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Utah Rafting Trip Overview
This guided rafting trip in Utah on the San Juan River is focuses on cross-cultural adventure and discovery within the Navajo region.
3-Day River Trip from Sand Island to Mexican Hat
The meandering section of this river merges ancient cliff dwellings with pioneer history. Unique sand waves provide the riding thrills and spectacular side canyons offer magnificent views. As you float the river, a beautiful land unfolds, exposing untouched ruins and geologic uplifts in the rockface, known as anticlines. This is your time for soulful contemplation and mischievous water games. Spend the afternoon drifting in your own kayak or exploring a tranquil canyon. Evening falls, as we camp under shady cottonwood trees and on star-lit beaches.
5-day river trip from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills
This is our favorite stretch of the San Juan. Its famous gooseneck turns and powerful rapids keep you hanging onto your seat. Approaching a pristine side canyon, we discover refreshing pools, perfect for an afternoon plunge. Take this time to relax and listen to the solitude, broken only by the melodious call of a canyon wren. Later, a day hike reveals a secluded spring with miniature orchids adorning the canyon walls. A grand finale of a canyon awaits us on our last day. Polished limestone pools and sculptured sandstone extend to the river’s edge, inviting your imagination to identify its many shapes. Oar, paddle, and self-propelled kayaks are also available during this 58 mile stretch of the San Juan.
Why a rafting trip on the San Juan?
The river has a fascinating way of providing ‘recalibrative’ experiences to those who immerse themselves in it — this is the perfect environment for an unplugged getaway. Under expert supervision of our outfitter partner, those seeking the ultimate adventure will be rewarded by the challenge of the river. Instructors on our training and nature seminars cover such diverse interests as geology, photography, archeology, and natural history.
- 3-day option: the trip described here is from Sand Island to Mexican Hat and covers 27 river miles — 3 days, 2 nights on the river. Price: $1,050
- 5-day option: if the group wants to incorporate backpacking, there is an option to do 2 days of hiking through the Chinle Wash and back to the river to complete the rafting trip. Price: $1,750
- 8-day option: if enough people in the group want to make it even longer, there is an option to stretch the trip to an 8-day run down the San Juan, covering a total of 84 river miles and ending at Clay Hills. Price: $2,450
- July 13th (5-day option)
- August 13th (3-day option)
Or inquire below about your own custom date:
What do we mean by “mindful adventure” travel?
Sometimes, stresses of life and work can cause burnout, and we find ourselves off-center. Our multi-day, guided active trips are a perfect way to recalibrate, utilizing adventurous and mindful experiences in the outdoors. It is our mission to provide you the tools to attain, and maintain, a recalibrated mindset.
Our approach to mindfulness — and ultimately what we mean when we say — “mindful adventure” travel is this:
- Recal Journal. This important element actually begins before the trip itself; as soon as you sign up, you will be sent a Recal Journal. The journal has everything you need to begin your journey toward a recalibrated mindset: prompts for mindful and intentional living, daily highlights, lowlights, reflections, a gratefulness practice, and more.
- Mindful Adventure Fitness. If you live in a city where we conduct our in-person ‘Mindful Adventure Fitness’ classes, you can attend a session to practice your meditation, breathwork, and improve your fitness level leading up to your trip.
- Recal Journal. The trip itself provides the perfect mindspace and environment, immersed in nature, to be present and able to put thoughts and reflections on paper. Our Recal Journal is the perfect tool for this.
- Meditation. Your Recal guide leads meditations; the outdoor and unplugged nature of the trip enables you to dive more deeply into this mindfulness practice (even if you are new to meditation)
- Breathwork. In addition to meditation, there are also guided breathing exercises that are immensely helpful to center yourself and dive more deeply into being present.
- Yoga. The adventure elements of your trip (whether that is paddling, biking, or hiking) aren’t the only physical challenges. Depending on your trip itinerary, yoga will be incorporated. The practice is a flow more akin to recovery and flexibility, as opposed to a power flow, so it is a perfect complement to the physical nature of the trip.
- Unguided Mindfulness. In addition to the guided elements, we also set aside time in your trip itinerary to explore mindfulness on your own — whether that is a walking meditation, solo sit, silent hike, time to read, additional journaling, or any other activity.
- Recal Journal. Journaling doesn’t have to end with the trip; we created the journal specifically as an ongoing tool for mindful and intentional living. There is also an option to receive automatic replenishment of the refillable pages of the journal.
