Green River, Utah
Labyrinth Canyon is a great multi-day river trip for the whole family. This section of the Green River is extremely calm and relaxing. It is very scenic and passes through beautiful red rock canyons.
Optional shuttle or launching fees depending on where you put in
Most Recent: June 9, 2014
First Trip: July 3, 2013
Labyrinth Canyon is a great multi-day river trip for the whole family. This section of the Green River is extremely calm and relaxing. It is very scenic and passes through beautiful red rock canyons.
Trip Length: 45 miles from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom
Day 1: 7.3 miles in 2 hours 45 minutes
Day 2: 15.8 miles in 10 hours (included a 30-minute stop for lunch, a 30-minute stop to play on a sandbar, a 45-minute stop at the River Registry, and a 2-hour stop at Hey Joe Canyon)
Day 3: 22.2 miles in 8.5 hours (included a 30-minute stop at Bowknot Bend and a 20-minutes stop for lunch)
Average Canoeing Speed: 45.3 miles in 18.66 hrs = 2.4 mph
Participants: Jeremy Dye, Tara Dye, Savannah Dye (age almost 3), Madilyn Dye (age 10 months), Anthony Dye, Arianne Dye, Ondylyn Wagner, Jaren Wagner.
Number of Canoes: 3
Vehicles: 1 minivan and 1 car
Duration: 2.5 days; started canoeing Wednesday at noon; finished on Friday at 5:30
River Flow Rate: 2,240 cfs (really low)
Weather: Hot and sunny all day Wednesday and Thursday morning. High of 102° low of 90°. Partly cloudy Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Really windy Thursday afternoon.
Everyone drove to Ruby Ranch on Tuesday night and camped. We unloaded everything in the morning, then Anthony and I took the van and the car to Moab to get gas then to Mineral Bottom. We dropped off the van and trailer at Mineral bottom then drove the car back to Ruby Ranch.
When we were done, we all piled into the van (1 seatbelt short) then drove to Ruby Ranch to pick up the car. Then we all drove home.
We would launch from either Green River (not the State Park, just some random intersection) or Crystal Geyser. This would have saved us $60 at Ruby Ranch and a couple hours of driving. And we still would have had plenty of time to paddle the extra miles.
We would go in May or June when the river is flowing faster and when the weather is not so hot.
After work, we got the rest of our gear loaded up, picked up some pizza, and started driving. We left around 6:30. We stopped at a park in Green River to let the girls stretch their legs a bit. Then we drove over to the River History Museum to drop off our permit. I wandered around with Savannah while Tara nursed Madi. Then we loaded back in the car.
We got to Ruby Ranch around midnight. It took us a little longer than normal because we didn't realize that we were supposed to go through the gate that said No Tresspassing. The signs along Ruby Ranch Road are really good until the very last fork in the road. We took the right fork (the correct way) then came to the No Tresspassing sign. We figured we must have made a wrong turn, so we backtracked to the last fork in the road and took the left fork. We only made it a few hundred yards before we quickly realized that our little car would not make it down the extremely rough 4x4 road. So then we went back down the right fork and this time we turned left right before the gate. Bad idea. We soon got stuck in deep sand and spent at least half an hour digging the car out.
Finally, we decided to "tresspass" and go through the gate. Shortly, we came to the welcome sign.
Welcome to Ruby Ranch
- You are trespassing on private property.
- You are trespassing at your own risk.
- All appropriate fees must be paid in full before going beyond this point. No exceptions.
- We reserve the right to refuse access to anyone for any reason.
- CASH FEES - put in envelope and deposit in box.
$10 per boat +
$5 per person +
$5 per person for overnight camping
- Vehicles can be left at no charge at your own risk.
- Please keep launch area clean.
I did lots of online research before the trip, and none of the website mentioned anything about having to pay to launch from Ruby Ranch. We had no idea a fee was required and didn't have any cash on us. We had to borrow money from Anthony the next day to pay our portion.
