Floating Through the Muddy Creek Wilderness: Tomsich Butte to Hidden Splendor
Friday & Saturday, June 16-17, 2023 | Average CFS: 185
This year Jackson was really hoping we would be able to make it over to the San Rafael Swell so we could float through The Chute of Muddy Creek before the water levels dropped, but for a while there it was looking like we might not be able to make it happen this season. Luckily, the water levels of Muddy Creek have continued to stayed high enough for a couple of weeks and on Friday afternoon as I was leaving work we made a last minute decision to give it a shot on Saturday morning. All of my river gear was still packed in the Jeep and ready to go, so we headed west into Utah and met up in Green River before making our way over to Hidden Splendor to drop off my Jeep at the take-out.
The sun came out and lit up the landscape as we made our way down the road to Hidden Splendor.
After parking my Jeep near the end of the road we walked over to the take-out for a quick look.
As we walked back up the road to Jackson’s car, which was parked at the top of rougher section, we had a nice view into the beginning of the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek.
The late evening light was looking great on the sandstone as we left Hidden Splendor and made our way over to Tomsich Butte.
We spotted a faint rainbow over the San Rafael Reef with Bull Mountain in the shadows on the horizon.
Here’s one last view of the Henry Mountains over the San Rafael Reef as we neared the top of The Big Ridge.
We made it to a campsite along Muddy Creek near Tomsich Butte at dusk and got our tents set up just before it was too dark to see without our headlamps.
It was a beautiful evening out with no mosquitoes or gnats around, so we sat around in the dark for a little bit before heading off to bed. On Saturday morning we were up before sunrise so we could get an early start down the Muddy Creek.
Here’s a view of Muddy Creek from the put-in. It seems more like a canal at this point…
My inflatable kayak ready to go.
We took off just a few minutes after 7:00am and floated our way into the Muddy Creek Wilderness.
It was a lovely morning for a float through the desert.
After paddling through some fun little rapids and wide-open scenery for a couple of miles, we entered the first section of narrows.
Jackson admires the tall canyon walls.
Stopped in an eddy at the mouth of a short slot in the canyon wall.
Leaving the Shadows
After the first section of narrows the landscape opened up again for a little bit.
We stopped to stretch our legs shortly before entering The Chute.
The beginning of The Chute.
I tried to take a lot of photos as we floated through the narrow canyon of The Chute for the next couple of miles. It’s such an amazing place!
The glow coming off this part of the canyon wall was intense!
This was my last photo from inside The Chute before we left the narrows behind.
I only took one more photo during the last few miles of the float to Hidden Splendor since my camera had gotten a little too wet while taking photos in The Chute. Luckily, it seems to have started working properly again after drying out…
We reached the take-out after about four hours on the water and had not seen anyone else all morning thanks to our early start. It turned out to be another great morning in The Swell!