- Mindful Adventure Fitness. The core mission of Recal is to provide you with the tools to attain, and maintain, a recalibrated mindset so you are equipped to navigate all of life’s stressors and challenges. If you live in a city where we conduct in-person classes, consider attending a ‘Mindful Adventure Fitness’ class. And if you aren’t, consider following our content for information on workouts so you can ‘do it yourself.’
To summarize, the three core principles of mindful adventure travel are:
You can read more about our approach to mindful adventure travel on our About Us page.
Rafting Trip in Utah on the San Juan River
Itinerary (5 or 8 day trips also available)
Let the trip begin! From Bluff, your group will be shuttled to the Sand Island Boat Ramp. A river safety orientation will be given, life jackets fitted, instructions on how to climb in and out of the boats will be discussed and it’s off the ramp and boating on the San Juan by 9am.
Today is a big day with side stops that include Butler Wash Petroglyph Panel, the walk to River House and what remains of the Butler Trading Post and water wheel. Most rock art panels seen on this stretch of river date to the Basketmaker period, 500 B.C to A.D 700, known as the San Juan Anthropomorphic Style this rock art dominates the area and can be spotted from the river and trail alike.
After a morning of local discoveries, a fresh deli lunch will be served along the banks of the river. Your float will continue to the confluence of Chinle Wash and the San Juan River where guides will build camp and appetizers. You will be off the boats and relaxing river side before 4pm and with plenty of time to settle into camp.
Miles explored: 8 river miles
Duration: ~7 hours
Today starts with a leisurely breakfast at camp as we gear up for a big day of boating -- one that will allow us to make it to Pourover Camp at river mile 23. Four Foot, Eight Foot and Ledge Rapids will provide whitewater boating fun, and big horn sheep will keep your eyes on the cliffs that tower above.
Today, we will boat 12 miles and cut through the Raplee Anticline to the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. A fossil stop will allow guests to view the 250 million year old remains of the local sea life. Fossils include Spirifer and Composite Brachiopods, twig shaped and Lacy bryozoan and crinoids measuring up to five feet long.
Miles Explored, 12+ river miles, including short walks from the river to view fossils.
Today is our last day! A short ~4 miles of river-running will bring us to the Mexican Hat Boat Ramp before lunch (if you elected for this service, your personal vehicles will be waiting for you at the ramp). If your travel plans allow, guides can provide suggested hikes and trails to make for a great last day in the Navajo nation.
Miles Explored, ~4 river miles
Duration: off the river before lunch. Lunch can be provided at the Mexican Hat Boat Ramp if needed.
- highly-experienced river guides (and amateur chefs)
- all meals (a custom menu will be coordinated with the outfitter before your trip)
- transportation to the river
- non-alcoholic beverages
- cooler with ice, maintained throughout the trip
- all rafting gear and equipment
- alcoholic beverages
- vehicle transportation to the take-out location (available at a charge per vehicle)
- gratuities to guides
A gear packing list will be provided in your confirmation email from the outfitter.
Around 15 days before your trip, the outfitter will be checking in, making sure trip specifics remain the same and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Pricing NameStartEndGroup (Min-Max)Pricing
The night before your trip, you will have a guide “Meet and Greet” at the Recapture Lodge in Bluff Utah, and they'll show you how to use your dry bags, address any concerns and provide a basic run down of how your trip will proceed.
Your San Juan River trip begins at the Sand Island Boat Ramp, located 2.4 miles Southwest of Bluff Utah. Bluff is located along HW 191, in San Juan County Utah. San Juan County is located in the southeastern portion of Utah, in a geological region known as the Colorado Plateau. If you choose to fly into the area, Cortez, Colorado and Farmington, New Mexico; both have airports with rental cars available. The outfitter may help you make all the necessary travel arrangements.
The boat ramp and campgrounds are located south of HW 191, provide short and long term parking, bathrooms and views. Here is where you will meet your crew of river guides, unless prior arrangements have been made. While the guides give their safety talks and the trip orientation, another member of our crew will shuttle your vehicle (if you have one) to our warehouse located in Bluff. It will be safely stored until transported to your desired take out.
For this specific trip, the outfitter will provide you with a packlist of all the items you should consider packing.
We do not provide travel to the start location for any of our Recal trips. We feel that everyone has transportation preferences, alt-travel options for work, or even points to use on their credit card, so we choose not to mandate any particular type of travel.
If you have any questions or require help booking travel, feel free to ask us!
NOTE: there may be 'intra-trip' transportation needs (example: traveling from attraction to attraction, etc.). The trip outline and details or the outfitter themselves will specify if this included in the trip price.
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