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Discussion Starter #1
We have time, not the money so my crew and I plan to run shuttle the night before for our 4 day San Juan run. However, I just learned that camping is either not allowed or not recommended at the Mexican Hat launch. We will be doing Mexican Hat to Clay Hills in 4 days, which means an average of 14 miles per day on low water. Running a 4 hour shuttle and launching for a slow and low 14 mile day doesn’t sound fun. Can anyone shed some light on why it isn’t recommended to be at Mexican Hat with the boats the night before? Any recommendations on private parking in Mexican hat are also appreciated! Thank you!
 

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When I called the ranger station last year camping was permitted but not recommend at the ramp. After some digging I found out that area can be used for some hard partying. One account I heard everything was quiet then suddenly at 10pm people showed up and went nuts. I stayed there one night 4 years ago and everything was quiet and fine. I definitely wouldn't leave your boats unattended there. Perhaps stating and launching from the hotel by the bridge would be better?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I called the ranger station last year camping was permitted but not recommend at the ramp. After some digging I found out that area can be used for some hard partying. One account I heard everything was quiet then suddenly at 10pm people showed up and went nuts. I stayed there one night 4 years ago and everything was quiet and fine. I definitely wouldn't leave your boats unattended there. Perhaps stating and launching from the hotel by the bridge would be better?
Im hoping since we launch on a Wednesday, that everything will be quiet and fine, but I’ll warn my crew of the possible situation. I never leave my boat, but I also need my truck and trailer at the take out. I didn’t expect the launching logistics here to be “weird”. I’ll be launching at Sand Island again in the future. Thanks for your response!
 

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You're welcome.

Are you launching this upcoming Wednesday?

I'm always concerned about things being extra rowdy on the rez right after checks have been cut for the month.
 

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Hi there, Here's my 2 cents. I've use this company before and they were reliable. It was $200 per vehical and we split it 4 ways. https://www.riversandruins.com/shuttles I haven't camped at Mex hat, only Sand island but it looks totally feasible. I took out there on Tuesday. There is a campsite near the Hat on the river. Look at your river guide book and see the Mexican Hat campsite. The described one in the book is on the Navajo side but there's another on the Mex Hat side and you can see the bumpy road deliniated. If your getting in late I'd grab a meal and beer at the hotel restaurant just as you cross the bridge and camp at the launch site.

https://www.riversandruins.com/shuttles
 

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Goosenecks always worked for me and is shorter commute than Valley of Gods. Did not check the website to see if overnight camping is prohibited or is back to being normal.

I've experienced more lost sleep to drunks at at the Goosenecks and Sand Island than at Mexican Hat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
some of the best camping (views) in the world is free and right there off the highway,
Valley of the Gods
I’ve heard, and look forward to checking it out sometime. If I hire a shuttle to avoid staying at Mexican Hat then that is where I’ll stay.
 

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Hi there, Here's my 2 cents. I've use this company before and they were reliable. It was $200 per vehical and we split it 4 ways. https://www.riversandruins.com/shuttles I haven't camped at Mex hat, only Sand island but it looks totally feasible. I took out there on Tuesday. There is a campsite near the Hat on the river. Look at your river guide book and see the Mexican Hat campsite. The described one in the book is on the Navajo side but there's another on the Mex Hat side and you can see the bumpy road deliniated. If your getting in late I'd grab a meal and beer at the hotel restaurant just as you cross the bridge and camp at the launch site.

https://www.riversandruins.com/shuttles
Great info, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Goosenecks always worked for me and is shorter commute than Valley of Gods. Did not check the website to see if overnight camping is prohibited or is back to being normal.

I've experienced more lost sleep to drunks at at the Goosenecks and Sand Island than at Mexican Hat.
Good to know, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited by Moderator)
Just to be clear, those drunk yahoos have been known to bust up cars and steal shit there. It’s not just noise.
Yes, I’ll stay with my boat for the night, and leave the shuttle cars at the local businesses (for a fee) if that’s what we decide to do. The ranger that I talked to today, said there is no room to park a car long term anyway. Thank you!
 

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I would NEVER put in at Mexican hat the night before again! Thankfully local law enforcement was patrolling it every hour of the night. There were drunk and rowdy folks all night. We were up all night in fear.

Recently there was a local roaming about with an Sporting rifle (some call it an assault rifle). He even shot at law enforcement at a later location

I’ve camped at the goosenecks and that worked great. I also thought about staying at a hotel in Mexican hat.

Seriously, Put in the same day you go down the river
 

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Yes, I’ll stay with my boat for the night, and leave the shuttle cars at the local businesses (for a fee) if that’s what we decide to do. The ranger that I talked to today, said there is no room to park a car long term anyway. Thank you!
As you are probably aware, the COVID-19 situation on the Navajo Nation is dire. It's as bad as anywhere in the country. Putting aside the racist tropes repeated above, I'd nevertheless suspect that spending the night at the boat launch in Mexican Hat could be even more unpredictable than usual right now. I wouldn't recommend it.
 

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One night we camped at Buckman Crossing on the Rio Grande near Santa Fe for a White Rock Canyon trip. Kokopelli ran our shuttle so we had no way out. Locals starting spinning donuts around our campsite at like 1am shooting guns in the air. We got out yelled "yea hah", cracked some beers and I think someone flashed some tits. They smiled and waved and left. Not every access point is ideal. You do what you have to do to go boating.
 

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I have camped at Mexican Hat boat ramp more than a dozen times without major issues. I’ve rarely left my boat or vehicle unattended. I have witnessed people doing donuts at 2am , smoking meth in there cars , and howling at the moon. I’ve never had a confrontation at the ramp with anyone that wasn’t a boater. I also always bring a firearm. You can park at Vals. Hope that helps
 
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