Awesome desert beauty 

Paradox & Mesa Canyons


Paradox & Mesa Trip Search:




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paradox & mesa canyons overview

Paradox Valley, named appropriately as the Dolores River cuts a course across the valley instead of down its length, was created over 150 million years ago from the collapse of an ancient salt dome. This open valley is a calm float with views of the steep sandstone and shale that form the valley walls.

As the river moves through the northern edge of Paradox Valley you float into majestic Mesa Canyon. High canyon walls hug the river, and at one point sport a 100-year-old wooden hanging flume, which is attached to the canyon wall 500+ feet above the water. Despite the presence of Hwy 141 alongside the river, the scenery is enough to forget about the flow of traffic.

Recommended Trips for Paradox & Mesa – Dolores River:

Dolores River 10-Day Utah Rafting in Gateway Canyon

This trip combines Ponderosa Gorge, Slick Rock, and Gateway Canyons to create one of the longest raft trips in the West. Exciting whitewater, fascinating geology, Indian ruins, interesting side creeks, and stunning sunsets will fill your days on this adventure of a lifetime.

Rafting the Dolores River

Adult price : $2289


paradox & mesa canyons sections

Dolores River – Paradox & Mesa Canyons Whitewater Rafting Details:

Difficulty: Class II-III (What does this mean?)
Elevation: 4939′ to 4551′
Average Gradient: 8.8′ per mile

Access to Access

Bedrock to Gateway: 44.2 miles
Total Mileage: 44.2 miles



What people are saying

  • Lydia filled us with confidence. She was skilled and knowledgeable and explained each set of rapids so we knew what to expect. She was great company and we had the best experience. She was brilliant.

    Dwight W. Rafter
  • I cannot wait to come back! Also loved how funny all the guides were. It was the most I’ve seen my sister laugh in a long time! Thank you so much for this amazing experience.

    Lexi R. Rafter
  • I spent several days researching various rafting options and after speaking w/your team was sold. We were not disappointed-the trip is spectacular and our guide Sean was informative, lively professional and entertaining.

    Lauren C. Rafter


Information for Dolores Self-Guided Boaters:

The Dolores River (Paradox & Mesa Canyons) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management out of Montrose, CO.

  • Boating Permit Required: NO
  • Permit Details: No fee of any kind is required to float the river, although there are group size limits.
  • River Manager: U.S Bureau of Land Management – Uncompahgre Field Office
    2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO 81401
    970.240.5300 ~

Please contact the river manager (above) for information on shuttles.

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