Utah Canoeing


Utah $2,250(inclusive*) • October 7-11, 2024.  Cancelled. Will be offered in 2025.

The wild backcountry of southern Utah in and around Canyonlands National Park is one of the most colorful and enchanting landscapes on earth. Within the heart of Canyonlands National Park two of the American West’s most iconic rivers, the Colorado and the Green, converge. Up river of the confluence the Green River meanders gently through the spectacular red sandstone cliffs of both Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons. The journey through this stretch of river is considered to be one of the premier calm water canoe trips in the USA and can be run by novice paddlers. Sheer canyon walls, mesas, arches, hidden grasslands, cool desert streams, and an unbelievable profusion of spectacular rock formations characterize this magnificent portion of the Colorado Plateau. Wildlife includes desert bighorn, puma, bobcat, coyote and golden eagle. We usually encounter and explore some fantastic and haunting rock art of ancient Puebloan cultures. This is classic red rock canyon country, absolutely beautiful and other-worldly. Though the region is high desert, the diversity of life and its adaptations to a harsh environment are truly amazing. Warm sunny days are the rule, but the high desert weather can be unpredictable. This trip is rated  Easy to Fairly Strenuous depending on wind and weather. The trip base is Grand Junction, Colorado.

Our paddle down the Green will begin at the Ruby Ranch boat launch and take us 45 river miles to our take out location at Mineral Bottom. We will follow in the footsteps of the Puebloan and Freemont cultures, the John Wesley Powel expedition of 1869, and the iconic conservationist/author Edward Abbey. Our Journey will include one layover day, in which we can hike and explore some of the side canyons along the river.  It can be expected to float around 7-10 river miles per day. This stretch of the Green is loaded with history and historic relics, and most of the area remains unspoiled. Don’t miss the chance to experience this breathtaking canyon!

Trip Base: Grand Junction, Colorado. Comfort Inn, 750 ¾ Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, CO, 81506, 970-245-3335. The motel is right next to the airport

Meeting Time: Pre-trip orientation including food/gear handout plus safety talk at 6 PM the evening prior to the first trip day. For example, if the trip is from the 11th to the 16th, the pre-trip meeting is 6 PM on the 10th.

Transportation:  Air service to Grand Junction, CO.  Hotel right next to airport.

Trip Rating:  If ever there was an Easy way to experience beautiful wilderness, this is it. The river is gentle, mileage modest and weather is usually pleasant. Wind would be the only factor that could make this trip’s rating Fairly Strenuous. There will be lots of time for day hiking and relaxation. No canoeing experience is required!!

Elevations:  The river is about 4,000 feet above present day sea level.

Weather:  Usually extremely beautiful in the early mid-autumn, with lots of warm sun and high temperatures in the 70’s to low 80’s, with cool nights in the upper 40’s. Prolonged precipitation is uncommon. It’s the desert!

Special Features:  For most of the route the Green River winds through a curvy maze within a deeply-carved entrenched canyon. This is some of the most colorful and spectacular red-rock canyon country in the entire Southwest! Under the warm high desert sun, with towering red canyon walls piercing an impossibly blue sky, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven! Day hikes up side canyons are lots of fun, too.

Special tips:  If your hands aren’t callused, bring some paddling gloves. Sunscreen and good sunglasses are essential! Bring comfortable lightweight hiking boots for day hiking. Good binoculars will aid greatly in viewing birds and other wildlife.

Status:  The Bureau of Land Management controls the majority of the land surrounding this stretch of river. Most of the landscape is roadless area, with no formal protection. However, portions of our route will be within Wilderness Study Areas, which hold modest levels of temporary protection. Most of the area is eligible under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Fishing:  It’s a warm water fishery that includes catfish. Please inform us if you plan to fish, and you must purchase a Utah license, which you can get in Moab.

Itinerary:  About a 1 hour drive time from Moab, UT to the Ruby Ranch. The float will be 4 nights, 5 days with one day designated as a layover. A river shuttle will be arranged to transport us to the Ruby Ranch put-in and will also meet us at the Mineral Bottom take out and shuttle us back to Moab. Drive time from Mineral Bottom to Moab, UT is approximately 1 hour.  Drive time from Moab, UT  to Grand Junction, CO is 1 hr 45 min.

Note: Mileages and vertical foot estimates are approximate, since we vary the route and camp locations from year to year due to changing conditions and varying group capabilities and interests.

*All trip prices include equipment (backpack, day-pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, eating utensils), food and cooking (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, transportation from town to and from the trailheads, and our professional guide/naturalist staff. There is a $300 discount if you bring your own equipment.


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Space is limited!
Have questions? Call (406) 823-0337


Annual Trip Calendar


Capitan Lake - photo from one of our backpacking treks

List prices include our complete gear package and there is a $300 discount if you bring your own (see our Canoeing List, Backpacking List, and/or Questionnaire for details – found here). Also, we offer a $300 discount for the second trip in a calendar year. Scheduled trips are for persons ages 14 and over. Exceptions to the age requirement will be made by us on a case-by-case basis.

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or Call (406) 823-0337