Favorite Places To Explore While Floating Labyrinth


The mountains are calling and I must go
Mar 31, 2013
So, I think I've read every TR on BCP about floating the Green through Labyrinth.

I'm the kind of guy who likes to have an itinerary of camp spots & activities prior to making a trip, so my question is, what are your favorite places to explore between Crystal Geyser & Mineral Bottoms?

Favorite areas to camp? Any places that are worth more than one night of camping?Any places to avoid camping?

Is the geyser worth seeing?
It's the least popular put in spot, but for various reasons we're going to put in at Green River State Park.

Does anyone know how much time should be allotted for driving down to Mineral Bottoms and back?
It's a long drive. I think it was a good 3 hours round trip from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom and back. Maybe 3.5. Not sure about Green River State Park. Might be faster though since you don't have the dirt road to Ruby.

I've only done Labyrinth once, so I can't really give much advice on spots and exploration. All I know is that we had 4 days and I feel like I needed at least 6 and that was starting at Ruby. I guess the water flows slow in October and I probably could have paddled once in a while though. I definitely want to go back and actually block out more time along the way to explore. Oh, and I remember thinking there weren't a lot of campsites and that was in low water. High water could make that even more difficult.
The high water camps are there, but hard to see as they are up the banks. Typically an eroded sandy trail/slope of sorts gives them away. When are you going?

Personally I don't find much reason to linger upstream of Three Canyon. Floating down the river is never bad I guess, but the hikes and exploring finally gets interesting with the narrows of Three Canyon.

Most east side drainages have roads in them, while the west side ones are more remote and rugged.

Keg Spring has a cool upper end, but it can be a long, sometimes bushwhacky hike to get there.

The trip up to the saddle of Bowknot Bend is pretty unique, but short. Some very nice camps just downstream of the rockfall that marks the trail.

Two Mile has a good trail going to the rim and on to 5 Hole Arch. Not to be missed.

Horseshoe is a big canyon. Not much changes for miles and miles, but it has a year round creek which is neat. Getting to the Great Gallery is too far.

I like to paddle or row pretty much constantly. With a loaded raft at typical spring flows it averages out to around 3.5 knots. A sea kayak is easily driven at 5-6 knots.
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Horseshoe is famous for the rock art panel called the Great Gallery. Hiking up to it from the river is a 2 day backpack.
I would allow 4 hours for the round trip to mineral bottom. I think it is about the same as from ruby ranch.

Favorite camping spot would be trin alcove. I need to search the map for the other one we really like.
I would allow 4 hours for the round trip to mineral bottom. I think it is about the same as from ruby ranch. Favorite camping spot would be trin alcove.

Awesome, thanks!

@Nick @ashergrey @Aldaron @Kullaberg63 @Unimog @gnwatts and any others who have done this stretch of the Green, are there areas you feel are worth camping / exploring more than one day?@Kullaberg63 when you say 2 day backpack to the Great Gallery is that 2 days up & 2 days down or a day up and a day down? Because if it's a day up and a day down that might be worth it?Thanks to everyone for your input and help! Your experience & expertise help me look like I know what I'm doing. Thanks again!
Trin Alcove is a great place to explore. I highly suggest you put in at Ruby Ranch though. There is really nothing to see between Green River and Ruby.
Will you have 5 full days? If so, 5 days from Ruby Ranch you have time to explore most of the side canyons, a time consuming and sometimes messy endeavor, but rewarding usually in the end. You will probably loose a day (@ least?) getting to the goods past Ruby Ranch if you put in at Green River.
Because if it's a day up and a day down that might be worth it?

I think it would be cool to hike in from the Horseshoe Canyon unit then pack raft to an exit on the east side, but I personally wouldn't want to slog all the way up from the river to the Great Gallery.

Most of the stops I made were short… with the longest being a couple mile hike up Tenmile which to be honest wasn't spectacular. The Hey Joe mine is interesting, as is the Hellroaring Julien inscription but both of those are quick stops. If I were doing it again I'd spend time on the western drainages.
Ned, got any links to some good maps you've found of the area? I need to plan my trip for this weekend.
@sixstringsteve this is the map I bought, I read several guide books, but quite honestly the best info came from reading all the trip reports here.

I just plugged in the sites that are mentioned in this thread & in the above mentioned Belknap book, found the areas I want to camp and created an itinerary. If you're interested I'll share what that itinerary looks like. I also use Google Earth to see if the areas I want to camp are feasible.

One thing I've been told to do, that I think is good advice, is to stage your coolers. So that the cooler(s) that have food/drinks for the end of the trip aren't being opened until then - allowing them to stay cool longer.

