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While somewhat calmer than the Colorado, the San Juan River offers some truly exceptional scenery and abundant opportunities to visit archaeological sites. It can be run in two sections: from Bluff to Mexican Hat, and from Mexican Hat to Lake Powell. Near Bluff (3 mi southwest on U.S. 191), the Sand Island Recreation Site is the launch site for most river trips. You'll find a primitive campground there. Permits from the Bureau of Land Management are required for floating on the San Juan River.
For permits, contact the Bureau of Land Management, Monticello Field Office. 435/587–1544. www.blm.gov/ut.
Wild River Expeditions can take you out on the San Juan River on one- to eight-day float trips. This reliable outfitter is known for educational trips, which emphasize the geology, natural history, and archaeological wonders of the San Juan and its canyons. 101 Main St., Bluff, UT, 84512. 435/672-2244 or 800/422-7654. www.riversandruins.com.
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