After we got camp set up, I went to go show Anthony's group where we were camped. We explored several of the roads in the area to see if there was a way to go around Ruby Ranch. We gave up around 1:30 and went to bed. It was really really hot all night long, so we didn't sleep very well.
The girls woke up at 5:45. We tore down camp. Anthony came with the canoe trailer around 6:30, and we unloaded everything. At 7:00 Anthony, Arianne, and I took off in the van and car to do the shuttle. Arianne came because she got a nasty bug bite on her lip during the night. Her bottom lip swelled up really big, so she wanted to visit an instacare in Moab to have it looked at. We stopped in Moab to get gas, but the only instacare in town didn't open until noon, so Anthony and Arianne bought some Benadryl while I walked around a rock shop in town. Then we dropped the van off at Mineral Bottom and arrived back at Ruby Ranch around 11:45. We loaded up the canoes and launched by 12:15.
We arrived at Trin Alcove (Three Canyon) at 3:00 and had fun playing in the mud. It was the most awesome mud I have ever played in.
We pitched out tents in some shady campsites on the north side of the canyon.
We took naps (so hot!) then made dinner.
Then we hiked up Three Canyon. Or at least we thought it was Three Canyon. Turns out we hiked up the short south fork instead of the long middle fork. It was still fun though.
After the hike, which took less than an hour round trip, we went back to camp and tried to sleep. Tara and I and our girls slept OK considering the heat, but Anthony, Arianne, Ondylyn, and Jaren had a really hard time sleeping. Their tent didn't have very good ventilation, and the trees blocked the wind. Anthony and Arianne got up several times to go cool off in the river. They estimated that they got about 2 hours of sleep that nights.
We got up around 7:00 and were on the river by 8:30. It was overcast for most of the morning.
We passed a huge group of college-aged people that were playing on a sandbar. They had Frisbees, horse shoes, and lots of other fun stuff.
We stopped for lunch on a shady mud-bar. One of the sloppy joe cans was totally spoiled, but the remaining two cans were plenty for everyone.
Then after paddling for another 10 minutes or so, we came to an awesome sandbar. We got out and played for quite a while.
Ondy and Jaren played in the water with Savannah.
Madi loved the warm shallow water.
Anthony played on our pool float.
We blew up the beach ball. Arianne caught some baby fish in the bail bucket.
I built a sand castle.
Jaren had a pretty bad headache for most of the trip and was pretty miserable. Then we got back in the canoes and paddled some more.
After about half an hour, we arrived at Register Rock, a cliff and surrounding rocks plastered with signatures and drawings.
Anthony added his signature "Mr. Noodle".
After another hour or so of paddling, we got to Hey Joe Canyon. We set up the tent for the girls to nap in.
Madi took a short nap.
Jaren did too.
Arianne, Anthony, Ondylyn, Savannah, and I went and explored the mouth of Hey Joe Canyon.
We found a huge mining tractor and a loading silo.
Then Ondy and Savannah went back to camp. Anthony, Arianne, and I started hiking up Hey Joe Canyon. While we were hiking, Ondy swapped Savannah for Madilyn then caught up with us.
Up Hey Joe Canyon we found lots of cool mining ruins including an old truck and an old tractor thing.
We also found a spring under a rock ledge, but it wasn't flowing very much.
Around 6:30 that night, we stopped and camped on a sand bar. We came to the conclusion that it was better to have wind than shade. When we set up our tent, we realized that one piece of our tent pole (the elastic inside had broken) was missing. I used some handy dandy paracord to lash a paddle to the fourth corner of the tent, which wasn't time effective, but it did work. It worked a whole lot better than Anthony's tent, which collapsed twice in the night from the wind. Anthony and Arianne slept on a tarp while Ondy and Jaren slept in the tent.
We took a slow morning and launched around 10:00. It was overcast for most of the day, which was awesome.
We soon arrived at Bowknot Bend, a 6.8-mile meander of the river that doubles back on itself so close that the two sections of river are just 0.2 miles apart.
