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San Juan River Hikes - Mile 0 to Mile 27, UT

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289 9 0
Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southeast
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 2
 
2
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Shuttle 11.13 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,429 feet
Elevation Gain 392 feet
Avg Time Hiking 2 Days
Kokopelli Seeds 12.44
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2018-04-20 AZLOT69
10  2018-04-19 AZLOT69
20  2017-04-29 juliachaos
34  2011-05-21 IsAli
28  2009-05-31
Chinle Wash through Comb Ridge
PaleoRob
28  2009-05-30 PaleoRob
31  2008-06-01
Chinle Wash through Comb Ridge
PaleoRob
64  2008-05-31 PaleoRob
Page 1,  2
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Associated Areas
list map done
Navajo Nation Reservation
Historical Weather
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Reservation Navajo Nation
Preferred   Oct, Apr, Mar, Nov → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:05am - 6:17pm
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0 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Don't get stuck without a paddle
by PaleoRob

The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River (now Lake Powell), that flows through New Mexico, a slice of Colorado, and Utah. The sections in Utah are especially popular with rafters, and many river runners on this stretch take advantage of the numerous hiking opportunities that can only be accessed by the river. Most are fairly short. The most popular of the river-based hikes are listed and described below, starting nearest the put-in at Sand Island (River Mile 0) down towards the Mexican Hat Boat Ramp (Mile 27). This is by all means not a comprehensive list, as many other hikes are possible. It also excludes hikes that can be accessed from off the river, such as the Emigrant Trail, Butler Wash proper, and Midway Canyon, as well as Chinle Wash through Comb Ridge (which is a trip in and of itself).


Upper Butler Wash: Upper Butler Wash is the lesser-visited cousin of the famous Lower Butler Wash petroglyph panel, but it is by no means unimpressive. Indeed it contains some masterful and haunting images, as well as scenes not seen on the Lower Butler Wash panel. From the landing beach, make your way through the tamarisk and willow flats back towards the cliff face. Cow paths and some hiker trails help funnel you towards a dense stand of Russian Olives. Before trying to go through them, look for the faint trail leading up onto the alluvial bench above, next to the cliff face. From here, a hiker-made trail follows the cliff face through moderate vegetation (which decreases as you move west). Keep your eyes on the cliff face for petroglyphs. Soon you begin climbing a boulder fall, and break free of the foliage entirely. The view is great out towards the river. Rock art is everywhere. One of the most interesting bits of rock art at the site (indeed, one of the most interesting bits of rock art I've seen anywhere) appears to depict a Ute conflict with settlers, with the Utes leading a horse and shooting bows and arrows, and the settlers firing guns. One of the settlers lays on the ground with his hat missing and a arrow through his head! When the San Juan River (and Butler Wash) are at a low ebb, it is possible to walk from here along the cliff face across the mouth of Butler Wash, and to the Lower Butler Wash panel. The round-trip distance from your boat (without hiking to Lower Butler Wash) is approximately .68 miles.

Lower Butler Wash: Lower Butler Wash is arguably one of the most famous petroglyph panels in the entire southwest, and justifiably so. Larger-than-life San Juan Anthropomorphic figures tower over you. A myriad of fantastic images flow along the cliff face. From the beach, hike north-northeast along a well-established trail towards the 'glyphs clearly visible on the cliff. Follow this trail along the cliff towards the east, and it then loops back towards the beach. This is one of the most popular hikes along this section of the river, and because of this the BLM has closed the area to camping. Be courteous! If you are in a large private trip, make sure there is enough room for other river runners to land on the very small beach. The total mileage for this loop is .33 miles.

Desecration Panel: Desecration Panel is a famous petrogylph site on the Navajo Nation side of the river, just beyond Butler Wash. It features Basketmaker III figures that were systematically gouged out by local Navajos who had fallen sick, under the direction of a native healer. A full account can be found in David Robert's "In Search of the Old Ones." From the Desecration Campsite on river left, hike south along the hiker-made trails towards the cliff face, through tamarisk and Russian Olives. The total round trip distance is approximately .25 miles.

