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San Juan River

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San Juan Mountain, North New Mexico, Lake Powell
Mountains, desert, red rock canyon
4000 feet


A major tributary of the Colorado River, the San Juan arises in southwestern Colorado and joins the Colorado River near Lake Powell. Excellent fishing and rafting can be found as the river winds through spectacular desert country.

Almost certainly one of the most unique rivers in the United States, the San Juan river begins high in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, before flowing south into New Mexico. Some of the best fishing on the entire river can be found on this stretch, near Aztec, NM. As the San Juan crosses the southwest desert, major tributaries include the Animas, Chaco, and Chinle Creek. The river meanders through goosenecks, sometimes progressing over five miles over a single straight mile, passing countless ancient Native American ruins. Near Clay Hills, Utah, the San Juan River joins the Colorado River at Lake Powell, forming what is know as the San Juan are.

See complete coverage of the San Juan River, including Rafting guides and outfitters, area lodging, and more.

Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Fishing Methods:
Fly fishing, bait
San Juan Mountain, North New Mexico, Lake Powell
Mountains, desert, red rock canyon
4000 feet
Flows from 11,000 ft. to 3900 ft.
Rafting, fishing
Check locally for conditions
Camping Info
Many maintained and primitive campground.
Water Features
  • Boat Ramp
  • Stocked Fish
  • No Stocked Fish
  • Fishing Pier
  • Campground
Water Activities
  • Boating
  • Fishing

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Northwestern New Mexico is known by many as a magical place. Four Corners and the local Aztec Ruins are considered sacred ground for some and are fascinating to visit.
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