Flatwater Trips

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8 minutes, 41 seconds

Get ready for your flatwater trip into Canyonlands National Park. Helpful tips and advice provided in this video will help you plan your trip and Leave No Trace while out in these pristine areas.


Flatwater trips may float down either the Colorado or Green rivers as far as the Confluence or Spanish Bottom. A permit is required for all flatwater trips in Canyonlands.

You may reserve overnight permits up to four months before the following seasons and reservations close two days prior to a launch date. Day use permits are available year round.

  • April 14 – October 15 (opens December 14)
  • October 16 – April 13 (opens June 15)

For a successful river trip, it is essential to practice proper food handling & sanitation and water purification techniques, and to abide by toilet requirements and other river regulations.

Launch Options

On both rivers, all launch ramps are outside park boundaries. Launch locations on the Green River include Green River State Park, Ruby Ranch or Mineral Bottom. On the Colorado River, boaters typically use the Potash or Moab ramps. You only need a park permit for the nights you will be inside the park (below Potash or Mineral Bottom ramps). Vehicles cannot reach the rivers near the Confluence.


Unless groups have their own motors or a lot of time to paddle upstream, take out is via jet boat shuttle back to Moab. This service is available from two licensed operators:

  • Tex's Riverways: (877) 662-2839 or (435) 259-5101
  • Canyonlands River Tours: (800) 394-9978, (435) 259-5261

People interested in flatwater permits should make their upstream travel arrangements before contacting the park. Permits are plentiful—it's more likely that shuttle availability will be a limiting factor for your trip. The National Park Service does not operate a shuttle service.

Labyrinth Canyon

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the riverways upstream of the park boundary, which include most launch locations. Permits are required for boating the Green River between Green River State Park and Mineral Bottom (Labyrinth Canyon). For more information, download a permit application from the Bureau of Land Management.

Green River State Park and Ruby Ranch both charge a small fee for launches. Call Ruby Ranch at 435-650-3193, or Green River State Park at 435-564-3633 for more information. Permits are not required for overnight use or launches on BLM land along the Colorado River.

Distances and Flows

Groups can plan on covering 15 to 20 miles per day during high water, 10 to 15 miles per day during low water, depending on the amount of time spent hiking or how much you paddle.

River flows are dependent upon snowmelt and rainfall. The character of the rivers changes dramatically depending on the season. High water generally stretches from early May to late June, while low water may occur later in summer. Both conditions can present challenges to boaters. Recorded river flows are available from the US Geological Survey or by calling 801-539-1311. Snowmelt peak flow forecasts are available from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.


There are no designated campsites along the rivers in Canyonlands. During periods of high water, camps can be difficult to find, especially for large groups. During late summer and fall, sandbars are usually plentiful and make ideal camps. River users must register for camps below the Confluence.


Last updated: July 19, 2023

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Moab, UT 84532



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