River House: River House is one of the largest, most famous, and most well-visited Anasazi ruins along the San Juan River. Built during the middle-late 1200's, it got its modern name from two zig-zag pictographs on the ceiling of the alcove that early explorers though represented a map of the river. River House has undergone extensive stabilization, and in some sections of the ruin concrete and wire mesh can be seen helping to support walls. The remains of a kiva, and several storage and living rooms are preserved in the alcove, some still showing several layers of original plaster on their walls. From the river, hike through the Russian Olive and willow thickets to the sandy floodplain above. Beneath the cottonwoods, catch the well-defined hiker-made trail heading towards the low bluffs to the north. River House will become visible shortly through the trees. You will cross a sandy, almost unused dirt road, and then you will be at the base of the River House alcove. Access to the ruin is via a stone staircase that leads to the western edge of the alcove. The total round trip mileage to River House and back to the beach is about .7 miles.

Mule's Ear Diatreme: The Mule's Ear is one of the most prominent landmarks on Comb Ridge. Once your river trip passes through Comb Ridge, it will be visible on the southern horizon. While it is somewhat difficult to access from the river, the old volcanic plug to its west, the Mule's Ear Diatreme isn't. From the Mule's Ear of Lower Chinle campsites on left side of the river, hike south. There are a couple faint trails leading away from both of these campsites. The diatreme can be climbed from either the western or eastern side. Either follow the wash at the base of Comb Ridge (from Lower Chinle Camp) or the wash to the west of the diatreme (from Mule's Ear Camp) to the base of the Mule's Ear Diatreme. The slope is steep and rocky, and while some hiker-made trail sections may exist in some areas, each person or trip has to decide the best was up for themselves. The diatreme was thrust upward as semi-plastic magma from deep within the earth thousands of years ago, not quite a volcano with its very viscous magma. Garnets and even diamonds have reportedly been found in the Mule's Ear Diatreme (and others in the area, such as Alhambra Rock and El Capitan). After making your way to the summit, find the best way down to the wash you began your hike in, and follow that back to your boat. The total round trip distance for this hike is approximately 2.72 miles, depending on which camp you start at.

Perched Meander: The Perched Meander, located in the San Juan Canyon of Lime Ridge, provides a unique insight into the carving of these canyons. The San Juan River uses to flow in a tight loop at the level of the perched meander hundreds of thousands of years ago. Slowly the river cut through the narrow fin separating the two parts of the bend, at first creating what was no-doubt an impressive natural bridge, and then eating that way as the river continued to cut down, leaving the former stream channel high and dry. This hike is pretty straight forward, although it also has the greatest elevation change, from 4192 feet at the river beach up to 4520 feet at the pass. This hike cannot be done (because there is no place to land a boat) during high flows. From the beach, hike up the canyon a short ways. A pourover appears across the canyon, but this can be bypassed with a little effort. From on top of the pourover the rincon (plug of rock the river once cut around) stands in front of you. Simply follow one of the washes draining either side of the rincon up and around towards the back of the rincon. After the pass, simply descend the other wash back down to the pourover, and from the pourover down the canyon to the boat. This trip is approximately 2 miles in length.

Pourover: The Pourover is a neat, simple hike usually done as part of a scout of Eight Foot Rapid. From the beach upstream of the corner at Eight Foot on river left, simply walk along the obvious hiker-made foot trail at the base of the cliff. You will pass over the top of the pourover on a limestone bench - its a pretty neat view. If you continue along the ledge for a little while further you come to the remains of an old structure built against the cliff face. Anasazi? Miner? Not enough remains to be certain. You can then either hike back to your boat via the high route you came, or (if the water is low), hike back along the low route, which will allow you to view the pourover from the bottom as well. Total distance is about .25 miles.

Soda Basin: Soda Basin is certainly the longest of the popular hikes along this stretch of the San Juan River. In the 1920's, there was an oil boom on this section of the Colorado Plateau. The little town of Mexican Hat, just downriver, has lots of small, active oil wells still in productions, and upriver, at Aneth and Montezuma Creek there is a large oil and natural gas field that is highly active today. It was during this same period of time when prospectors decided to investigate the Lime Ridge Anticline. Anticlines are naturally great places to search for oil, as the layers that trap the oil are found closer to the surface. So these intrepid prospectors pushed a "road" from the area of Mexican Hat into Soda Basin, the most accessible area of the San Juan canyons through Lime Ridge. They drilled and blasted and tested and found absolutely nothing worthwhile, so they took what they could easily salvage and left the rest. Large oil-drilling and pumping machinery still litters Soda Basin - remember that it is part of this area's history, just like Anasazi ruins, so do not disturb it. The popular way to get into Soda Basin is to hike the old road from Fossil Stop Camp, which will give you great views of the river and canyons, as well as a chance to see rafters floating downriver and running Ledge Rapid. You can also check out the old construction techniques of the road. Another option, especially during the hot summer, is to simply land a boat at Soda Basin and walk around the drilling ruins from there. It isn't quite the hike as coming up from Fossil Stop Camp, but since there is no shade on this hike, it might work better for some groups. Like with Lower Butler Wash, Soda Basin is closed to camping (until below Ledge Rapid). If you make the full round-trip from Fossil Stop Camp, it is approximately 3 miles.