Anthony and I hiked up to the Bowknot Bend Overlook where we could see the river on both sides of the cliff.
Then we scrambled back down and jumped in the canoe and raced to catch up with the rest of the group. It turns out we could have paddled a little slower because we caught up to them in just 2 miles. They had stopped at a sandbar just two minutes before we got there.
We all played in the water some more and had lunch, then back to the boats.
We paddled fairly hard for a while and Madilyn and Savannah even took naps in the canoe.
At around 5:00, the typical afternoon wind picked up. Except this time it was coupled with a storm front coming in. At first the wind was blowing in our favor, and we used our shade sheet as a sail to blow us downstream. Then a really big gust almost tipped us over. The only reason we didn't tip was because the PVC fittings came apart and everything came crashing down. That woke Savannah up from her nap with a jump!
Once we rounded the bend, the wind was against us, so we got out several times and walked the canoes.
Anthony offered to paddle the slow canoe by himself as I was taking care of the girls and couldn't paddle. Then I switched and paddled with Arianne while Anthony still paddled the slow canoe by himself. Macho man!
We arrived at the Mineral Bottom boat launch at about 5:30 and unloaded.
Then we drove into Moab to look for some place to stay the night. Unfortunately when we got there, all the hotels and all the camping spots were taken. So we got an ice cream. We did some window shopping. Then we stopped and ate dinner at Wendys. We all fell asleep on the way to Ruby Ranch (except Anthony who was driving). We were one seatbelt short, so I fell asleep lying on everyone's lap in the back seat. We picked up our car in Ruby Ranch, switched over our gear and drove home. We got home shortly before 2:00am. The good part of the drive was that both girls slept the whole way.
Trip Length: 68 miles from Green River State Park to Mineral Bottom
Day 1: 7.2 miles in 2 hours 50 minutes (included a 40-minute stop for lunch at Crystal Geyser)
Day 2: 32.7 miles in 9 hours (included a 1-hour stop for lunch and a 5-minute stop at Three Canyon)
Day 3: 28.7 miles in 10 hours 20 minutes (included a 1 hour and 15-minute stop at Bowknot Bend Overlook)
Average Canoeing Speed: 68.6 miles in 19 hours and 10 minutes = 3.6 mph
Adults: Jeremy Dye, Kyle Torgerson, Luke Harrison, and Rob Whitaker
Scouts: Sebastian, Barry, Sheldon, Canyon, Elijah, Riley, Connor, Michael, Kaden, Domonic, and Dylan
Number of Canoes: 8
Vehicles: 2 trucks and 1 car
Duration: 2.5 days; started canoeing Monday at 11:45 am; finished on Wednesday at 7:00 pm
River Flow Rate: 20,000 cfs (really high)
Weather: Monday: sunny with high in the mid 80s and low in the high 50s; Tuesday: sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon, high in the mid 80s low in the high 60s; Wednesday: overcast all day, gusts of wind in the afternoon.
Water Temperature: 62°
We all drove to Green River State Park on Monday morning. We unloaded the canoes and all the gear. I stayed with the boys while Kyle, Rob, and Luke drove the vehicles and canoe trailers to Mineral Bottom. They then caught an airplane shuttle (Redtail Aviation) from Mineral Bottom to the Green River airport, where we had someone who lived in Green River pick them up and drop them off at the State Park.
Bring more bug spray! I forgot how quickly a large group goes through bug spray. We went through our 3 cans by the second day.
We had all the boys drop off their gear ahead of time so we could get an early start on Monday. I spent about half of the day gathering up gear and working on the canoe trailer.
Since several of the boys didn't bring their gear by on Saturday, we got their gear all loaded in the truck. I also got all the food sorted out by meal and packed into totes. And I got everything else gathered up and packed. I was pretty frazzled by the end of it because there were so many things to remember. I ended up going to bed around 11:30 but couldn't fall asleep until 12:30 because I couldn't turn my brain off. I slept with a pad a paper on the nightstand so I could make a list of the things I forgot to pack.
