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Difficulty II-III
Length 72 Miles
Flow Range 150 - 500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 35.2 [CFS] 👍 ℹ️ ⚠️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/16/2019 12:19 am

River Description

SEASON: Seldom runnable, but keep an eye on the gauge during late May to June.

FUN FACT: The best way to experience the San Rafael Swell.

ACCESS: The long run (3 days) starts at the Highway I-70 bridge across Muddy Creek less than a mile east of exit 97. Alternative access points exist at Lone Tree Crossing, Tomisch Butte, Chimney Canyon, Salt Wash, and the final take-out at the Highway 24 bridge in Hanksville. Keep in mind that your shuttle can take several hours.

DESCRIPTION: Muddy Creek can be boated as a multiday trip, but The Chute is often boated as a day trip.

Starting from I-70 Muddy Creek flows through ranch land as it cuts a course across the desert. This first 11 mile section contains some class II/III rapids.

The next section starts at Lone Tree Crossing. This infrequently boated section has some great camping along the river as the river begins to cut a course through the impressive geology of the San Rafael Swell. There are few rapids in this 19 mile class I/II section.

The most popular section begins at Tomisch Butte. It's a long drive from Highway I-70 exit 129. Follow the frontage road as it heads west along the south side of I-70 and make sure you have a good map. There is camping at the put-in and in the rare years when flows are good floaters gather to paddle this 15 mile section that includes The Chute. There are a few class II rapids along this section until you enter The Chute which is a very impressive canyon up to 300' deep and only 7' wide in places. This narrow box canyon is approximately 4 miles. There is an access point at the end of this section at the Chimney Canyon trailhead near the Hidden Splendor Mine.

Once you leave the access at the Chimney Canyon trailhead you will leave the day trippers behind. It's another 5 miles of class I/II water to an access point downstream from Salt Wash where a spur road off Highway 24 ends at the river.

The final 22 miles is class I that cuts across the desert.

for additional information see:

  • Nichols, G.C. 1993. River Runners' Guide to Utah. University of Utah Press, includes an excellent and comprehensive description
  • National Geographic's Trails Illustrated map (712) of the San Rafael Swell.

Rapid Descriptions

Factory Butte Road

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Alternate access that serves as a take-out.

Hidden Splendor Mine

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The airstrip at Hidden Splendor Mine is an alternate access point that serves as a take-out below the Chute. Don't park on the airstrip.

Lone Tree Crossing

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Alternative access point.

The Chute

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The narrow box canyon that is the highlight of this run.

Tomsich Butte

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Alternate access point for the short day run of the Chute at Tomsich Butte Trailhead.


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Daniel Cottam
1 year ago

We ran the river on 6/7/19 at the level of 226 from Tomish Butte to the airstrip. With stops for lunch and a little carnage it took 5 hours and 45 minutes to run. We were in duckies and had a lot of beginners with us so it could have gone a lot quicker. The river peaks at Tomish Butte around 8am. So plan accordingly. It also tends to fall during the day so go prepared to walk if your trying a low water run. Low water runs have taken us 10 hours before and were so very painful with all the boats dragging over rocks all the time. Truly amazing scenery. The biggest planning for the trip is the shuttle which takes around 2 hours to complete.Road trip Ryan app has an excellent GPS way point map to get back there and to do the shuttle.

Gage Descriptions

Flow range is approximate. 200 cfs is a good level.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Bill Introduced to designate new Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers (UT)

Nathan Fey

Washington, DC –  Today, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, a historic conservation bill protecting over one million acres of public land, and 98 miles of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah’s Emery County. American Whitewater worked to ensure that the Green River, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael are protected under the legislation.

article main photo

Green River Boat Passage Officially Open! - UT

Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.

article main photo

American Whitewater Weighs in on BLM Oil Shale and Tar Sands Plan

Nathan Fey

The Bureau of Land Management is considering the potential for oil shale and tar sands development on 2,431,000 acres of public land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. This development could threaten the quality of paddling experiences including the multi-day desert floats on Desolation and Grays Canyons of the Green as well as the adventure available for kayaks and packrafts to explore the San Rafael, Muddy and Escalante. American Whitewater partnered with our colleagues in the Outdoor Alliance to highlight the value of these areas for outdoor recreation.


Paul Martzen


Thomas O'Keefe


Kestrel Kunz


Bill Hunt


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1200343 06/29/11 Paul Martzen access points added to map
1207608 06/09/17 Thomas O'Keefe photo changed
1207949 07/09/17 Kestrel Kunz Reach # fixed
1212371 05/16/19 Bill Hunt updated stats
1191655 10/16/01 Thomas O'Keefe n/a
1196494 11/14/09 Thomas O'Keefe