Like many, I like to do a debrief with a cold drink at the end of a trip. When I went to Coyote Gulch 3 weeks ago we left a cooler with drinks & snickers bars in a cooler with some dry ice & ice, wrapped in a sleeping bag. This cooler was left in the back of a pick up truck. 48 hours later when we got to the truck 80%+ of the ice remained. Drinks were cold, Snickers were frozen & souls were soothed.

If I remember correctly you're doing sea kayaks, so lots of coolers may not be possible.

I'll look forward to your report for any last minute tweeks to my trip plans. Have a great time!
yeah, we're doing kayaks and we won't be bringing coolers. Thanks for the info.
We just got back from Labyrinth. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Conditions started at 6,000 CFS on Thursday, but by Friday morning the river had risen 2 feet and was flowing at 13,000 CFS (due to the rains from up north).

I was thinking about your group the whole time. What age scouts are you taking?
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Steve - Thanks. I'm taking five 14-15 year old boys.

What was the floating / paddling like at those flows?
With those river flows, was there any difficulty finding camp spots?
Are the various inscription sights, ie D. Julien, Launch Marguerite, easy to find from the river?

I tentatively have us scheduled to explore Three Canyon, Keg Springs, Hey Joe, Bow Knot, Twomile, Horseshoe & Hell Roaring.
Any of those you liked above another? @Kullaberg63 mentioned a good trail up Twomile to the rim. How long of a hike is that?
Did you see the 5 hole arch? Where is it in relation to the rim?

What's the drive from the rim down to the river really like? Looking at the Google Earth images it makes me a little nervous. Is the road in good shape? Any problems driving down with a trailer?
Were there lots of people on the river while you were there? Any other caveats that would be good to know?

The drive down to Mineral Bottom depends largely on your vehicle. It's steep with significant drop-offs but is generally well maintained. Take it slow, watch for other drivers and try not to roast your brakes.

I think you have a good feel for the trip but risk over planning. Don't worry about seeing everything, just enjoy the adventure.
Cool. it'll be a lot better with 14-15 y/o than 12-13. I was an assistant scoutmaster and I don't think I'd want to take the younger guys on a trip that long. :)

What was the floating / paddling like at those flows?
We planned on 4 days and 4 nights on the river. We didn't paddle hardly at all (unless it was to go check something out on the other side of the river, or to play around in an eddie). It ended up taking us 3 days (well, a half day, a full day, and a half day). There were 3 adults on this trip, no kids. We left Ruby Ranch at 1 PM on Thurs and we were done by 4 PM on Sat. We could have knocked it out even faster if we had paddled. That being said, we had some pretty fast inflatable kayaks. It would have been a bit slower in a big raft. I have ADHD, and I'm not the type of guy who likes to set up camp at 2 pm and just lounge around for the rest of the day. Every night we pitched camp about an hour before dark.

With those river flows, was there any difficulty finding camp spots?
Yes, it was difficult finding camping spots, but I don't blame it on the water flow, i blame it on the tamarisk. On average, we passed a viable camp spot every two hours or so. The tamarisk has completely choked out most of the shoreline. There were spots that we could tell had camp sites on them a year or two ago, but now the tamarisk was completely overgrown there was no access to these paths. I suppose you could bushwhack through 20' of tamarisk to get to the spots, but we weren't prepared for that. I don't think a lower water level would have made much of a difference unless you were camping 10' from the water. There was one stretch where we went about 3 hours without seeing anything usable for camping. Factor in the fact that there are other people on the river as well, and the size of your group, and this will probably be your biggest problem. Fortunately we only saw 4 other groups on the water with us that trip, so there were enough campsites to go around.

The first night we pulled our boats onto the shore, completely out of the water. The next day, the water level had risen by two feet and the boats were floating in the morning. We hadn't thought to tie them off because we thought the river was already at high flow. Fortunately they were still there, but after that we made sure to tie the boats off. The high water level made it a bit tricky to dock and get out of the boat, since there wasn't usually a shoreline to pull up to, but it was doable.

Are the various inscription sights, ie D. Julien, Launch Marguerite, easy to find from the river?
Sorta. The river map book you recommended was ok, but it didn't really help find the stuff. I was pretty disappointed that it didn't even mark where the river registry was. It lists it and has a picture of it, but it doesn't show where it is on the map. Just relying on the book, we passed a few of these things. Also, when it says stuff like "xxxxxxx formation" I had no clue what that meant. Was it a rock formation? A geologic formation? Ancient cave paintings? No clue. We looked and looked for some of that stuff but never could tell what it was talking about.

We found the D. Julien inscription by just taking a side hike and we happened to stumble upon it. We weren't really looking for it; we had given up on finding the stuff listed in the book. To answer your question, in my experience, the book didn't make them very easy to find. However, if you see a hiking trail off the shoreline, there's a good chance it leads to one of these.

Part 2 coming soon