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The public lands located in the monument offer a diversity of hiking opportunities that will satisfy the range of every visitor, from novice hiker to expert adventurer. Visitors are encouraged to explore the unique landscape of the “breaks” terrain and to see for themselves the spectacles of unchanged “visionary inchantment” so eloquently described by Captain Meriwether Lewis two hundred years ago. Keep in mind there are no officially marked or maintained trails within the monument so visitors must use caution and common sense when traversing the areas. Hazards that may be encountered while hiking include:

  • Fragile, easily crumbled sandstone
  • Swallow holes: A natural cavern formed in the surface that channels water underground. These clay caverns get overgrown with brush and accumulate tumble weeds until they are hard to see.
  • Abrupt, vertical cliff faces and falling rock
  • Unstable river banks 
  • Barbed-wire fencing 
  • Cactus
  • Decayed timber, boards and rusted nails around homesteads 
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Sudden, violent thunderstorms
  • Gumbo (soil type that when wet, clings tenaciously to anything it comes in contact with) 

Note: You cannot go beyond the ordinary high-water mark of the river onto private land without prior landowner permission. The boundaries between public land and private land are not marked by signs, and it’s your responsibility to know where you are.


Boaters' Guide, Maps and Information Packet



 Clothing and Gear

 Commercial Services

 Frequently Asked Questions


 Human Waste Management

 Permits, Visitor Fees, and Registration

Potable Water

 River Etiquette

River Safety

Use of Motorized Watercraft




Last updated: 06-22-2015