The San Juan River cuts from east to west across the southern part of the Bureau of Land Management’s Monticello Field Office (BLM). The river’s south bank is on the Navajo Nation, as are upstream parts of the river. Through a joint agreement with the National Park Service, BLM also manages recreational activity on downstream portions of the river that are within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The BLM portion of the river and its canyon is managed as a Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA).
The San Juan River flows through a spectacular series of wild canyons and is popular for float trips. Most trips launch from either Sand Island or Mexican Hat and take-out at Mexican Hat or Clay Hills. Another section of the river is upstream, between Montezuma Creek and Sand Island. Attractions on the river include spectacular scenery, geological features, archeological and historical sites, wildlife, and the solitude of a desert river canyon. A permit is required year-round to float any section of the San Juan River between Montezuma Creek and Clay Hills.