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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.

Sy Butte View

After parking my Jeep near the end of the road we walked over to the take-out for a quick look.

Muddy Creek Take-Out

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.

Muddy Creek Evening

The late evening light was looking great on the sandstone as we left Hidden Splendor and made our way over to Tomsich Butte.

Shuttle View

We spotted a faint rainbow over the San Rafael Reef with Bull Mountain in the shadows on the horizon.

Swell Rainbow

Here’s one last view of the Henry Mountains over the San Rafael Reef as we neared the top of The Big Ridge.

Henry Mountains View

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.

Colorful Sky

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…

Muddy Creek Launch View

My inflatable kayak ready to go.

Muddy Creek Put-In

We took off just a few minutes after 7:00am and floated our way into the Muddy Creek Wilderness.

Floating into the Muddy Creek Wilderness

It was a lovely morning for a float through the desert.

Muddy Creek View

Muddy Creek Morning

Muddy Canal


Muddy Creek View

After paddling through some fun little rapids and wide-open scenery for a couple of miles, we entered the first section of narrows.

First Narrows

Jackson admires the tall canyon walls.

Tall Canyon Walls

Stopped in an eddy at the mouth of a short slot in the canyon wall.

Small Slot Eddy

Leaving the Shadows

Leaving the Shadows

After the first section of narrows the landscape opened up again for a little bit.

Tower View

Between The Narrows

We stopped to stretch our legs shortly before entering The Chute.

Quick Stop Before The Chute

The beginning of The Chute.

Into 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!

Chute View

Taking Photos

Canyon Walls

The Chute of Muddy Creek

Floating Through The Narrows

Canyon Narrows

Golden Wall

The Chute

The glow coming off this part of the canyon wall was intense!

Canyon Glow

Down The Chute

Dark Canyon

Follow The Light

The Chute of Muddy Creek

Floating The Chute

The Chute of Muddy Creek

Canyon Stripes

Around The Bend

This was my last photo from inside The Chute before we left the narrows behind.

Leaving The Chute

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…

Out of The Chute

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!

>> Return to The Chute of Muddy Creek Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. SteveR
    SteveR June 23, 2023


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