San Juan River Recreation Management Area

Quick Facts

San Juan River Recreation Management Area


(435) 587-1500


Things To Do


San Juan River Recreation management Area has something for everyone on this remote river in Utah's high-desert country. Bighorn sheep can be viewed along the river's south side, so remember to bring your binoculars. You can choose to run the upper 26-mile section from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, or the 58-mile section from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing. Or you can run the total length of 84 miles. You can also start your trip from Montezuma Creek upstream of Sand Island. Rafting the river users will find class I and class II rapids. There are many options for camping, hunting, and hiking in addition to rafting. However you plan to spend your time in San Juan River Recreation Management Area, be sure to bring your camera as the scenery is breathtaking. Other suggestions are sunscreen, as the area has little shade, Rain gear, and insect repellent. Bring water as well. There are no reliable, potable sources of drinking water on the San Juan. Filtering the water is difficult because the San Juan is very silty. A minimum of a gallon per person per day is suggested.

Map of San Juan River Rec. Management Area

Latitude, Longitude: 37.212832, -110.021210



  • Boating

    Many options are available for how you want to plan your rafting trip depending on how far you want to go or how long you want it to take. Flow under 500 cfs is too low for good trips and flows above 8000 cfs are dangerously high for the area. Best time to go is between late March and June. Local precipitation can prompt adequate flow year round, except winter.

  • Camping

    There are several campgrounds in the area. Sand island Campground, 3 miles west of Bluff, has 27 sites and a boat launch. Other campgrounds in the area are Newspaper Rock Campground and Hamburger Rock Campground. Natural, primitive campsites are available all along the river. Please be sure to leave no trace of your having been there. This is a popular river trip for many novice and beginner boaters in rafts, canoes and inflatable kayaks, so expect company on the river and competition for premiere campsites during peak seasons.

  • Fishing

    The San Juan River provides excellent fishing opportunities in numerous back channels.

  • Hiking

    There are very few miles of built hiking trails in the resource area, with the exception of the large network of trails available on the Fort Ord Public Lands in Monterey County. One special trail is the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Other notable exceptions include the Coalinga Mineral Springs National Recreation Trail, Griswold Hills trail, and the Laguna Mountain trail system. There are many places to explore throughout the Field Office area.

  • Historic Sites

    A historical and cultural site awaits you at San Juan River Recreation Management Area.

  • Hunting

    There are three main types of hunting available, including upland game bird, small game, and big game like deer and wild pigs. Varmint (non-game) hunting is also allowed

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Please call the park for more information on OHV use.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is encouraged.

Phone Numbers


(435) 587-1500


(831) 630-5000