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Nine Mile River, Utah
Report by Marc W. McCord

County Road Access to Green River confluence
~ 37 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 37 mile run on the Nine Mile River tributary from the Uintah County road bridge between US Highway 6/191 southeast of Wellington and US Highway 191 at Myton to its confluence with the Green River.

For starters, the Nine Mile River is actually closer to 50 miles long, flowing from its headwaters in the Bad Lands Cliffs of the West Tavaputs Plateau just south of Ashley National Forest in Carbon County to its confluence with the Green River at the top of Desolation Canyon south of Ouray. This run offers a slight change of scenery, with forested cliffs on river left and the high desert on river right. Limited and difficult access conspire to make the Nine Mile River a less-than-favorite destination for most boaters. The river rates a Class II to IV status because of tight bends, big boulder garden rapids, moderate and very technical drops and other potential hazards in the upper reaches, mellowing to Class I to II nearing the Green River confluence. Like the White River in Utah, this one is best when run as a compliment to Green River trips, but only by boaters with sufficient skills and boats to navigate the upper reaches where the most significant hazards are found.


Northcentral to northwest Carbon County, cutting across the far southeastern corner of Duchesne and the southwestern edge of Uintah Counties near the Green River confluence.

Distance from major cities

Salt Lake City 140 miles; Grand Junction 160 miles; Durango 330 miles; Denver 406 miles; Albuquerque 590 miles; Phoenix 743 miles; Oklahoma City 979 miles; Dallas 1,135 miles; Austin 1,245 miles; San Antonio 1,253 miles; Houston 1,431 miles; Little Rock 1,306 miles; Kansas City 1,016 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 Nine Mile 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.

Best times to go

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

Hazards to navigation

The upper reaches, from the headwaters to below the county road access from Wellington, is a Class II to IV whitewater run amid significant drops, boulder garden rapids and occasionally tree debris. Turns are tight and technical, with little margin for error. Because of limited access the Nine Mile River should only be run by canoes outfitted for whitewater and kayaks paddled by boaters with at least strong advanced level whitewater skills. The lower half of this run is a mundane Class I to II ride that is necessary because of access problems - no roads!

River Access Points

Carbon County road bridge about 20 miles off US Highway 6/191 at Wellington at 0.0 miles; Green River confluence above Desolation Canyon at about 37.0 miles. There are no other known access points along the Nine Mile River.

Campgrounds and accommodations

There are no campgrounds located along the Nine Mile River. 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.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

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

Reviewer's comments

This is a Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Jyde run just a few miles southeast of Provo. The river starts as a Class II to IV run with significant hazard potential caused by narrow channels, somewhat steep, but short, drops, boulder garden rapids, possible tree debris in the channel, limited access and other natural wonders that can pose major difficulties for boaters who venture here. The antithesis is that the Nine Mile River is not frequently boatable, and will never become a major destination for most people because of its characteristics. Intermediate or lower experience boaters will have difficulty on the upper reaches, and the lower reaches would be boring for those capable of safely navigating the upstream hazards. There are no convenient access points that allow trips to be split between the two differing natures of the river. The approximately 37 mile length is more than most kayakers want to do, especially in squirt boats. But, the river is VERY scenic, and if you are in the area running the Green River, then you might at least want to take a look and shoot some photos.

Technical Data
Class Rating I to II
Length miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in County road bridge ~20 miles from Wellington off US Hwy. 6/191
Lat. / Long.
Last Take-out Green River confluence
Lat. / Long.
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
Season Typically, April through June

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 Browns Park NWR ] [ Gates of Lodore to Split Mountain Campground ]
[ Split Mountain Campground to Ouray ] [ Ouray to IH 70 ] [ IH 70 to Colorado River ]

[ Duchesne River ] [ Upper Price River ] [ Middle Price River ] [ Lower 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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