Running your own vehicle shuttle

As a long and remote backcountry trip, river shuttles on Labyrinth Canyon aren’t as simple as hitchhiking a few miles back upstream.

Still, due to some happy happenstances of geology, the shuttle isn’t overly onerous.

If you have multiple vehicles and some time on your hands, you can easily organize a private shuttle. However, it’s often more convenient to use one of the commercial shuttle services out of Green River or Moab. We’ll cover running your own shuttle here.

Ruby River put-ins

The Ruby Ranch put-in requires about 3 hours, including dropping vehicles at the Mineral Bottom take-out. Expect longer if you are also arranging your gear swap.

If you are putting in at Ruby Ranch, and depending on where you group is converging from, plan to meet in either Moab, Green River, Grand Junction, or some location around there.

There is for-fee camping up the Colorado River on UT-128 but it is often very busy and full. Moab also has a full range of for-fee campgrounds, RV parks, and hotels. The surrounding area also has lots of BLM land where creative individuals not requiring services can find excellent car camping. You can do your shuttle gear swap at your meeting point or along the way to the take-out.

To get to the take-out at Mineral Bottom:

Drive north out of Moab on UT-191
After 11.0 miles, turn left on UT-313 towards Canyonlands National Park
After 12.3 miles, turn right onto BLM 129/Mineral Canyon Rd
Stay on Mineral Canyon Road for 16.0 miles

You will come to a very obvious horizon where the road seemingly drops off the edge of a cliff, which is essentially what it does. There is a parking lot at the top of the mesa which is could place to swap all your gear to your vehicle(s) which will be traveling to the put-in.

Once you have finished your gear swap, take your shuttle vehicles down the rest of the Mineral Bottom road. It’s spectacular. The road often washes away in heavy rains and has been closed for extended periods of time. Be on the lookout for the wrecked car that drove off the road. But do keep your eyes on the road. At the bottom, turn right and continue about 1.0 mile up river to the Mineral Bottom take out and parking area.

From the take out at Mineral Bottom, you will need to drive back to UT-191 and head north. See the maps above for how to get to Ruby Ranch. Do note that Ruby Ranch is private property — there is currently a $10/vehicle per day fee for leaving a vehicle at the ranch. There is a small campground there with porta-potties and some picnic tables but no running water.

Driving time:
Moab to Mineral Bottom: 1 hour, plus additional time for gear swap
Mineral Bottom to Ruby Ranch: 2 hours

Green River State Park put-ins

You can also put-in 20 miles upstream at Green River State Park in the town of Green River. This is a much less popular option, in part because this section of river is through rolling range lands scattered with farm implements. The solitude of the section is broken by occasional road access. Much of the land is private on both sides of the river leaving few good camping options.

Still, this is good section to float if you want to extend your trip. Read more about the Green River State Park put-in option.

A shuttle from Moab takes only 2.5 hours — including dropping off a vehicle at the Mineral Bottom take-out, in part because a chunk of the driving is on I-70. See the Google Map below for directions to the put-in. For-fee camping is available. During peak seasons, it may be very busy.