Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River

 Labyrinth Canyon - Photo by Neal Herbert
River recreation in Labyrinth Canyon is jointly managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Utah State Division of Lands and Forestry. These agencies have adopted one set of regulations for river recreation and have joint enforcement responsibility. The Moab Field Office is the official public contact point for Labyrinth Canyon information and permits. 

 Permits are required for all boating trips in Labyrinth Canyon

Download Permit

(Print form, take both copies to put-in, leave one copy at put-in, take other copy down the river with you.) 

Permits are also available free of charge from any of the following locations: BLM Offices in Price or Moab, Canyonlands National Park Headquarters, Green River State Park, John Wesley Powell River History Museum, Moab Information Center and the Moab Office of Utah Division of Lands and Forestry. The following private companies are also authorized permit outlets. In Moab, Canyon Voyages, Tag-A-Long Tours and Tex's Riverways. In Green River, Holiday River Expeditions, Moki Mac River Expeditions and Ruby Ranch. The approved permit must be in the trip leader's possession while in Labyrinth Canyon and all permit stipulations must be followed.


 

Labyrinth Canyon


A trip through Labyrinth Canyon on the lower Green River can be enjoyed almost any time of the year, except in winter when there may be ice on the river. It is an easy, flat-water stretch suitable for canoes, kayaks, and rafts of all types. The heaviest use is between Easter and Labor Day. This portion of the river is also used by motorized craft. The Annual Friendship Cruise, a motorboat event, takes place on Memorial Day Weekend. Be aware that during low water motorboats are limited to a narrow channel which must be shared.

The river level fluctuates throughout the summer. Peak runoff from mountain snow melt generally occurs from the end of May to mid-June. The water flow gradually decreases to its low point in the fall and winter. July and August are the hottest months and afternoon thunderstorms are common during this period. A minimum of three to four days should be allowed for the 68 river miles from Green River to Mineral Bottom. More time will be required to explore the many sites along the way.

The area is remote and services are non-existent. Your group must be self-contained and self-reliant to deal with emergency situations. Cell phone service is not available within the canyons. Plan to carry all your drinking water. 

Much of the land between the city of Green River and Ruby Ranch, 23 miles downstream, is privately owned and below that point most of the land is state or federally managed. There are only a few restrictions on camping. Proper backcountry etiquette--cleanliness, hauling out of all waste, and respect for property rights--will help maintain this situation. Utah State boating and fishing regulations apply.

The most common put-in point for the trip is at Green River State Park. However, one may also put-in at Ruby Ranch which is privately owned. Hours are sunrise to sunset, daily. Fees are $5.00 per person, $10.00 per boat. The usual take-out is at Mineral Bottom. Access to Mineral Bottom is via Highway 313 north of Moab. The turnoff to Mineral Bottom is marked by a sign, prior to the Dead Horse Point State Park-Canyonlands National Park junction. The 17 miles of dirt road to the take-out are usually in good condition, but can be very slick and even impassible when wet. This road is best suited to vehicles with high ground clearance, especially the switchbacks and last mile to the take-out.
 
River travel beyond Mineral Bottom is possible, but more planning is required. See the Canyonlands National Park website for more information. Fifty-two additional miles of flat water in Stillwater Canyon wind through Canyonlands National Park to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. The National Park Service requires that you obtain a back country permit when boating in the park. Contact Canyonlands National Park reservation office at (435) 259-4351, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am  to 12:30 pm. Downstream of the confluence are the Class III to V rapids of Cataract Canyon and access is strictly controlled by the National Park Service.
 
There are no vehicle access take-outs below Mineral Bottom. You must be transported via jet boat from the confluence back up the Colorado River to Moab. Contact the Moab Information Center at (801) 259-8825 or the Green River Visitor Center at (801) 564-3526 for names of businesses which can provide vehicle shuttles or pick up. Some outfitters also rent boats and other equipment.

The Canyonlands River Guide by Bill and Buzz Belknap covers the Colorado River from above Westwater Canyon through Cataract Canyon to Lake Powell, and the Green River from Green River, Utah to its confluence with the Colorado River. This guidebook is available from the Moab  Information Center at Main and Center Streets in Moab, and from the Canyonlands Natural History Association Website, or by calling them at (435) 259-6003.

The links above provide additional information. Pay particular attention to the River Use Stipulations. For more information, contact the Moab Field Office at (435) 259-2100.