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Price River, Utah
Report by Marc W. McCord

Lower Price River
~ 15 Miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

The Green River is a very long stream forming in the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains in Bridger Teton National Forest of Sublette County, Wyoming, then winding its way south into Utah, turning east into Colorado and finally back south down into Utah where it terminates at the confluence of the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park in San Juan County. The featured section is the approximately 60 mile run on the Price River tributary from Castle Gate in Carbon County to Woodside in Emery County about 15 miles above the Green River confluence.

Below US Highway 6/191 at Woodside the river will be described as the Lower Price River flowing to its confluence with the Green River at Gray Canyon in northeastern Emery County. This 15 mile reach is a Class II to V run, depending upon flow, that challenges most serious boaters because of significant drops in tight gorges where the river has cut its way to the confluence in the land where dinosaurs once roamed (I know a couple of boaters who are dinosaurs, or at least who are from the same era.) This very scenic run is for expert whitewater boaters in canoes or kayaks, though canoeists will need to have short boats full of airbags (other than the paddlers) and be ready to line and/or portage drops that are unrunnable for them in canoes. This is primarily a kayaker run that apaproaches the characteristics of steep creek hairboating. About 15 miles below the confluence IH 70 crosses the Green River at its namesake town, near where Green River State Park is located. Always check the USGS gauge at Woodside for flow readings before leaving for this run.


Emery County, from US Highway 6/191 at Woodside to the Green River confluence at Gray Canyon.

Distance from major cities

Salt Lake City 160 miles; Grand Junction 125 miles; Durango 295 miles; Denver 370 miles; Albuquerque 555 miles; Phoenix 708 miles; Oklahoma City 944 miles; Dallas 1,100 miles; Austin 1,210 miles; San Antonio 1,218 miles; Houston 1,340 miles; Little Rock 1,270 miles; Kansas City 971 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Water quality in the Price River is very good to excellent, flowing clean, clear and cold, but not drinkable without purification. Navigable flows are generally limited to mid-spring through early summer, and are normally low, at best. High flows occur only when the river is in or near flood stage, at which times it is a dangerous stream that should not be boated.

Best times to go

April through June is the prime season for running this section of the Price River. It flows from Scofiled Reservoir, and after significant rainfall, or from snowmelt in the higher elevations above the river.

Hazards to navigation

This 60-mile run has numerous hazards in the Class III to V range that can and will injure or kill boaters and/or destroy boats and gear if run improperly. First, the run is in a very remote high desert canyon heading for another remote, high desert canyon, so rescue by outside assistance is very difficult, if possible at all. Second, some of the drops will occasionally be clogged by dead-fall debris, boulder slides, rock ledges with sharp edges and other natural hazards that raise the difficulty of drops that would normally be considered a level or two lower based on size and characteristics of the drop. Access is very limited, especially in areas where larger drops occur, so careful scouting, then running or portaging safely is mandatory. Most of the run is long, flatwater pools, so you will not be constantly scouting and dropping. Cold water, and sometimes cool to cold air temperatures, make wearing water-repelling garments including wetsuits or drysuits with a base layer practical to prevent hypothermia. Remoteness should be considered a hazard factor. LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

River Access Points

US Highway 6/191 crossing at Woodside at 0.0 miles; Green River confluence at about 15.0 miles. There are no other access points for this reach of the Price River.

Campgrounds and accommodations

Price Canyon State Recreation Area, just to the west of the headwaters off US Highway 6/191 near Helper, offers excellent campground facilities with amenities including drinking water and restrooms, and is the only campground located along the Price River. Abundant natural campsites can be found all along this reach.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no outfitters located along the Price River in Utah. Plan on bringing everything you need and running your own shuttles.

Reviewer's comments

The Price River is a high desert canyon run of immense natural beauty where the river has cut a deep gorge through native sandstone over many millions of years. The canyons of the East and West Tavaputs Plateau are magnificent formations that change color depending upon the direction of sunlight and shadows cast upon the canyon walls. This run of 15 miles (30 miles, if you continue to IH 70 at the Town of Green River) is a challenging whitewater reach with Class II to V drops that offer plenty of places to find trouble. While it is technically runnable in short canoes paddled by highly advanced to expert level whitewater boaters, it is best left to the hairboat kayaker crowd who thrive on facing death and then diving into it head first. While there is plenty of flatwater to traverse, this run breaks the monotony by making a boater stop and think about what he or she plans to do next. The awesome scenery is equally matched by the technical difficulty of this run, and paddlers need to be prepared for what they are likely to face whenever they get lucky enough to catch the Lower Price River with enough water for boating.

Technical Data
Class Rating II to V
Length 15.0 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in US Hwy. 6/191 at Woodside
Lat. / Long. 39.2636986 / -110.3417969
Last Take-out Green River conflfuence
Lat. / Long. 39.1794014 / -110.1055984
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge Web: Woodside
Boats Canoes, Kayaks
Season Typically, April through June
Permits No

Canoeman River Guide Service - Guided river trips in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Utah Whitewater Club - Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting

Lone Star Paddler - the paddlesports web site of Marc W. McCord

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Green River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

Green River
[ Green River Homepage ] [ Flaming Gorge Dam to Brown's Park NWR ] [ Gates of Lodore Canyon to Split Mountain Campground ]
[ Split Mountain Campground to Ouray ] [ Ouray to IH 70 ] [ IH 70 to Colorado River ]

[ Duchesne River ] [ Nine Mile River ] [ Upper Price River ] [ Middle Price River ]
[ Upper San Rafael River ] [ Lower San Rafael River ] [ Uintah River ] [ White River ]

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Last updated September 14, 2014

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