• The remarkable red
rock of the San Juan offers reason enough to want to experience this
river canyon. You'll move between regal walls of limestone, sandstone,
and fossils that have been created and cemented throughout the ages.
The result are layers of red, brown, white, and tan colored rocks of
the impressive and numerous cliffs, sometimes layered like the ripples
of the water, sometimes layered with shiny blue-black manganese oxide,
referred to as “desert varnish.” In addition to the
multicolored canyon walls, the San Juan rushes past some of the states
most well known stretches of breathtaking buttes, pinnacles and mesas.
• The Native American
tribe known to have inhabited the area, are thought to have arrived to
the area around 1 A.D. For nearly 13 centuries, the Anasazi prospered
off the small game found in the area and cultivated squash, corn, and
beans. They learned to make potted goods, weave clothing from cotton,
as well as inventing and perfecting the bow and arrow. Perhaps their
most well - known accomplishments are the pueblos and various
architectural, religious, and domestic structures that they constructed
from the region's omnipresent rock and mud. Numerous cliff dwellings,
and impressive prehistoric rock art, are still found along the San Juan
River canyon. Centuries later, gold miners, river-running pioneers and
explorers added to the San Juan's history a taste of the Old West.
• Tremendous hiking
trails are frequent along the San Juan river. They range from moderate
walks to much steeper climbs to create an impressive trail system.
Prehistoric Pueblo rock art and rock art,waterfalls, panoramic vistas,
waterfalls and natural sandstone pools.
• The San Juan is a
great river trip for groups with children as young as five. Pleasant
weather, cool water, and clean sandy beaches all combine to make this a
great vacation destination for families of nearly any age. Floating
along the river, worries disappear as families and friends come closer
together. TV, telephones and computers are replaced by campfires, tents
and rafts – memories that you'll keep forever. They'll have a
great time camping,swimming, , playing and spotting wildlife, your
teenagers won't even mind a vacation like this! Because we think of
every detail, from camp chores to meals, your time is your own to enjoy
time with friends and family. Ask about our Family Friendly trips that
are designed specifically with your child in mind.
• From Sand Island to Clay
Hills Crossing, the San Juan is a docile river, providing a leisurely
float that's periodically interrupted with exhilarating Class II
riffles. Drifting down this calm stretch of river, you can focus your
energy on the warm sunshine, chatting with your fellow boat mates,
interpretive information from your informed guides, and the quiet
contemplation of your incredible surroundings. You'll also have plenty
of swimming opportunities, from the lazy river to the lovely waterfalls
and natural sandstone-walled swimming pools that you'll visit.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and
always flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the
group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The
following is a sample of what a trip with us could entail.
The Day Before Your Trip…
We'll meet at 7:00 pm at Recapture Lodge in
Bluff, Utah, for our pre-trip meeting. This is a great opportunity to
get to know your guides and fellow travelers ad well as to ask any
final questions. Your guides will give you a trip orientation before
passing out your waterproof river bags so that you can protect your
belongings during your time on the water.
• We start the day with
a pleasant drive from Bluff to our launch site at Sand Island.
Following an in – depth safety talk, we start off on our
journey. We'll float downstream for a few hours, getting acquainted
with our fellow travelers and taking in the beauty of all that
surrounds us. Butler Wash will be our first stop, where we'll explore
petroglyphs that seem to dance across the rock wall. The figures shown
here are thought to be gods, or “Kachinas.” This is
a great introduction to the preserved art we'll be seeing over the
following week. We'll also see “moki steps” which
are believed to have been carved into the cliffs more than 800 years
• Our first day sets the pace
for what will be our time on the river. We usually spend a few hours on
the water before lunch; perhaps breaking for a hike, a visit to a
Indian ruin or waterfall, or an invigorating swim.
• At lunchtime, we take out at
a sandy beach and enjoy a fantastic picnic. After a relaxing feast on
the beach (or perhaps a walk, a swim or a game of Frisbee), we get back
into the boats and watch as the desert views slowly change as we float
downstream on the river.
