Meander Canyon - Colorado River/Canyonlands Nat. Park

Just got back from another great trip. Colorado River, Meander Canyon. Potash to Spanish Bottom. Gorgeous red rock canyon scenery & some great side canyon hikes. We sure lucked out on weather. Warm but overcast for 2 days, hot with clear blue skies for 3 days, and very windy for about half a day. Fortunately, we only had to paddle in the wind for a couple hours since it was our last paddle day. We braved the winds in camp at Spanish Bottom for the rest of the day. The wind was still howling pretty good the next morning when the jet boat picked us up, so we were happy that we weren’t still on the river. As usual, the best plan was to be on the water early & in a camp by mid day. We did 50-ish miles in 5 paddle days. Leisurely pace with lots of time for side hiking. We had 2 SOT kayaks, 1 inflatable kayak, and one 14 foot canoe (paddled with double blade). We easily carried all our water & didn’t have to do the alum & filter thing. The water level was lower than I’ve done before & sand bars were definitely an issue. We all got stuck at least once every day. Thank goodness for my SOT, so I could either hop out & drag, or do the “crab crawl” with legs over the side & scooting off the sand bar. Once again, Tex’s Riverways did a stellar job with our shuttle & jet boat pick-up. This is my second season with my Eddyline Caribbean 14 SOT, and I can’t say enough good things about this kayak. My trip partners were amazed at the amount of gear it can carry. Sure glad I opted for a rudder on the windy paddle day. I’ll post some pics soon. Got to sort & clean gear today & give the kayak a good bath…red mud & dirt everywhere!

Very nice, thanks for sharing. I hope to get out there again in a few years!

looking forward to the pics

Here are a few pictures

1 Like

you got that tributary duck loaded down., I’m not sure i trust mine for overnights away from a road. Replaced two bladders on mine so far.

The person paddling the Tributary Ducky was carrying a lot of gear, but did pretty well. Even on the afternoon with some strong wind, she did ok. She’s had that boat for several years I believe, with no bladder issues that I know of. Bummer that you’ve had to replace 2 bladders. I have a 20 year old Outcast mini-cataract (made by Aire) and have had 2 repairs in the last 2 years…replaced a valve & patched a pin hole leak in one bladder. Two small repairs in 20 years is not bad.

I had my Watershed Yukon dry bag in my tankwell, and my rain gear in a small dry bag on the outside tackle box area (just behind the bow hatch), otherwise all my gear for a 5 day trip was inside my kayak…including my water. I discovered the Hydrapak soft water containers at REI. I use the 3 liter model. It’s long and skinny, so it fits in the 6 inch round hatch that’s right behind my seat. I carried 5 Hydrapaks, and 2 of the REI rectangular nalgene containers for a total of about 18 liters of water (4.75 gallons). The Hydrapaks go inside and are positioned right under/behind the seat area to keep the weight low & centered. The nalgene containers go towards the bow. I work from the nalgenes & refill them from the hydrapaks, which are kind of a bugger to pour from. The decreasing weight of the Hydrapaks/water, as the trip goes along is offset by the “used” wag bags for poo containment that go in a dedicated dry bag that gets strapped as far back in the stern tankwell as possible.

My paddle companions are always amazed at how much gear I can pack inside my SOT kayak. I carry a tent, a Travelchair Joey chair, 2 of the GSI compact little tables, food, water, cooking gear, Turbo Toilet & wag bags, personal gear, and my ukulele. Most of that is inside the kayak.

It is great country. I paddled the Green R in about 1992. The weather can be really hot. It was July and the temps were around 112 every day. We took out at Mineral Bottom above the Confluence.

Oh, I am deeply envious. That is great paddling country. It took me a long time to come around to seeing the value of going to the desert to be on the water, but I sure do “get it” now. In fact, I’d say that every American paddler should do at least one trip in canyon country. Its a bucket list kind of thing. I have a friend from our local paddling club who is pushing for a trip out there this fall… We’re thinking about Ruby Ranch to Spanish Bottoms on the Green in about ten days with a water drop at Mineral Bottom. I’m a little at a loss as to whether to make plans for a trip of that length and cost unless I have some better idea about what the virus situation will be this fall.

So, with the social distancing practices in place, is Tex’s running the shuttles in the 15 passenger vans? How did they work that with the jet boat trip back to Moab?

Congrats on a great trip. Looking forward to more photos.

1 Like

Tex’s is up and running. Check their website as to what precautions they are taking.

Desert camping is wonderful. The fall can bring on blistering heat and snow on the same day. It did for us.

We have done the trip from Crystal Geyser to Spanish Bottom twice. I favor the spring with the incredible blooms but not this year. Sandbar camping in the fall. Wear boots. We never did a water drop; just used water from Wal Mart. Tex’ s is not filling you water jugs at this time and I don’t know if it is because of dry weather or what.

On both trips weather varied between 100 degrees and 25.

