150 Mile River Trip through Canyonlands National Park
This fall, Nick Langowski and I took a 150 mile river trip down the Green River into the Colorado River. We launched from Ruby Ranch, Utah to begin our journey through Canyonlands National Park. Being in the desert was a treat to us. Finally, we don’t have to wear a drysuit! Warm weather and sun on our skin! In Alaska, that is hard to come by.
As we started to head into Labyrinth Canyon, there was a feeling of total bliss and freedom. We were on a 14′ raft loaded for 14 days of fun with my small play boat -whitewater kayak- attached to the back. Luckily, I was able to find a playboat to borrow from a girlfriend who is the same size as me. I love whitewater kayaking so much, there is no way I’d be happy sitting of raft when it came time to go through the rapids.
We hiked everyday and as the days went by, we realized how good of time we were making and started to venture deeper into the side canyons that came down into the river. One of many favorite hikes we did was one that put us on top of the rim ending up at 5 window arch. I would also recommend hiking up Horse canyon. From there you can do a multi-day backpacking trip into the Dollhouse area or bring your camping gear and camp on the rim. We also ventured up Water Canyon to the divide between Shot canyon. It was shocking to see the old trail they use to run cattle over. The area has alot of very interesting history which you can find in books on Canyonlands. There is amazing Indian ruins along Stillwater canyon, my favorite was around a big oxbow in the river. There you can find chert chips, arrowheads, tools and granaries. Right before the Confluence we hiked up to the overlook from the Green River side. This was well worth the steep, rugged hiked.
Once we hit the Colorado River, we spent a day exploring the Dollhouse and went on our way down the river. It was really special to be out there with Nick, who is a class V whitewater raft guide who’s main run is Six Mile Creek in Alaska. As a competent class V kayaker myself, I was confident we would have a great time through the rapids. We had both been down the canyon a few times before but neither of us could remember anything. As lovers of whitewater and after a solid 100+ miles of flat water, we were pumped have the adrenaline rush of running rapids.
Overall, I could not have asked for a better trip and a better partner to have completed this journey with! I can not wait to be back in the desert kayaking through the deep canyon walls.