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Looking for an amazing adventure to remember? Enjoy a spectacular three-day inflatable kayak float along the remote 48 mile stretch between Mexican Hat, Utah and Slickhorn Canyon. Once we reach Slickhorn Canyon we'll pack the boats up and spend three glorious days backpacking out. Along the way we will explore Ancestral Puebloan ruins, enjoy crisp fall air, and soak in the beauty of golden cottonwood trees in their fall colors. We will travel through deep and colorful canyons passing historic ruins and enjoying the flora and fauna of this stunning canyon. Evenings will be spent camped riverside or up the canyon with good food, great company, and fun under a dazzling nightscape.


  • Float 48 scenic miles of the San Juan River experiencing easy Class I - III rapids, water play, and star-studded camping.

  • Learn how to paddle a small inflatable on this classic river

  • Hone your backpacking knowledge and learn about desert travel

  • Explore deep canyons and hidden ruins.

  • Enjoy delicious and healthful meals prepared as a group.

  • Learn about the geology of the river, river history, and early explorers including sightings of petroglyphs, and historic dwellings.

Book your Paddle and Backpacking Trip



5 Nights/6 Days: Starting in Monticello, Utah


Ages: 18+

Activity Level: Requires fitness adequate for hiking up to 8 miles per day with 40-50 pound packs and paddle up to 15 miles, willingness to camp along the river, and a readiness to participate as a team member in a group-oriented adventure. 

INCLUDED: Includes food beginning from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 6, expert staff, river guides, equipment and supplies, transportation from the Discovery Center in Monticello to launch and from takeout back Monticello, UT. 


NOT INCLUDED: Personal items, motels, and transportation to Monticello, UT are not included.

Tents, sleeping bags, and pads are available for rent. Gear rental is $15/ per person for tent OR sleeping bag only, or $30 for tent and sleeping bag/pad per person.


(Itinerary subject to change based on weather, wind conditions, etc.)

Pre-trip: We will meet at Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, Utah at 7:00 pm the night prior to launch day. Here we will greet one another, provide dry bags and a provide a pre-trip orientation. You may choose to dine with the group for dinner or pack your own food. 


Day 1: Breakfast is on your own. At 7:30 am our van will provide transportation from Canyon Country Discovery Center to Mexican Hat to load the boats and set off downstream. We will travel through the sheer limestone-walled canyon of the Goosenecks, with a stop to hike over the Mendenhall loop of the Goosenecks and to view the prospector's cabin. If time allows we will hike up to the Honaker Trail and view the canyon below. Dinner will be served and personal time will follow.


Day 2: Wake for breakfast and morning discussion, float down the river through a rugged and beautiful desert and stop to camp near Johns Canyon. The canyon holds a gorgeous natural amphitheater where we will enjoy the tranquility and have the choice of playing with musical instruments for the evening reflection hour.


Day 3: Wake for our final day on the river, float downriver past several rapids and the legendary Government Rapid. We will stop at Slickhorn Canyon and make camp in the peaceful beauty of the lower canyon. After dinner, we will discuss our coming day's hike.


Day 4: As we begin our backpacking segment we will pass through fossil studded limestone ledges and scramble up over boulders. This lower canyon often holds swimming holes and hanging gardens.


Day 5: We'll travel further up the canyon, walking along sandy wash bottom and scrambling through the various limestone layers.


Day 6: For our final day in the field, we will pass some of the most spectacular of the canyon's archaeology before meeting our ride at the trailhead. We'll repack gear and travel by van back to Monticello, UT before 7 pm. Bid farewell to the land and to one another. Dinner not included.



(Once you register, you will receive a full Canyon Country Adventure Packing guide)



Durango - La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, CO is the nearest airport with a variety of flight options.

Boutique Air offers flights to Cortez, CO


By car

We are approximately 4 1/2 hours from Salt Lake City and 6 1/2 hours from Denver via I-70 and US191.



Inn at the Canyons in Monticello. Visit their website or call (435) 587-2458 for reservations.

If you prefer to camp there are two USFS campsites just outside Monticello in the Abajo Mountains, Dalton Springs and Buckboard.


Travel Insurance

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for the duration of your trip. A travel protection plan can help cover your non-refundable travel payments should you cancel a trip because of a covered illness or injury.

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