Lower Canyon, Mexican Hat to Clay Hills


5 Days, 4 Nights, 58 miles

Meeting Place

Wild Rivers Expeditions - Bluff, Utah


$1257/adult and $1072/15 & Under

Additional $20/person BLM Permit


A relaxed itinerary is perfectly suited to the lower canyon's stunning aesthetic. One of the most beautiful river reaches in North America, our five-day  trip affords ample time to explore its wonderful side canyons. Lovers of canyon country will be moved by this wonderful float.



Night Before Departure:

You will meet at Wild Rivers in Bluff at 7:00 p.m. for the prelaunch orientation. Your trip leader will hand out waterproof bags and boxes. We can also supply sleeping bags, pads and tents, but be sure to reserve them in advance with our office.


Day One:

We'll all meet at Wild Rivers at about 8:15 am, hop into our vans and head for Mexican Hat. Once we get to the BLM ramp in Mexican Hat we'll have a short orientation, then hit the river. Just a few hundred yards downstream from the launch ramp we'll run one of the lower San Juan's biggest rapids: Gypsum. We'll float downstream and stop for a hike over the saddle at Mendenhall Loop for a visit to an old prospector's cabin and lunch on the beach. Then we'll float through the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan for a first night camp at Honaker Trail.


Day Two:

After breakfast we'll "rim-out" on the Honaker Trail. Honaker Trail is an historic mule trail built to supply gold prospectors on the San Juan a century ago. Once we make the rim we are rewarded with a panoramic view of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. You'll see Monument Valley, Cedar Mesa and the Valley of the Gods, among many other geological formations. Then we'll hike back down for lunch and spend the afternoon floating to Ross Rapid or John's Canyon for camp.


Day Three:

We hop into the boats after breakfast for a big water day running Government Rapid, the largest rapid on the Bluff to Clay Hills portion of the river. We'll lunch along the way and camp at Slickhorn Gulch. Slickhorn is one of the largest drainages into the San Juan and features beautifully carved grottos with springs and pools and hanging gardens of desert canyon vegetation. Slickhorn is one of our favorite places.


Day Four:

On day four we float to Grand Gulch for lunch, making a short hike up this scenic canyon. After lunch we'll make our way to Oljeto Wash. We'll make camp here in time to also hike up into this spectacular sandstone chasm.


Day Five:

We'll break camp in the morning, floating through the final sandstone gorge of the lower canyon in the soft morning light. We often make the first hour of the last day a "silent float," affording everyone a bit of time in silence to reflect upon the journey and focus one last time on the canyon's wonderful sights and sounds. We meet our vans at Clay Hills by around 2 pm, then make  the journey back to Bluff.



This itinerary leaves lots of time for exploring, photo taking, and just enjoying the solitude of the canyon and the camaraderie of your newfound  friends. Hikes are easy to moderately difficult and are always optional.


-Gypsum Rapid

-Mendenhall Loop

-The Goosenecks

-Honaker Trail

-Slickhorn Gulch

-Ross Rapid

-John's Canyon

Twin Canyon Rapid

-Government Rapid

Meeting Place

Blanding Office:

Four Corners Adventures

254 E Center Street

Blanding, Utah 84511


Contact Us

Bluff Office:

Wild Rivers Expeditions

2625 South Highway 191

Bluff, Utah 84512


Contact Us