A western river classic, this 3-day float trip features spectacular scenery, canyon hiking, riverside camping, and ample time for relaxation. The Colorado River through Ruby & Horsethief Canyons, flowing 25 miles from Loma, Colorado to Westwater, Utah, is mostly flat-water with Class I swiftwater and a short section of Class II rapids. A perfect trip for families and groups seeking the magic and splendor inherent in a multi-day river trip minus the stress of whitewater navigation.
The Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River flows through McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, which features sandstone canyons, natural arches, spires, and alcoves carved into the Colorado Plateau. Wildlife sighting opportunities are abundant along Ruby-Horsethief, home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons, river otters, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and great blue herons.
Our 3-day, 2-night trip through Ruby-Horsethief is designed to maximize quality time for hiking, floating, and leisure activities. Within just a couple of miles from the Loma put-in, we enter Ruby Canyon, a beautiful red rock canyon home to several side canyons and creek washes ripe for desert hiking. Rattlesnake Canyon at mile 3.2 boasts the second-largest concentration of arches in the world, after Arches National Park in Utah. We will make camp at one of five camps in an area called Cottonwood, which is lined with cottonwood trees that provide abundant shade on hot summer days. The evening at camp includes hiking opportunities, beach games, an outstanding meal, and quality time under the stars. After a hearty breakfast, we leave Ruby Canyon and enter Horsethief Canyon at mile 9. A railroad runs along the right bank of the river for the rest of our journey. More hiking opportunities abound among the many side canyons and the river flow is flat for most of the day making swimming a most inviting activity on a hot day. At mile 16 the river makes a sharp left turn to reveal Black Rocks, a mile-long corridor of black metamorphic rock called Vishnu Schist, which was formed about 1.7 billion years ago. This same layer of rock geology, which geologists refer to as “an unconformity,” is also exposed in certain sections of the Grand Canyon several hundred miles downstream. Black Rocks marks the beginning of the only section of mildly turbulent whitewater along Ruby-Horsethief and also features nine iconic campsites along the left side of the river. We will enjoy one of them. Swimming is an especially popular activity in the Black Rocks area and there is a nice hike to Moore Canyon just downstream from camp. Another great meal and campsite leisure bring day two to a peaceful close. After another hearty breakfast, we move downstream from Black Rocks for our final day of flow and appreciation. There is a special hiking opportunity at mile 18 up a side canyon called McDonald Creek. This short hike leads to ancient petroglyphs that provide a glimpse into the early civilizations of the desert canyon region. Our journey commences at mile 25 and the Westwater takeout. $905 per person based on 4 person max. Custom and private 3 days, 2-night trip.
2023 Permit Dates:
- June 23 – June 25
- July 14 – July 16
- August 18 – August 20
- September 2 – September 4
- September 15 – September 17
- October 20 – October 22
Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides creates custom trips to fit your needs. Please call (720) 242-9828 or email email@example.com with any questions or to set up your next adventure today!