• Mid to late-afternoon, we
pull off the water to set up camp. Our guests set up their tents while
we take care of the kitchen and “living room”
– camp chairs set up around tonight's campfire site (if
permitted). This is a great time for you to relax on the beach cradling
that book you've been trying to finish. It won't be long before you're
savoring hors d'oeuvres and a cold beverage– food always
seems taste just a little better after an active day on the river! Nap,
read, or just sit back with friends and family as we take care of
• After another great meal, the
evening is up to you how you spend it Music, jokes, or stories may
bring us together this evening; or perhaps the pop of the fire, the
sounds of the river and the clear country sky will encourage reflection
on the surrounding wilderness that is, for now, our home.
• The day starts with
the dawn light turning off the cliff walls. Fresh tea and coffee are
ready for you when you get up; grab a cup, and enjoy the glory of the
waking river. Breakfast is soon served – omelets as you like
them, fresh berry pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, juice and toast are
among the treats you will enjoy every morning. Once everyone's eaten
you'll sort and pack your things as your guides take down camp before
we begin our day's adventure.
• Another great hike awaits us
just 6 miles into our morning's journey – River House, a
tremendously preserved prehistoric dwelling. We may also take time to
explore the Hole in the Rock along the well - known Mormon Trail.
• As the San Juan brings us
further into the impressive geological corridor, we begin to find
evidence of activity above and within the earth over the course of its
300-plus-million-year existence. Within just the first 10 miles, the
river meets the Comb Ridge monocline, a massive upwarp that reaches out
unbroken for more than 50 miles. After that it's back to our boats to
start our descent into the upper canyon of the San Juan, where we will
encounter our first rapids. FourFoot Rapid. Ledge and Eight-Foot Rapids
also spice up our relaxing float as we come into the upper
“Narrows,” a tight gorge carved from the brilliant
rock layers by the very river we find ourselves drifting along. All
along, we watch out for bighorn sheep close to the waters edge and
Prehistoric Puebloan ruins • The more adventurous
hikers in the group may wish to tackle the steep and sometimes
difficult climb up the Raplee Anticline. It may take some effort to
reach the top, but the view that will meet us is more than worth it.
Here we'll take the time to enjoy up the impressive views of Monument
Valley and Mexican Hat rock. Once back on the river, we'll pass the
town of Mexican Hat and enter into the Mendenhall Loop, the start of
the well - known San Juan River Goosenecks. This snake-like stretch of
the river twists so tightly that we cover only seven river miles along
a section otherwise measuring a short two miles as the crow flies! As
we wind along the river we'll pass delicate formations of water and
rock like the Second Narrows and the Tabernacle.
• A visit Slickhorn Gulch for a
welcomed swim in its natural pools is a favorite stop on the San Juan
trips. This impressive canyon holds a multitude of surprises, including
waterfalls, fossils, and maidenhair ferns.
• We need not say how welcome
our cuisine will be each night, or how delicious after a full day of
adventures. Tonight you may enjoy grilled salmon with orange zest, a
fresh mixed salad and wild rice. Or perhaps a juicy, lean steak served
with mushrooms. You'll soon know by our service that we truly want this
to be one of your most memorable experiences, from the making of new
friends to the magnificence of the wide open desert sky.
• Our trip draws to an end on
Day 6 as we soon reach the boat ramp as Clay Hills. Feeling the
desertion civilization for the past six days, and having grown close to
your fellow travelers and guides, the bus ride back to Bluff and
“civilization” is bittersweet.
What's Included with the San Juan Trip?
• All meals from lunch
on Day 1 through lunch on last day
• All transportation from Bluff to and from the
river returning to Bluff
• Excellent, knowledgeable guides
• High quality boats and equipment
• Transportation to and
• Pre- and post- accommodations and meals
• Personal items, a complete packing list is
included in the Trip Planner
Family Adventure Vacations & Family
Rafting - San Juan: Pages: 1