Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Dinosaur Closed to River Running


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As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the southwestern United States, the following is an update on closures and restrictions throughout the Colorado River Basin.

Om March 20, the National Park Service announced the river sections managed in Dinosaur National Monument, Canyonlands National Park and Grand Canyon National Park were closed or closing soon. Dinosaur National Monument which includes Lodore Canyon, Yampa Canyon, Whirlpool and Split Mountain canyons, will close to all river boating at noon, Monday, March 23, 2020, until further notice. Options to reschedule trips will be provided at a future date.
Canyonlands National Park closed their sections of Labyrinth and Meander and Cataract canyons to self-guided and concessionaire river trips (overnight or day-use) on March 20, 2020. They are not allowed through April.
Grand Canyon National Park announced that as of, March 24, 2020, Grand Canyon river rafting trips including administrative, research, self guided and concessionaire trips, are suspended until May 21, 2020.
The very short notice provided by Grand Canyon National Park to self-guided river trips that their trips are cancelled has caused chaos among the river gear rental companies in Flagstaff and their clients across the country and in transit. River Runners for Wilderness is attempting to connect permit holders that have space on their trips and are still launching on March 22 and 23 with trip participants in Flagstaff or on their way to Flagstaff whose permit holders have canceled their trip. If you find yourself in this predicament, please email


Steamboat Springs, CO, local Jeff Hostetler was supposed to put on the Grand on April 3, now he’s stuck with the beer. What to do?

The following is a list of precautions and federal and state land restrictions as of March 20, 2020.

River runners can do their part to help prevent the spread of this disease by following simple preventative practices.

If you are a boater, you know how important it is to wash your hands. Use tissues when you sneeze, then dispose of that tissue. Avoid all unnecessary contact with others.

-All Colorado State Park visitor centers are closed. All Colorado State Parks sponsored boating safety classes have been canceled until further notice.

-All State Parks in New Mexico are closed until at least April 9, 2020.

-Ruby Horsethief on the Colorado River is managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction (970) 244-3000 and is open at this time. Check in with BLM Grand Junction before launch for latest updates.

-Westwater Canyon is open for day trips only.

-The Colorado River from the Utah-Colorado State line downstream to the San Juan County line (the second half of the Moab Daily, the Moab town section and Meander Canyon) is closed to state land camping below the high water line for all but local residents and out of town employees working locally. No groups of 10 or more are allowed.

-All restaurants, hotels and campgrounds in Moab are closed to all but local residents and out of town employees working locally. Restaurants offer limited take-out services.

-No groups of 10 or more allowed below Deso Gray takeout at Swayzee’s Rapid through Labyrinth Canyon.

-Navajo Nation lands on the left bank of the San Juan River are closed to the non-tribal public.
Labyrinth Canyon is closed to state land camping below the high-water line for all but local residents and out of town employees working locally.

-The White Mountain Apache Tribe is no longer issuing permits for The Salt River, but Tonto National Forest is still open to the public as of this writing. The rough four-wheel-drive FS 303B into Gleeson Flat, and Horseshoe Bend are the only Salt River access points presently open.

-Lees Ferry is open, and Grand Canyon National Park river trips are allowed to launch. Phantom Ranch is experiencing a waterline break, and Xanterra is closing its hotels, including the one at Phantom Ranch, on March 20, 2020.

-The Diamond Creek take-out ramp is open at present, but you will need a permit from the Hualapai Tribe to exit the river there. New permits to take out may no longer be offered. Call Hualapai Game and Fish for up-to-date information at 928.769.2227.

-The Pearce Ferry Take out is open either side of the concrete ramp, which is under maintenance at this time.

All restrictions, closures and open sections of river mentioned above are subject to immediate change on your way to the put-in, but the above review is a snapshot as of 6:00 am Arizona time, March 20, 2020.

If you have updates in your local area, please email them to


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