Labyrinth Canyon

October 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Canyon ContrastCanyon ContrastLast rays light up the west facing walls of Labyrinth Canyon in Bowknot Bend


In mid October I took a five day kayak trip down the Labyrinth Canyon section of the Green River in Utah, from Green River on I-70 to Mineral Bottom near Island in the Sky, about 67 miles. It was a good time, lots of new experiences and photo ops, very different but also very similar to hiking in the Colorado High Country.

Morning InvitationMorning InvitationThe morning sun welcomes the boat to the river for another day


The quiet of the slow moving river, flowing through the sandstone cliffs, was something I'll never forget. Along with plenty of sun, good campsites, and relative solitude, it's a relaxing trip.


Rock GlideRock GlideGliding past the rock walls as you enter Labyrinth Canyon


Proper planning is essential. The water requires a LOT of filtering, and campsites can be few depending on the water level. Shuttling vehicles from the put in point to the take out requires some work too. I used Coyote Shuttles from Moab, and they did a fantastic job. Quite the joy to see your truck there at the landing when you arrive.


On the GreenOn the GreenThe kayak ashore on the first night of a 5 day trip down the Green River in Utah

PerspectivePerspectiveView north from the Crystal Geyser area


Leaving Green River, Utah, you float under the railroad bridge, then I-70.

Under the BridgesUnder the BridgesLeaving Green River, Utah, going under the railroad bridge


After 5 miles of open desert, you arrive at Crystal Geyser, a rare example of a cold water carbon dioxide driven geyser. Powell noticed it's original form in 1869 on one of his expeditions, but its present form dates to a 1935 exploratory oil well that kicked it into gear. The surrounding orange travertine is from the current version, some white travertine layers date from the earlier natural time. I didn't see it erupt, but the couch gallery seems to indicate the locals come here to witness something.

Orange TravertineOrange TravertineOrange Travertine formed from the Crystal Geyser near Green River, Utah Audience SeatingAudience SeatingAudience seating for the Crystal Geyser



























The 'River Quaternion' on its test run outside Green River, Utah.
I happened upon this strange black pyramid as it made its maiden voyage on the Green, Oct 12th.

The River QuaternionThe River QuaternionThe aliens have landed - and they have boats


As you enter Labyrinth Canyon, the rock walls grow ever higher, and the river slows it's pace as if in awe.

Endless CanyonEndless CanyonLabyrinth Canyon reflecting in the river


At mile point 70 you come upon Bowknot Bend, where the river takes a wide turn and then comes back to within a few hundred yards of itself. This takes 7 river miles, but you can hike up to the gap, and look down on the river below you on either side.

Bowknot BendBowknot BendThis huge curve in the Green River is 7 miles long by water, but the water is only a few hundred yards apart through this gap.


I hiked up to the gap at nightfall and shot the sunset, and the rising of the Milky Way. The camp fires of other folks could be seen far in the distance from my vantage point between the bends.


Campfire in the DistanceCampfire in the DistanceThe red light of a distant river camp shines below the Milky Way in Bowknot Bend, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah


Rising Galaxy, Setting MoonRising Galaxy, Setting MoonThe moon glows as it sets over Labyrinth Canyon, the Milky Way rising in its place



Moon RiverMoon RiverThe moon reflecting in the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon

Visit the BLM's site for information on Labyrinth Canyon, and the regulations for the area:

Sandbar CampSandbar CampLiving in the comfort zone of the sandbar camp, second night out


For a map of the area, click here:


Galaxy in the GapGalaxy in the GapThe Milky Way shines through a gap in the rock walls of Labyrinth Canyon


The guide book I used and recommend is Belknap's Waterproof Canyonlands River Guide:


Sunrise on First Camp Site on the Green RiverSunrise on First Camp Site on the Green RiverThis was on the tail of an island, looking downstream, Dellenbaugh's Butte is to the right on the skyline.


Most folks I saw on the river used canoes, which had a larger carrying capacity. The river has no rapids in Labyrinth Canyon to speak of, so canoes or sea kayaks will work fine. Whatever you choose to float in, it's a fun, relaxing trip along a spectacular stretch of river!

Sandstone GrandeurSandstone GrandeurPinnacles of rock high above the Green River


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