide Books
San Juan River Guide
San Juan River Guide
in Utah River Guide Books
Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
in Utah Road Maps
Fishing Utah
Fishing Utah
in Utah Fishing Guidebooks
Utah Road and Recreation Atlas
Utah Road and Recreation Atlas
in Utah Road Maps
Dinosaur River Guide
Dinosaur River Guide
in Colorado River Guide Books



View larger map of Lower San Juan & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
 
Lower San Juan Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Mexican Hat
Take Out:  Clay Hills Crossing
Difficulty:  Class I , Class II , Class III
Run Length:  56 miles
Good Level:  500 - 8000 cfs
Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Primary Season: 

The San Juan usually peaks in June and in drought years may drop to below raftable levels by late summer. However, lighter and smaller craft like inflatable kayaks and canoes can usually get down this trip year round.

Permit:  Permit required. Details can be found on our permits page.
Character/Similar To:  Classic western desert river trip. Medium volume of water.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Camping on River:  All camping beyond mile 65.8 now requires reservations and failure to reserve a campsite may result in up to a $500 fine!
Location:  In the Canyon Country (UT), 360 miles Southeast of Salt Lake City
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put-in: In the town of Mexican Hat, turn south off of SH 163 at the south side of Valle's Trailer Park. Continue to the BLM maintained boat ramp.

Take-out: Return to SH 163 and proceed north. Turn left on SH 261 and travel north to SH 95. Turn left on SH 95 and then left again on SH 276. At Clay Hills Crossing Road turn left. This is an unimproved road. Continue 11 miles to Clay Hills Crossing.


Lower San Juan on the San Juan River

Two miles downstream from Mexican Hat, the river cuts into the Cedar Mesa Anticline and remains in a narrow canyon until Clay Hills Crossing. The river meanders through a series of deep meanders including the 3 mile long gooseneck at the heart of Goosenecks State Park. Here the river canyon is very remote and 1200 feet deep.

Farther downstream several canyons join the San Juan creating rapids from years of flash flooding. Class III Government Rapid near mile 64, is the most difficult in this section. Just downstream, Slickhorn Canyon is well known for slickrock pools of water a short distance up from the river.

Near mile 70, Grand Gulch opens up on river right. Here the river widens and the current slows. Downstream the river becomes shallow and at low water can be difficult to navigate with rafts.

Clay Hills crossing is on river right at near mile 83. This is the take-out. It's not recommended to proceed below Clay Hills Crossing. Depending on the level of Lake Powell, river current may continue for a few more miles. However, the next access point is Bull Frog Marina on Lake Powell. 


Last Edited by josho on 6/1/2011
 

Towns near Lower San Juan Kayaking

Durango Colorado
Farmington New Mexico
Moab Utah
Pagosa Springs Colorado


Other Resources

Canyon Country Kayak Clubs
  • U of Utah Outdoor Recreation Program
  • Utah Whitewater Club
  • Conservation Organizations
  • Glen Canyon Institute
  • Virgin River Runners' Coalition