Lower Canyon, Mexican Hat to Clay Hills


4 Days, 3 Nights, 58 miles

Meeting Place

Wild Expeditions - Bluff, Utah


$999/adult and $849/15 & Under

Additional $20/person BLM Permit

Lower River Government Rapids Raft




The Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing stretch of the San Juan River is one of the prettiest canyons you might ever visit. We'll see geological formations created over 300 million years ago and visit some historical sites along the way. The side canyons we might visit feature pools, springs, waterfalls and sculpted grottos with hanging gardens.





Night Before Departure:

You will meet at Wild Expeditions 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 Expeditions 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 a 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:

The Lower Canyon offers geology that can't be beaten. The rapids are larger in the Lower Canyon and it is much more remote. It is simply a beautiful place to be.



This itinerary leaves lots of time for exploring, photo taking, and just enjoying the solitude of the canyon and the camaraderie of your new-found friends. Hikes are easy to moderately difficult and are always optional. The trip can be lengthened to five days for an even more leisurely pace.



-Gypsum Rapid

-Mendenhall Loop

-The Goosenecks

-Honaker Trail

-Slickhorn Gulch

-Ross Rapid

-John's Canyon

Twin Canyon Rapid

-Government Rapid

Meeting Place


Wild Expeditions

2625 South Highway 191

Bluff, Utah 84512


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