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Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River Utah

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One website has this to say about floating the Labyrinth Canyon of southeastern Utah: “The Green River offers what is considered by many to be the premier calm water canoe and sea kayak trip in America”.  I recently was able to join a group of friends and spend 7 days in inflatable kayaks drifting down through this special canyon. I really appreciated the “non-combative” nature of the water of this trip. On the two other river trips that I have done, the water was often much more “active”, and I was always wondering what the river was going to be up to around the next bend.  Labyrinth Canyon was given its name by John Wesley Powell when he passed through on his first expedition in 1869. The meandering nature of the river probably contributed to its name. A straight line distance of 29 miles separated our put in location at Crystal Geyser from the take-out at Mineral Bottom. We would travel over 60 miles on the river from the one point to the other. My major interest in joining this trip was to visit the old Uranium Mines at the Bowknot Bend that are only accessible from the river. But there was so much more to experience. There were several interesting carbon dioxide powered geysers. The towering rock cliffs and towers were spectacular. And the historic inscriptions seen in the rocks from the early fur trappers(Julien 1836) to the  more modern steam powered stern wheelers(Launch Marguerite 1909) that used to work the river were all very interesting. Sunrise and sunset times were special. If anyone has ever considered doing a multi-day, easy river trip, I would strongly suggest a trip through Labyrinth Canyon!

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Wow!!!! That sounds and looks amazing! Would love to go, but not sure if I could survive 7 days on a kayak :-)


Matt, of the 7 days, we only paddled for 5. And on those days, we were not on the water from daylight til dusk. The paddling day was probably on the order 4-6 hours. Our group seems to break into two subsets-those who are content to drift with the current(2mph) and those who want to demonstrate their paddling prowess. To the victors come the spoils--they get to select the campsite, pick the best shade etc....The inflatable kayaks that we use are pretty sluggish in slower moving water. Canoes and the hardshell kayaks are better suited for this run. The shuttle company who serviced us also rents canoes(and other equipment). They tell those clients that 15 miles per day on the river is comfortable for most paddlers. So with no layover days, the 60 mile trip is doable in 4 days or so. It is also possible to shorten the trip by 20 miles or so by launching further downstream from where we did.  This launch area is at the "real" start of Labyrinth Canyon. Now the trips becomes one of around 45 miles. That could be easily done in 4 days, or perhaps even 3. The flow of the river can also affect travel time. During our trip it was running  around 3000 cfs. For this past week it has been 6000-8000 cfs.

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