Though a permit is required, the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River is some of the most scenic and fun stretches of flat water that you can find and is an ideal place to enjoy a day on the river. From Loma, Colorado to Westwater, Utah, the Ruby-Horsethief stretch runs for roughly 25 miles. It is mostly flat water with a fun mix of Class I and Class II rapids – just enough to make it a tough stretch for inexperienced canoeist. There are also a multitude of day hikes that you can enjoy off of the river (see the river-maps interactive map for locations, distance and elevation gains).
During your Ruby-Horsethief float, be aware that motor crafts are allowed in the canyon and you can expect to be amongst them. There are 35 campsites that all require permits and can be found on our interactive map – we have also included links that will take you to the BLM sites to reserve your location. If you go during spring, and if you have never experienced a spring in the Colorado/utah desert, you are in for a treat. Snow, scorching heat, cool nights, cool days, cold rain, high wind, light wind… you name it, you will probably experience it so bring proper attire.
As with any great western float trip, on the Ruby-Horsethief stretch of river you will be surrounded by plenty of wildlife. Bighorn Sheep, Falcons, Deer, and Bald Eagles are just a few of the species that you will hopefully see during your float. Just remember, and we actually hate that we have to mention this, but remember that humans are not permitted within a 1/2 mile of an eagle’s nest and please don’t be that group that harasses the birds or other animals. The Wildlife officials will gladly fine you and you will be known as a bunch of D’bags amongst other river goers… Pack out your trash, don’t bring glass on the river and leave the animals alone…
Just like with any other activity in the wilderness areas of Colorado and Utah, you should not expect to have cell phone service. We here at river maps are creating many printable mapping options and we offer custom mapping services for your trip for a small fee. With Ruby-Horsethief, once you set off down river, you are committed to floating all the way to Westwater – there are no other take outs. This also creates a difficult scenario for rescue needs so be cautious while on the river.