Sulfur Springs: Sulfur Springs is a neat little stop after you have left the San Juan Canyon. This stinking sulfur spring is just about a tenth of a mile up a small side-canyon on river right. It can be smelled from the river usually, even before it comes into sight. Simply walk up the steep but short canyon to the seep line, where water is running (which you shouldn't drink). It is pretty neat to see the sulfur accumulating on the rocks in a yellow crust. When you've seen (or smelled) enough, head back down to your boat.

Mexican Hat View: Mexican Hat is one of the famous landmarks around the San Juan River country, and one of the best views, especially at sunrise, of this monument, is from Mexican Hat View. From Mexican Hat Camp on river left, follow a small drainage through the cliffs behind you. From this drainage, make your way through the succesion of terraces until you reach the top, then turn back along the bench you have just reached, until you gain a high vantage point. From here you can see Lime Ridge (also known locally as Navajo Tapestry Mountain), Cedar Mesa, the tops of Monument Valley's pinnacles, as well as Mexican Hat across the river. The total round trip distance is about 1 mile, and it takes you from the river at 4095 feet up to about 4250 feet on the bench.

Note: I have not mentioned exact pull-in spots for these hikes. Where each of these hikes start will fluctuate, depending on river level. It is important to have a good river guide to the San Juan River if you are boating the river yourself to help orient where you are and where each hike will start on the river. If you are on a commercial trip your guide will know where these hikes start; simply mention that you'd like to one or several of these hikes.

Check out the Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-07 PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    San Juan River Hikes - Mile 0 to Mile 27
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ely and I have been planning a return to the lower end of Chinle Wash ever since our last trip up the canyon last year. It was only for a couple hours then, and we saw so much and wanted to explore more, but we didn't have the time. We were running the river, and had to make Lime Creek by dusk, so we turned around at the world famous Baseball Man pictograph with longing glances at high alcoves perched in the distant salmon cliffs. "Next year," we said, "we'll get up there."
    When we got our San Juan River permits this year, I knew we were in luck. We began plotting and planning while I poured over a map. I wanted to get to those high alcoves hanging along the western face of Comb Ridge. The river was to be our highway. A layover at the Chinle delta was in order, and a full day allotted to exploring the lower Chinle.
    The trip itself was slow in coming together, as friends and relations agreed and then backed out. Our passenger list firmed up only in the last week or so; Cubbie, a friend from college working as a geologist in Phoenix. Sarah, a teacher from St. George. Brandi, another St. George teacher whom we had never met, but who Sarah thought highly of. We gathered in the afternoon in Page and caravaned up to Bluff and the Recapture Lodge on Friday. I was giving a talk that evening about the condor reintroduction here in the southwest, which turned out to be a larger success than I had imagined. Dinner was at the Cottonwood Steakhouse, though we were driven indoors halfway through our stay due to a dust storm. These afternoon storms would come to mark our stay along the San Juan, blowing in around 3 and blowing out by 5, just in time to light the campfire for the evening. When we arrived back at the Recapture, it was discovered that our right rear tire on the Explorer had gone flat, and we spent a few minutes changing it out before retiring for the evening.
    The next morning was launch day, and we were up and around early. We loaded our bags and headed to Sand Island in the AM. Wild Rivers was just finishing up rigging their boats for a day trip, but we were the first private group on the ramp. The solitude didn't last long, however, as trailer after trailer of rafts, cats, kayaks, and canoes began piling up along the shoreline. The river had come up significantly since leaving Page, and was running around 4900 cfs when we put in. We pulled away from the shore before anyone else, save the WRE daytrip, and floated blissfully down the calm stretch of the San Juan, taking in the sights at Butler Wash and River House. I hauled on the oars at the base of Lime Ridge and nosed The Black Mongoose's orange rubber nose onto the sand above Chinle Wash around 2pm. This beach would be our basecamp for the next two nights.