Unfortunately, I had a trip planned for May 4-8. Canyonlands Nat. Park/river corridor wasn’t open and Tex had to cancel
our shuttle. We have a non-expiring credit for a future shuttle, so maybe a fall trip? I’ve done fall trips before and had a great time. More stable weather and more sandbars for camping.

i have put in at Ruby Ranch. It is very hard to find in a maze of oil rig exploration roads. It is much easier to put in at the town of Green River upstream.

I expect finding your way back there could be a challenge - and there’s a fee when you do finally find the put-in. Last time I did the trip it was only Labyrinth Canyon. Ruby Ranch was the put-in Tex’s was using by default then. So they knew the way. We needed the permits, groover, shuttle, etc. so we took the package. I’ve heard that there isn’t much of particular interest between Green River and Ruby Ranch - other than maybe Crystal Geyser, a drill hole that squirts water, right? But you’re absolutely right, there’s a lot of LP or Natural Gas extraction stuff on the way in there.

1 Like

I just got this letter from Tex’s.

We would like to take this opportunity to update our travelers with our plans to proceed with operating trips. We are doing a lot of work around here to mitigate everyone’s exposure to Covid-19, and ask that you help in the following ways.

If testing is available in your home town, we recommend people get tested prior to traveling. Do your part in reducing asymptomatic transmission. Moab has 17 hospital beds and NO ICU or ventilators. At this time, all regional medical helicopters will NOT fly for Covid-19 symptoms. The backcountry is not a good place to fall ill.

If you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, stay home!

We recommend you come on your trip as prepared as possible from home. This means shopping for food and supplies from the community your trip originates from.

Stay updated on local lodging and camping restrictions. You can call us for updates or check out

Face Masks are mandatory for all participants inside Tex’s Riverways office, and shuttles. This includes the jet boat. No exceptions.

Please expect that other reservations may be included in your shuttle both to and from the river.

The water hose outside our building for filling water jugs will no longer be available. If you are renting water jugs, they will now be pre-filled on your arrival. If you are bringing your own water containers, we recommend sourcing from home.

All reservations include a copy of our waiver. Trip Leaders should print and sign it before arrival, and it can be distributed with other group members outside our office.

In an effort to increase social distancing, your group may be given an alternate meeting time on launch day depending on that day’s number of reservations. If you are not contacted, assume that 8 AM is still a good arrival time.

We encourage you to settle any remaining balance prior to arrival to reduce office traffic. This can be done over the phone, toll free (877) 662-2839, or (435) 259-5101. We will still be able to process payments the day of your trip, in the office. Cash is accepted but strongly discouraged.

PS. I wasn’t bored with any of the trip. Desert is not my everyday view… The boreal and mixed hardwood forest is so anything new was interesting even scorpions.

Thanks for sharing that, Kim. I went to their site today and was somewhat encouraged… the real problem for me is trying to guess what things will be like in Mid- Sept. and being really reluctant to put a lot of money on that guess. Cases are still increasing daily here even as our populous neighbors are opening up. Being only a few hours by expressway from Chicago puts us near a “hot spot”. Of course I know this isn’t a situation at all unique to us. Moab being near the Navajo Nation in Az. isn’t so dissimilar, come to think of it. I fear there may be a rebound both here and there and there’s a good chance that if it happens it would be in early fall…

It looked from Tex’s site that Canyonlands is closed and therefore so would Stillwater Canyon and perhaps part of Labyrinth. They also mentioned that there were some restrictions in one county about non-residents staying but not in the next county - and the Green is the boundary. So camping is restricted on one bank and not on the other… And I wonder how that could be enforced… Seems like it would be awfully expensive to patrol out there to enforce a very few pretty trivial offenses imposed upon some of the most physically distanced people in the country.

Kayamedic, I’m with you - nothing out there is routine or boring to me either, but if there’s a bit to be clipped out of a trip (and isn’t there always?), from what I’ve been told, its the Green River-Ruby Ranch stretch.

Looks like Raftergirl timed it just right. Good on her.


again so informative. It is an outfitter out of Moab. If you actually read the above post you would know what to Google.

Try making a post without sarcasm.
I am not going to read every post on this rag.
People have been running the Green River for 150 years before some guy named Tex showed up.

Received email from Tex’s Riverways yesterday. Canyonlands Nat. Park backcountry and river corridor will open May 30th. Park permits will be available.

Utah Covid-19 update. All of Utah, except Summit, Wasatch, and Grand counties (Moab), plus Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Magna went from Orange (moderate risk) to Yellow (low risk) on Saturday May 16th.

Since Moab is still at the Orange level, I don’t know how that affects hotel lodging and local/BLM camping. I’d check with Tex’s Riverways directly for updated info.

Since I didn’t paddle down there last year, I not 100% sure, but I think TRW may be the only shuttle service that picks up at Spanish Bottom now??? Two years ago, there were only TRW and one other service doing it. I’m not positive. I may put together a trip in the fall, but I’m not sure. Lots of extenuating circumstances…some Covid related, some not. We shall see.