My alarm went off at 4:20, but I was already awake. I had woken up about a dozen times during my 4 hours of sleep. Ugh.
I got ready, went to work to print some merit badge papers, and dropped by Walmart to get a few groceries I had forgotten. It turns out that our Walmart doesn't open until 6:00. However, one of the employees was nice and let me in at 5:30, so I was able to get what we needed.
We met at the church at 5:45 and started driving shortly after 6:00. I thought the boys might sleep on the way there, but they were too excited.
We arrived at Green River State Park by about 8:10 and unloaded everything by the boat ramp. Our 3 shuttle drivers left around 8:45. I showed the boys how to pack their gear in their canoes and tie it all down. Then we worked on most of the requirements for the camping merit badge.
We also learned a little bit from the guys running the gauging station.
Meanwhile, Kyle, Luke, and Rob drove to Mineral Bottom, parked the shuttle vehicles, and caught an airplane shuttle to Green River. They made it to the State Park around 11:30, and we were all on the river by 11:45.
To ensure that nobody got separated from the group, we designated a front boat and a back boat, and everyone else had to stay somewhere in the middle. Kaden and I were the back boat first so that we could help the people that didn't know how to paddle. As was to be expected, the boys that didn't come to our paddle practices did a lot of zig-zagging for the first day or two, but eventually they caught on.
We stopped at Crystal Geyser for lunch. It's crazy how large the travertine deposits have gotten considering that the geyser is less than 80 years old. There are some really neat rimstone pools that are a very deep orange. Apparently the geyser only erupts every 8 or 22 hours, so we didn't get to see it erupt while we were there. While were were there, a bunch of the guys had fun playing in the water.
After lunch, we got back in the canoes and started paddling again. About 2 miles downstream from Crystal Geyser is a river island close to the south bank. A bunch of our canoeists thought it would be fun to shoot the gap between the river island and the bank. Riley and Domonic got tangled up in some branches and tipped their canoe.
It turns out they weren't alone because the Scout troop in front of us tipped 3 canoes when they did the same thing. The other troop called it quits because they bent up one of their canoes around a cable, and they didn't really know what they were doing. But we just emptied out the swamped canoe, packed it all up again, and continued on our way.
Here's where we made a little bit of a navigational error. The other troop said we were at Ruby Ranch, and we believed them without even checking our map or GPS. So we quit canoeing around 2:45 and set up camp for the day. We played in the water. We built a swing. We played some games. We took a hike. We fixed dinner. And we did a whole lot of sitting around. Kyle taught everyone most of the first aid merit badge. We had a campfire program. We played "I'm Going on a Trip" and "This is The Moon", and we went to bed.
Riley got sick during the night and threw up a couple of times. He might have drunk some river water, but I think he just got dehydrated. We got up and fixed breakfast. Then Kyle finished teaching the First Aid merit badge. Then around 10:00 we got on a river and started paddling again. We had some water fights.
Around 12:30 we pulled over for lunch in a shallow section. It was about this time that we realized that we weren't where we thought we were. We thought we were almost to Trin Alcove, but in reality, we were still 5 miles above Ruby Ranch. When we figured this out, we adjusted our plans a little. Up to this point, we had been killing a lot of time because we didn't want the trip to be over too soon.
At about 1:30 we finished lunch and got back on the river. Barry and Sebastian were the most relaxed paddlers I have ever seen. They took turns taking naps and pretty much just steered when they had to. Riley also took an hour nap on the river.
Around 2:30 we passed Ruby Ranch.
At 4:30, we arrived at Trin Alcove. All the awesome mud from our previous trip was very much under water. Also the campsite where we camped last year was under water. There was another group in Three Canyon already. There were still plenty of places to camp, but the whole canyon had a lot of mosquitoes in it. We asked the boys if they wanted to hike Three Canyon, but they all voted to keep paddling. So back on the river we went.