    The following morning we lazed around in camp more than I would have liked. While I was up at the crack of light, before the sun crested Comb Ridge, other members of our group didn't emerge from the tent until almost 9am. Several other groups came down the river while we sat around, twiddling our thumbs and eating breakfast. A two cataraft group landed, hiked up the Chinle, and was returning to their boats just as we were cleaning up our plates. I'm not sure how well I hid my impatience, bustling around the campsite like a nervous mosquito. I'd been waiting a year to get back on that stretch of trail, and every minute we lagged behind in camp was time we wouldn't be exploring the Chinle through Comb Ridge.
    Finally everyone was dressed and had their packs loaded to their satisfaction. We hit the trail at 10am, climbing easily up the sandy trail off the beach and onto the gravel bench. The trail wound its way through shaley badlands littered with cobblestones the size of mellons before giving way to Navajo Sandstone cliffs as the beds of Comb Ridge leveled out. We passed a midden with no dwelling nearby - likely eroded away by a nearby arroyo. The trail continued into a willow thicket and then down to the gently flowing Chinle Creek. We crossed on shallow bedrock and continued upcanyon on a bench by large, shady cottonwoods. A brief stop at Baseball Man stretched as we lazed in the shade, hiding from the sun. We talked, joked, and eventually scouted a route up to the bench on the far canyon wall. Time to make good on it. We slip and slide down to the Chinle, flowing only ankle deep across a bed of quickmud. Nasty going. Whacking through willows on the far bank, and then a relatively easy scramble up a bare rock ledge. I see the remnants of an old wall crossing the ledge, and beyond it the remains of a slightly more recent barbed-wire fence.
    Soon afterwards, we'd reached the bench, dotted with sagebrush and yucca. The alcoves hung in the cliff above like black stars in a red sky. A wrinkle appears in our plans as we head across the sandy bench, however. Below the enormous alcove is a pourover, apparently impassible. We find several pools of water under the pourover. We thought it might be a good place to tank up, but then Cubbie noted several dead frogs and a dead lizard in the pools. Very odd. He suggests that the water may be toxic. Perhaps. But why the tadpoles and tadpole shrimp thriving in them? I've got plenty of water in either case, but it seems to me that it should be drinkable. I've got other worries on my mind, such as is the alcove reachable, and can we get back down if we get up? I've spotted some Moki steps halfway up to the ruin, but its a question of how to get up to them, and then where to go when the steps run out. There's a series of exfoliation fractures that might take up to the steps ledge, so I try them out alone. I'm the guinea pig.
    It's kind of an interesting ascent, but I reach a shallow ledge (about three inches across) and am (barely) able to hoist myself up onto the Moki Steps. They are "keyed", meaning you have to start off on the right foot or you'd get stuck half-way up. I get it right though and scale the cliff to a small ledge. There are ancient trail marks leading towards the lip of the pourover, and from there it should be an easy scramble to the dwelling. Unfortunately the trail has lost a section to a boulder fall sometime since 1300, and as I step around a ridge I find my foot suspended over 70 feet of air. Mmm. Carefully hugging the cliff, I turn around and make my way back to the top of the Moki Steps. "This is a no-go," I shout to my companions. Sarah, Ely, and Cubbie are climbing a crack that looks a hell of a lot easier than my Moki step approach. They see another crack that might go all the way to the level of the alcove, but they want me to test it out first, since I'm already halfway up. Sure. I'm game. I gingerly make my way along the ledge (portions of which are also missing) to the crack. It is almost easy compared to the earlier sections, so I quickly gain the next ledge. I see immediately that the route to the upper alcove is impossible - a vertical wall becoming overhanging, with only a pencil thin crack leading upwards. With technical gear? Probably. But not today. I cautiously work my way towards the large alcove, and find that despite some last-minute narrow parts, the route goes! I rush back to the top of the crack, whooping. Sarah begins her cautious upclimb, from a section I cannot see. It looks from the top like she is overcoming an overhanging wall. Once she gets into the part I climbed, it goes faster, but she boogies past my sitting position near the end to get back on flat ground. Ely follows, even more cautiously, but she makes it as well. I am sweating bullets seeing her climb, but I breathe a big sigh of relief as she makes it past me. Gathering back together at the crack's end. We had a big round of smiles and then walked along over to the alcove.
    We dropped our packs at the mouth of the alcove, by some bedrock petroglyphs, and began exploring. The back of the alcove was a work of art in itself, a monument to groundwater sapping. Rays of concentric fractures radiated out up to the ceiling, and a line of seepage allowed for almost of jungle of wild berry plants. Two set of buildings line either side of the alcove, which is not nearly as large as it first appeared, with a sunken depression between them. On the outside of the depression stands a chimney-like structure; the remains of a ventilator shaft for a kiva. Potsherds, flakes, bones, and wooden implements litter the ground. Bottlebrush plants are in bloom, and the view from the alcove is astonishing, taking in the potholes far below, the gash of the Chinle Wash canyon, and Lime Ridge in the distance, with a green line demarking the San Juan River. What a place! I head north along a thin ledge to another adjacent alcove, noting a historic inscription I can't read next to some ancient rock art. There is the remains of a storage structure, standing alone, with just its slab foundations, but I can read the tumbled-down rocks. There used to be a fronting wall, and a couple more buildings. Whether they have eroded due to natural causes or the hand of man is unknown; all I can say is that they're no longer standing.
