Labyrinth Canyon by Jetboat


Disappointed, passed over.
Jan 17, 2012
Friday the 13th. This trip was supposed to happen on May 16th, which, as you'll see later, would have been awesome. However, our boat captain Clarence is an investigator with the Utah Highway Patrol and unexpectedly had to work due to a tragic car accident. We rescheduled for four weeks later. At 7:00 AM, Alan and I arrived at Green River State Park, with Alan hobbling along on a broken leg. We met Captain Clarence, who neither of us had met before, along with Wade and his son, McCoy, and Wade's friend, Brent, then set out on the water. The first several miles went by very quickly. We slowed near a spot where I'd heard there were some petroglyphs and, finding some pictographs instead, we took a few photos then motored on. I'm sure the petroglyphs are still there waiting. Most of us had already seen Crystal Geyser but we still stopped there briefly.

Launching the boat at Green River State Park

Pulling up to the dock

Under way!

Railroad bridge over the Green

Leaving the town of Green River behind

Pictographs along the river

Crystal Geyser barely sputtering

We continued on toward our next stop at the mouth of Three Canyon. From John Wesley Powell's The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons, regarding his 1869 expedition: "July 15 - Our camp is in a great bend of the canyon. The curve is to the west and we are on the east side of the river. Just opposite, a little stream comes down through a narrow side canyon. We cross and go up to explore it. At its mouth another lateral canyon enters, in the angle between the former and the main canyon above. Still another enters in the angle between the canyon below and the side canyon first mentioned; so that three side canyons enter at the same point. These canyons are very tortuous, almost closed in from view, and, seen from the opposite side of the river, they appear like three alcoves. We name this Trin-Alcove Bend." I couldn't help but ponder how ridiculously easily we reached this spot compared to Powell. Upon landing, we greeted a party who had canoed down the Green and camped at Three Canyon. A woman approached us and asked in a somewhat accusatory tone, "Are you even allowed to have a motorized boat here?" We explained to her that, yes, we are indeed allowed to have a jetboat on the river. While some of us looked at the petroglyphs at the mouth of Three Canyon, the woman told the rest of our group not to waste our time because the petroglyphs were fakes. I found them to be quite genuine and wished I had more time to explore the mouth of the canyon.

Alan and his broken leg

Anvil Butte on the right


A duck that flew ahead of us for a while

Cliffs and wake

Eagles in a dead cottonwood

Wade in the best seat on the boat

Three Canyon

Three Canyon petroglyph

Brent at Three Canyon

We stopped next at some historic inscriptions from 1909, left by voyagers on Launch Marguerite, a paddle boat that ran the Green and Colorado rivers in the early 1900s. I'm glad Clarence knew of the inscriptions because I wasn't previously aware of them, and stopping there allowed me to find a nearby geocache. The next stop was near some petroglyphs that I'd heard about from another nearby geocache, but getting from the shore to the rock art required the worst bushwhack I have ever done. The brush was so thick that I never once took out my camera while pushing through. It was well worth the effort, though. The petroglyphs looked quite old--maybe a mix of Barrier Canyon and Anasazi styles.

The group photographing inscriptions near Bull Hollow

1909 inscriptions: H.I. Downes(?), H.T. Howland, E.T. Wolverton, E.D.R. Thompson

Petroglyphs between Bull Hollow and Tenmile Bottom

Petroglyphs between Bull Hollow and Tenmile Bottom

Petroglyphs between Bull Hollow and Tenmile Bottom

Petroglyphs between Bull Hollow and Tenmile Bottom

Petroglyphs between Bull Hollow and Tenmile Bottom

Getting picked back up by the boat in some thick brush

We motored deeper along the Green River to Register Rock. Here there were many names inscribed into the rocks, but few older than the 1950s. Alan even climbed up to the cliff face with his crutches to view the inscriptions up close.

Mouth of Keg Spring Canyon

Tied off at Register Rock

Register Rock

Register Rock

We only had a rough idea where our next point of interest would be. We were looking for the Denis Julien inscription from May 16, 1836. We idled along the east bank of the river until we found the overhang hiding the inscription, then landed and hopped out for a closer look. Our original trip date would have put us here on the 178th anniversary of Julien's inscription. It would have been great to be there on the anniversary, but it was even better that our trip was delayed because it allowed Alan enough time to heal to be able to visit even with his broken leg.

Cruisin' in Labyrinth Canyon

Natural arch

Denis Julien inscription, May 16, 1836

Alan at the Julien inscription

We continued downriver to Bowknot Bend until our fuel status dictated that we head back upriver. We'd hoped to reach the confluence with the Colorado River. Motoring downstream--as opposed to drifting with the current--ended up burning a lot of fuel and limiting the length of river we could explore. We turned around and stopped at the main Launch Marguerite inscription where I found a third geocache.

Saddle of Bowknot Bend

Walking to the Launch Marguerite inscription

Climbing up to Launch Marguerite

Launch Marguerite, 9/1/1909

Sambo the dog

On our way upriver we saw a group of four canoes together who flagged us down. They had an injured woman who had dislocated a collarbone and asked us to head downstream to notify the rest of their group of six canoes of their predicament. We notified the other group, then motored back upstream and floated alongside the other group until they all reuinted. We offered to bring the injured person and her mother back to Green River with us to seek medical treatment. Ironically, the mother was the same woman who chastised us about having a motorboat on the Green River, except now she was extremely thankful that we were in the right place at the right time to help them.

11-12-16, Howland Bros., Dealers in Divided Skirts and Pantywear

This group with an injured party (dislocated collarbone) flagged us down

Waiting to take on the injured party

Adios to the canoe group

Now with eight people aboard, we continued upriver without stopping at any of the remaining places that we'd planned. Just beyond Crystal Geyser the boat began sounding an alarm: there was low pressure in the oil injection system. Clarence shut the engine down and did some troubleshooting but couldn't fix the problem. To prevent engine damage, we began floating back to Crystal Geyser and Clarence called some friends for assistance. As soon as we beached the boat, one of Clarence's friends arrived in a truck and another arrived a few minutes later. The first truck took the injured woman and her mother to Green River and then returned with the boat trailer. Alan and I hitched a ride with J.R. in the second truck back to Green River State Park and returned with Wade's truck. We got the boat and gear loaded and drove to town, finishing up the day with dinner at Ray's Tavern. This was a great opportunity to experience a large stretch of the river in a short time. I'm looking forward to the day when I eventually take my canoe down the Green for several days and enjoy it more fully.

Natural arch downstream from June's Bottom

Paddling the boat after having engine problems

Landing spot at Crystal Geyser

Riding with J.R. back to Green River State Park

Pulling the 2WD truck out

Full photo gallery:

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Jan 23, 2013
Cool report! I've seen lots of jetboats on the river - mainly close to green river, but I'm surprised I've never seen pwc or jet skis on the river. Anyone know why?


Aug 9, 2007
Wild man! This got me doing some googling and I started reading up about the Friendship Cruise they used to do down the Green and up the Colorado to Moab. Hundreds of motorboats at a time! Crazy! I'd be kind of freaked out on a powered boat on a river like this. Breaking down seems like it could really suck, especially say... I dunno, right above Cataract Canyon?! Haha. Glad it worked out well for you guys.
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