Moab has become a popular destination for rock climbers and mountain bikers over the years. It is home to arguably the best slickrock bike trails in the country, and Arches National Park plays host to other-worldly sandstone formations and millions of motor-tourists (many of whom rarely step far from the car); however, if you’re not an experienced outdoor adventure sports gal or guy, but are intrigued by the remarkable landscape and want to escape the crowd, I have a relatively inexpensive suggestion.
Several years ago I spent a week floating Labyrinth Canyon just outside of Moab on the Green River. The trip begins in Green River State Park and most canoes use an area known as Mineral Bottom for the takeout point. You will, of course, need camping gear, and if you don’t own one, you’ll have to rent a canoe from one of the local outfitters in Moab and arrange for someone to shuttle your car from the put-in to the take-out. You will also need to rent a small portable toilet since Labyrinth Canyon’s eco-system is fragile and cannot tolerate human waste. Canoe, paddles, life jackets, vehicle shuttle, and toilet can all be rented for a week for less than $400 bucks, and it is well worth it. Labyrinth Canyon is a lazy section of the river that winds through 2000 foot Sandstone cliffs. I traveled it during the 100 degree dry summer heat, used the river to stay wet and cool, and only saw a dozen or so fellow humans throughout the entire trip. So it’s a great way to escape civilization without having to travel to the ends of the earth. Canoeing is also a great way to experience wilderness without having to carry everything on your back. Tip: Buy a couple of drybags to house essential items, specifically your sleeping bag, and freeze most of your beer before you leave because ice melts quick. If you put in at Ruby Ranch you can trim the length of the trip by a couple of days (and the canyon beyond Ruby Ranch is really the most awe inspiring section of the river), but be sure to take your time and do this right. Try to camp near side canyons and spend at least a couple of days exploring the terrain above your campsites. There are hundreds of petroglyphs scattered throughout the canyon, and at times you will have the discomforting, surreal, yet enjoyable sensation that you have ventured onto another planet. Know, of course, that you are preparing to spend up to a week completely removed from medical attention and the other safeguards of civilization, so if you’re a novice wilderness explorer, be sure to pack plenty of provisions, read up on the details of the trip, and pick your outfitters brain about potential dangers. There are only a couple of class II or III rapids on this stretch of the Green (depending upon the season and the water flow) and these rapids can be easily portaged around, so it’s a relaxing and relatively safe float trip for those without river experience. While floating Labyrinth Canyon (unless you intend to scale the 2000 foot cliff and walk the 40 or so miles to town) you are in wilderness, so there are absolutely no amenities. When you unload your boat at Mineral Bottom, be sure to save plenty of water for the ride back to Moab, which consists of 40 or so miles of rough, desolate dirt road (not the place to break down without water), and be sure to speak to the caretaker at Mineral Bottom. He is a trip. When in Moab, check out the Lazy Lizard Hostel for a shower and good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. There is also plenty of free camping on BLM land just outside of the town (ask the locals). Woody’s Tavern has the coldest beer in town, but you’ll have to pay 3 bucks to become a member. Fellas, once you become a member, you’re lady friend can enter the establishment for free as your guest (gotta love Utah). Moab’s a cool town with plenty to see and do. Canyon Lands National Park is a few miles away and offers an array of opportunity Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River was one of the most romantic and memorable experiences of my life. I can’t recommend it enough.
Filed under: North America, Uncategorized | Tagged: Arches National Park, beer, BLM, canoeing, Canyon Lands National Park, drybags, Green River, Green River State Park, Juror #28, Labyrinth Canyon, Lazy Lizard Hostel, lifejackets, Mineral Bottom, Moab, paddles, pteroglyphs, rock climbing, Ruby Ranch, sandstone, sleeping bags, surreal, Utah, Woody's Tavern | Leave a Comment »