National Conservation Lands: Utah: Green River
Green River Wild and Scenic River Segments
Public Law 116-9, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act designated a 63 mile stretch of the Green River in the following segments:
Wild River Segment - the 5.3-mile segment from the boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, south to the Nefertiti boat ramp, as a wild river
Recreational River Segment - the 8.5-mile segment from the Nefertiti boat ramp, south to the Swasey’s boat ramp, as a recreational river
Scenic River Segment- Labyrinth Canyon, the 49.2-mile segment from Bull Bottom, south to the county line between Emery and Wayne counties, as a scenic river
One of Utah’s premier multi-day river trips, this float serves up a variety of experiences, scenery, rapids, and geologic and cultural interests to delight river runners, from strong beginners to seasoned veterans. In 1869, John Wesley Powell led an expedition through Desolation Canyon to chart these unknown wilds, an area still considered to be one of the most remote places in the Lower 48. At its deepest point, this canyon rises 5,000 feet from the river to the unseen Tavaputs Plateau overhead. Desert bighorn sheep, elk, deer, black bear, mountain lions, and many other species call this canyon home. Prehistoric evidence abounds throughout the run, ancient Fremont petroglyphs and pictographs are found within short hiking distance from the river's edge.
For most river runners, the average time to complete this 84 mile journey, from the put-in at Sand Wash to the take-out at Swasey's Boat Ramp, is six days. However, it can be done a few days more quickly, or increased to nine or more days for boaters who want to experience all this run has to offer.
During the first 26 miles of the run, be prepared to relax and enjoy the serenity and scenery of the flat water stretch, typified by wide-open skies and surrounded by desert canyon country and towering cliffs. It is during this part of the journey, you’ll be glad you brought along your insect repellent. From late May through July, the mosquitoes can be absolutely ravenous. Then, for the following 58 miles, the canyon walls constrict, insects become much less of a problem, and the rapids come at the pace of one or more a mile. In all, there are approximately 60 named class II and III rapids. The most significant of which, Joe Hutch Rapid, can elevate to a difficult class IV or V- during high water.
Beautiful beaches and camps beneath groves of cottonwood trees abound. The east-side of the river is off-limits except for those who have obtained a permit from the Ute Indian Tribe, as the land there is part of the Ute Indian Reservation. There are many guides and outfitters who offer river trips through Desolation Canyon. Those interested in running Desolation privately can find more information on permits here: https://www.recreation.gov/
For more information please visit: https://www.blm.gov/programs/
Green River Daily
This 8.5-mile section of the Green River begins at Nefertiti Access Point, flows through Gray Canyon, and concludes at Swasey's Boat Ramp. Fantastic desert canyon country scenery surrounds the entire float. This is a family friendly float with fun class I and II rapids to splash though. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, which roam the surrounding cliffs. A short hike from the river's edge leads to ancient petroglyphs, evidence of the area's prehistoric residents. This river segment does not require a permit.
This is one of the longest smooth water portions of the Green River, and is 68 miles from Green River State Park, or 45 miles from Ruby Ranch down to the take out at Mineral Bottom and on average take three days to complete. This family friendly trip offers incredible views of massive sandstone walls which rise hundreds of feet on both sides of the river. For more information, or to obtain a free permit for this please visit: https://www.blm.gov/visit/labyrinth-canyon-river