    I find an obsidian flake in the shelter of a Sacred Datura. I wonder where they brought it in from. Several more sharp flakes litter the edge of the nearby midden. I head towards the lip of the ledge. Sarah says, "Be careful, Rob." I'm a little bit irked (I've been in places like this a lot more than she has), but more grateful that someone is watching my back. If she's looking out for me, and I for her, etc., maybe we can avoid making a stupid and potentially lethal mistake in the future. I acknowledge her advice, and make my way across the lower ledge, back towards the entrance to the alcove, passing more plants, pot sherds, and a few other things that have special resonance in such a place.
    Once again, on the way out, we pass by post holes on the upper ledge, where no doubt the original inhabitants had erected a wall to prevent unwanted entrants, forcing all comers through the treacherous lower passage. I downclimb the crack first, the others unsure if it is doable. I'm certain it is, and am right, though it takes a while to find the right foot placement lower in the crack, as it narrows and becomes vertical. We regroup with the Brandi and Cubbie at the pools, and sink into what shade we can find to eat our lunch.
    Our hike back to camp is not a direct path, as we scout the edge of the bench for ruins and routes to Duck Head. Eventually we give up, finding lots of neat sherds but no way down. After backtracking to the original slickrock ramp we reach the panel. Strange bird-headed humans appear to be engaged in some sort of combat while a recumbent Kokopelli plays his flute near an enormous quail. And other such oddities. We ohh and ahh and stare for a while, and come to the conclusion that a beer and a dip in a cold river would be just the thing. We recross Chinle Wash by the beaver dam and trek cross country again, through a leafy, shady Cottonwood grove. Then it is back across the Chinle, this time at a bedrock crossing, and then into the blazing desert. Over ancient gravel bars and past the exposed midden, passing Panda-faced donkeys who gaze at us as though we are specters in this arid landscape, we begin our final descent along the sandy trail into camp. A Great Blue Heron is rousted from his (her?) nest and flaps languidly away from us - even it is feeling the heat. Down to camp, where we strip off shoes and packs. I grab some bottles from the cooler and Cubbie and I climb into the frigid water. I can't think of a better way to end the day; sipping an ice-cold Oak Creek in the wilderness while clouds and the river roll by, each in their own direction. We've gotta get back in there again...
    San Juan River Hikes - Mile 0 to Mile 27
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Got up and packed up camp early - wanted to get up Chinle Wash before it got too hot, the sun too broiling. Loaded the raft up with everything except the water jug - our kitchen sink, and began walking.
    The people and cows had blazed a trail through the cottonwood groves and up onto the gravel benches where the river had flowed thousands of years ago. Enormous stone cobbles, worn and washed down from the San Juan Mountains were mounded up all around the mouth of the Chinle. ON a grassy plain nearby several cows and panda-faced donkeys stared at our passage.
    Not long after visiting the livestock we came across a midden. Potsherds and stone flakes scattered across a slope near an arroyo. A good bet that perhaps a dwelling had existed where the arroyo now had cut, taking all the building stones on down to the river, to be ground into dust, leaving only the trash. Great time was had by all searching through the pile. I ended up finding the nicest piece, two sherds that fit together to form a palm-sized Sosi Black-on-White sherd, but Beth found some Uranium ore, which was unique in its own right.
    Moving along. Down the trail. This section of the Chinle is well visited by rafters on day trips, but they don't generally stray past the first mile or two.
    On the left we came across a petroglyph panel; San Juan Anthropomorphic figures, strange spirals and other figures. Down to the wash, which was mostly dry. Cliff swallow nests up under ledges, sometimes sharing the space with painted handprints and upside-down figures, other times simply suspended in space above the fluted canyon floor.
    Onward upcanyon. Skirting the wash bottom, rock hopping around pools. Raccoon, raven, egret, deer mouse tracks all crossing the shiny, slimy mud. More desert varnish on the walls - and more images. Reclining flute player. Spiral leading into a wavy line leading into the foot of a figure with enormous hands, held high. Here I am! Dueling figures with ducks for heads, each pierced by an atlatl.
    Beaver dam upcanyon, with a sizable lake behind it. A shallow clear trickle issuing forth from the bottom. No sign of those industrious little fellows save for their building and footprints. Recrossing the canyon after spotting a high granary with a difficult (impossible?) approach. The sun had been up for a little while now, and the rocks were really starting to radiate that heat back out. No real shade below the high ruin, which revealed and then concealed itself to us as we approached. The shelf above seemed to preserve the ruins perfectly, and we couldn't see a way up without serious climbing aides. Oh well. The rock art below the ruin made things interesting. A walking star-shield, similar to some Pueblo IV 'glyphs from New Mexico paraded across the cliff. Some Basketmaker figures. And Baseball Man. I knew the figure would be around, somewhere up the Chinle from the San Juan, but where? I hadn't a clear idea. Despite that, there he was above a slab of fallen stone; white with the red "baseball" overlaid across him. What did it mean? What did any of it mean? We'll never know. The sun beat down. The rock heated up. We turned around and headed back for the shelter of the river.

