River Recreation Opportunities

The Moab Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the management of recreational use of the Colorado River between the Colorado-Utah border and Castle Creek, the Dolores River between Gateway and its confluence with the Colorado River, and the Labyrinth Canyon section of the Green River. Within these stretches is a wide array of boating options ranging from a relaxing flatwater float to a challenging canyon run in a remote setting. Three river sections are described below.

Westwater Canyon

Please note: The river areas described below are rated according to a six-point international scale. For example, rivers rated as Class I have small, easy to negotiate waves, Class III areas have difficult rapids that require maneuvering and Class VI areas are not considered navigable. Rapids vary greatly by river flow. Some rapids are more difficult to negotiate at high water,while others are more difficult at lower water levels. The ratings should only be used to make rough comparisons.


Price Field Office
Desolation Canyon

Monticello Field Office
San Juan River


  • Can your child climb in and out of a boat without the assistance others?

  • Is your child strong enough to hold on while in a moving or bouncing boat without being assisted by a parent?

  • Does your child have the knowledge, strength and skill to get to shore, get back into a boat or self-rescue if he or she has fallen overboard?

  • Does your child have the knowledge, strength and skill to grab hold of a thrown rope?

  • Does your child have the knowledge, strength and skill to survive a swim in cold, moving water or rapids?
The Colorado and Dolores Rivers can have very cold water and harsh changes in weather and river flows.  If you answered NO to any of the previous questions, then a trip on Westwater Canyon, the lower Dolores or the Moab Daily may not be appropriate for your infant or child’s safety and enjoyment. Each year fatalities occur on these stretches of river. Please do your part to ensure the safety of yourselves and your group while playing on the river.  

Colorado River

Westwater CanyonWestwater Canyon  

Westwater Canyon is located in a Wilderness Study Area (WSA) northeast of Moab and is the first canyon of the Colorado River within Utah. Westwater Canyon includes Class IV rapids and is therefore only recommended for experienced boaters.


Colorado River near Castle Creek

The Moab Daily and Dewey Bridge to Hittle Bottom

This stretch of the Colorado features easy boater access, close proximity to the city of Moab, moderate rapids, and wonderful scenery. Highway 128 follows the river here. Depending on time of season and water level, you will encounter rapids on this section ranging from Class I to Class III.

 BLM, Grand Junction Field Office
Ruby/Horsethief Canyons 

 Dolores River

Dolores River 2011Gateway, Colorado to Colorado River Confluence

The Lower Dolores stretch offers technical rapids, stunning scenery, wildlife viewing, side-canyon hiking, and great camping.

NOTE: This river segment has a very unpredictable and short boating season.

                            BLM, San Juan Public Lands Office
                                  Bradfield Bridge to Bedrock

                            BLM, Uncompahgre Field Office
                                     Bedrock to Gateway

 Green River

Labyrinth  Canyon

Labyrinth Canyon

Labyrinth Canyon is an easy, flat-water stretch suitable for canoes, kayaks, and rafts of all types. It can be enjoyed almost any time of the year, except in winter when there may be ice on the river. 

                    BLM, Price Field Office
                 Desolation-Gray Canyon

 San Juan River 

BLM, Monticello Field Office
San Juan River

Minimum Impact Practices

Backcountry Safety Tips