We arrived at 10-mile Canyon around 6:50, and it was really pretty. We paddled up 10-mile Canyon for a ways, looking for a campsite. We saw a beaver and a heron and some really pretty cliffs. The mosquitoes were bad, and we couldn't find a clearing large enough, so we went back to the mouth of 10-mile canyon and camped there. It was really nice. We fixed dinner, and Luke taught everyone Wilderness Survival. We had a devotional then everyone hit the sack early.
We got up and fixed breakfast.
We were all loaded up and back on the river by 8:45. Once on the river, we huddled the canoes and Luke finished teaching the Wilderness Survival merit badge.
We all tried to stop at Register Rock but Rob and Domonic flipped their canoe in the little rapids right next to Register Rock. Kyle went after Domonic while Kaden and I went after Rob and his canoe and towed them back to shore. Kaden hiked up to Register Rock while Rob and I unswamped the canoe. Our cream of wheat got a bit wet, and so did a pack of crackers and some cup 'o noodles, but for the most part everything stayed dry. Once we got everything situated again, we paddled upstream so Rob could see Register Rock. We took some pictures, then Rob paddled through the rapids that had swamped him so he could prove to himself he could do it.
Because Rob and I were in the back and no one else knew where they were going, the rest of the group accidentally paddled right past Hey Joe Canyon. So that little side trip will have to wait for a different trip. We did some swimming. We got to Bowknot Bend around noon.
Most of us hiked up to the overlook, which was a lot of fun.
We decided to eat lunch on the river to avoid the mosquitoes. Then while we were still all huddled together, I taught a large part of the Geology merit badge.
Around 3:30, a cross-wind picked up, so I had everyone pull over to the side to wait it out. I didn't want anyone to get tangled up in the trees and swamp their canoe. The place we pulled over turned out to be a campsite, but we didn't want to stay there because of the mosquitoes and because we wanted to get some more miles behind us. The beach was a little bit small, so a couple of the canoes went downstream a little farther to the next area. Well, Dylan and Elijah weren't looking where they were going, and they ran into a tree trunk with the side of their canoe. Of course, this tipped their canoe. Elijah swam back to shore. Dylan floated downstream with the canoe. Dylan had taken his life jacket off when he first got on shore and had forgotten to put it back on when he got in to move his canoe. He can swim, but he was still a bit freaked out. Someone threw him a life jacket, which he put on, so that was good. Luke was in his canoe, so he followed after Dylan and the swamped canoe and towed it to shore. Kyle and I hopped in another canoe and chased after the gear that had fallen out - a sleeping bag and a paddle. Then we paddled upstream to help Luke and Dylan. We got the gear transferred over to the other canoes then paddled two of the canoes back upstream to the campsite.
We waited out the storm for about half an hour until the wind died down, then we got back on the river and continued on our way.
We arrived at Mineral Bottom at about 7:00pm.
We thought about setting up camp at Mineral Bottom, but the mosquitoes were pretty bad down by the water, and there were lots of red ants in the camping spot. We got all the canoes unloaded and everything packed in the trucks. Rob and I fixed the trailer where one of the vertical poles sheared off. Then we got on the road.
We thought about camping along the dirt road, but we found out there was no camping allowed. So we drove all the way to the highway and set up camp in the parking lot. We fixed a quick dinner around 9:30 and everyone crashed for the night.
For breakfast, we had cream of wheat. But we didn't have a stirring spoon, so we used a paddle handle instead.
After breakfast, we threw all our gear back in the trucks and were on the road by 8:30. When we got to highway 191, Kyle alerted me that my canoe trailer was leaning to the right. We pulled over and discovered that the axle had come unwelded from the trailer on the right side.
After a little discussion, we decided to attach a tie-down from the leaf spring to the trailer and drive to Crescent Junction. We unhooked the trailer and left it in Crescent Junction while we went and explored Sego Canyon.
On the way home from Sego Canyon, we picked up the trailer and continued home slowly, but with no incident. That's 160 miles pulling a broken trailer.
We got home around 3:30. We unloaded everything and washed a lot of it.
Then the much-needed lounging began...