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 40 mile run from Split Mountain Campground to the very small town of Ouray.
Though not as popular as runs above, the approximately 40 miles from Split Mountain Campground to the Town of Ouray is an excellent Class I to II trip of 2-3 days for most boaters. On this reach the river is every bit as remote and scenic as the runs above. The river winds its way south by southwest through northcentral Uintah County with at least a half dozen access points along the way. Vernal is a few miles west of the put-in for this run, and several smaller towns are nearby, but none infringe upon the wilderness nature of this reach on the Green River. While there are no campgrounds along the run natural, primitive campsites are abundant. You will enter the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge on river left about two thirds of the way downriver, where sightings of many species of birds and animals is a common occurence. This Yampa Plateau run is high desert topography as the river approaches its confluence with the Duchesne River, on river right at Ouray, and the White River, on river left just below Ouray. This is a trip for just about anybody in any type of craft suitable for river running, providing they are prepared for about 40 miles of desert canyon paddling.
Northcentral Uintah County of far eastern Utah near Vernal, east of Provo and southeast of Salt Lake City, both of which are many miles away. Wasatch and Ashley National Forests are to the north-northwest of Vernal, and Grand Junction, Colorado is about 5-6 hours to the southeast.
Salt Lake City 185 miles; Grand Junction 300 miles; Durango 470 miles; Denver 546 miles; Albuquerque 730 miles; Phoenix 883 miles; Oklahoma City 1,119 miles; Dallas 1,275 miles; Austin 1,385 miles; San Antonio 1,393 miles; Houston 1,571 miles; Little Rock 1,446 miles; Kansas City 1,156 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)
Water quality in the Green 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.
April through June is the prime season for running this section of the Green River. Other times depend upon significant precipitation in the drainage basins of the Green and Yampa Rivers.
This section of the Green River has few real hazards in the way of rapids and drops, though any can be a problem in this canyons area if not run properly. The biggest hazards are the distance, desert temperatures during the navigable season and the general remoteness of the area, making getting medical assistance a slow, time-consuming process.
Split Mountain Campground on river left at 0.0 miles; Green River Campground on river left at about 0.5 miles; US Highway 40 bridge at Jensen at about 8.0 miles; Uintah county road off SH 45 on river left at about 14.0 miles; SH 45 bridge at about 18.0 miles; SH 88 on river right at about 38.0 miles; Duchesne River confluence near Ouray at about 40.0 miles.
There are no campgrounds along this section of the river other than Split Mountain and Green River Campgrounds located at the start of this run, both offering excellent campsites, drinking water, restrooms and other amenities. Natural campsites are abundant all along this canyon run, but be sure to leave no trace of your having been there. Help keep the Green River pristine and attractive for others who venture here.
There are no outfitters located along this section of the river. Plan on bringing everything you need and running your own shuttles.
The canyons of Utah always make a grand place to paddle a boat. The Green River flows in a winding path through canyons along most of its run, and this section is no exception. The area is a remote wilderness far from civilization and major roads, though several state highways and county roads allow good access. This is a high desert run through the Yampa Plateau, and paddlers should carry everything they need including food, plenty of drinking water, a good First Aid kit and sleeping gear. You will not see many people on this reach, and almost anybody who is there will be an experienced wilderness paddler/camper. River-related services are not available, so be sure to come prepared, and remember that days may be warm to hot, but nights can be downright cool to cold, so bring proper attire for whatever weather and climate conditions you may encounter. Shuttle runs are very long and time-consuming, so build in an extra half day at the beginning and end of your trip. Be sure to pack the camera, because the canyons of the Green River offer majestic photo opportunities.