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site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Utah  :: San Juan River Utah  :: Montezuma Creek to Sand Island Kayak & Canoe Touring

Montezuma Creek to Sand Island Kayak & Canoe Touring on the San Juan River

View larger map of Montezuma Creek to Sand Island & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Montezuma Creek to Sand Island Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Montezuma Creek
Take Out:  Sand Island
Difficulty:  Class I
Run Length:  19 miles
Current Streamflow:  645 cfs @ 12/14/2016 11:30 AM - SAN JUAN RIVER NEAR BLUFF, UT, reading taken from USGS
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,canoe,touring
Land Ownership:  Mixed, Navajo Nation and BLM.
Camping on River:  Yes, many campsites that are detailed in both the river guides shown above. However both sides of the river down to Recapture Creek are within the Navajo Nation and a permit for camping and hiking is required from the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department. None of the sites get enough regular use to become established campsites.
Location:  In the Canyon Country (UT), of
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put-in: Turn off of the paved State Highway 162 onto a dirt road that starts directly opposite the northwestern most high school parking lot entrance. Proceed southwest 100 yards to a large water tank. Turn right just before the water tank and proceed back to the left (southwest) through a gate and down a gradual grade to the bottomland just east of the levees marked on the map. Follow this dirt road southwest about 1/4 mile until you reach the river. If the gate is locked, there is an alternate put-in upstream from the highway bridge. Leaving unattended vehicles overnight in either location is not recommended.

Take-out: Return to SH 162 head west. Shortly after SH 162 merges with SH 191, you will enter the town of Bluff UT. Continue through Bluff and turn left on Sand Island Road. Continue to the boat ramp.

Montezuma Creek to Sand Island on the San Juan River

This is a lesser run trip. However, in the 19 miles, you'll encounter close-up views of sandstone cliffs and numerous archeological ruins.

The river is shallow and braided in places. The river meanders from one side of the valley to the other.

There are no rapids but at high water the current can be strong. This is a nice addition to the more popular trip that starts downstream.

Last Edited by josho on 6/1/2011

Other Resources

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