    Permit $$
    Special Use

    Special
    Fees and permits (as of June 2008): Commercial trips leave daily during the summer. By paying the outfitter you will have all your permits and fees rolled into your total cost (up to $500/person for a four day trip down this stretch). If you are boating the river yourself to do these hikes, you will need a San Juan River Permit from the BLM. From the BLM San Juan River Page:

    Call or write to the Monticello Field Office for a permit application
    BLM, P.O. Box 7, Monticello, UT 84535; (435) 587-1544.

    Permit applications for the following season are normally available in early December.

    If you want to be eligible for the lottery, your permit applications must be received PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 1.

    A lottery drawing of those permits received prior to February 1 is conducted the first week of February. If you don't fill out the application correctly or it is illegible, it will not be processed. A notification card is sent only to those permit applicants who received a launch date. If you do not hear from us by March 1, you did not draw a launch.

    To keep the launch date awarded to you, you must pay for the permit 30 days in advance of your launch. If we do not receive your money 30 days in advance, your launch goes up for grabs. You may now pay with a credit card over the phone.

    If you do not draw a launch date in the lottery or you do not get your application in by February 1, you can call in (435-587-1544 between 8 am and 12 noon ) for unfilled launch dates or cancellations, starting March 1, however, we must already have your permit application on file.


    In addition, for any hikes on the left bank of the San Juan River, you will need a Navajo Nation backcountry permit, available in person at the Monument Valley entrance station, or by writing to the Navajo Department of Parks and Recreation in Window Rock. Cost is $5/person/day, and camping is $5/person/night.

    Navajo Nation Reservation
    Navajo Permits & Services


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Kayenta, drive north on US163, through Mexican Hat, to Bluff Utah (to get together with a commercial river trip) or to San Island Recreation Area and launch ramp, to launch a private trip. Stop at the Monument Valley Visitor's Center, between Kayenta and Mexican Hat, if you will be on a private trip to pick up backcountry hiking permits for the Navajo Nation.
    page created by PaleoRob on Jun 07 2008 3:15 pm
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