Green River, Utah

-- Last Updated: Jul-02-09 10:56 PM EST --

Anyone paddling or floating the Green or Colorado this summer?

I just received my permit for Ruby Ranch to Spanish Bottom (Confluence of the Green and Colorado). I leave next week for 8 days of solo solitude in my new used Craig’s List canoe. I used my sea kayak last summer for a short trip down and back up part of the Colorado near Moab, but think a canoe is perfect for this kind of flat water on the Green.

Anyone done this stretch? Can you recommend campsites and must-see side canyons?


Take lots of water. Not too popular this time of year due to the 100 degree heat…so make sure you have plenty of water and your swim trunks.

I did this section from the town of GR to the confluence a couple months ago. Its a great trip. Ive done it before as well and there is my trip post on this section here at Pnet in the placces2paddle section. I think i did it back in 2001.

Campsites are everywhere. Not sure how long you have but…the longer the better. Trin Alcove is a great camp and good side hike. Some indian rock are panels at the mouth of the canyon.

There are PLENTY of sand bars and island camps so dont worry. Make sure you look for the 1836 (?) Denis julian Inscriptions on the rocks. He was a jesuit missionary who passsed throu back then. Your guide books has the location of both of these.

Also the bowknot bend lookout hike is worth it. You hike high up above the river where it doubles back on itself. There is a camp right there at the trail head too. A quick 20 minutes to the top for great views.

Ive camped too at the Anderson Bottom area which is an old river channel. SOme old historic buildings and sites there too. A good hike around the dried up loop.

Just below anderson are about 20 anasazi indian ruins. High on the rocks. TURKS head is a must hike. SOme good ruins and the LARGEST flint napping site in probably all of the american west. You will be blown away if you climb up to the top towards the head. Acres and acres of chert and napping sites. You can distinctly see the circular work areas with the different sizes of rocks from the workers. It will be very hot up there so take plenty of water.

Hope this helps


hey N,

That helps alot - thanks! I have 8 days on the water - the most time away I can manage. Your tips are helpful for both the fun of exploration and my interest in photography… Last year my brother and I hiked into the Green from the mesa above and along the shore and up into and out of Trin Alcove. It was very beautiful, but all I could think of was being in the water, floating with the current… =0)


Graffiti + 150 years = inscription

“Make sure you look for the 1836 (?) Denis julian Inscriptions on the rocks. He was a jesuit missionary who passsed throu back then.”

Rangers I met in Canyonlands NP made comments indicating Michael Kelsey’s guide might be flawed. I paid a pretty penny for a copy of his guide based on the recommendation of another p-netter. Kelsey writes two paragraphs on Julien, reproduced below. I have also read about him from other sources, indicating he was a trapper, and that seems consistent with Kelsey. This post is the first I have read he was a Jesuit.

From Kelsey’s Guide to CNP & Vicinity:

“…Records at a cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri, indicate he had an Indian wife named Catherine, and three children…Denis became an American Citizen in 1805, and had a lincese to trap in Missouri in 1816 and 1817.

In 1825, he got into a scrap at Ft. Atkinson on the Missouri River and shot and wounded a man,…In the late 1820’s he is thought to have been in New Mexico, then in 1828, his name pops up in association with the Reed Trading Post at the junction of the Uintah and Whiterocks Rivers in the Uinata Basin northeast of present day Roosevelt. …he was apparently a partner…Near the trading post is an inscription by Julien dated 1831. This is the first of 8 known etchings Julien made in eastern Utah. He left another 5 along the Green River, 2 along the Colorado River, and one inside Arches N.P. This last one in Arches is dated June 9 1844 when he must have been 70 years of age. Researchers have never been able to track him down from there, so the speculation continues. His only real claim to fame was his habit of carving his name into sandstone walls.”

So, if you believe that, Julien was a rather ordinary character of the western frontier, and no Jesuit. Today, we call what he did inscriptions, but if any of us where to do the same thing, it would be called graffiti and defacement.


Fort Bottom
I paddled the Green in May with a lot more water than you are likely to have.

Our group of 8 ranked the site at Fort Bottom as our favorite camp. It is on river right after you go around the bend at Fort Bottom, at the tip of an island in the river (there may be more islands when you go, so that may not be definitive).

A mile or two above the site at Fort Bottom, hiking to the stone, Indian structure on the butte, and then about a mile of the white rim trail afforded sensational viewpoints and I regard those as must-see.

We spent a day hiking Water Canyon, which is only a few miles above the confluence. That was jaw-dropping for an easterner such as me.

I paddled into a canyon on river left about halfway around Turks Head. There was enough water to paddle back in there a half mile, and beyond that a narrow arroyo winds back further than I had time to walk. I would have loved to camp there, but the rest of the group had passed by and there was no bringing them back. You may not have enough water to paddle into that canyon.

In May it was hot, and there is very little shade to be found. If you are going to be spending much of a day anywhere, I think it worth your while to string a tarp for some shade.

Good luck with your trip.



– Last Updated: Jul-08-09 9:01 AM EST –

hey Paddletothesea and Chip - thanks for the tips... I'll add notes to my map. I’ve got a wide brimmed hat and will pick up a tarp today – you’re right, shade can be like gold. I also heard D. Julien was a trapper and will be looking for his inscriptions. I've been reading Stegner’s Beyond the 100th Meridian as inspirational prep for this trip - It's a great read for anyone who is interested in the opening of the West by way of western river systems.

I leave tomorrow morning for Moab (6 hours from Boulder) and will camp along the Colorado near Moab until Saturday morning when I meet my shuttle for the put in... I can hardly wait! I'll post a report here and a more extensive photo report on RiverTrekker when I get back.


trip report update
All I have to say is this was an amazing trip! The above advice was right on, plus, one could float this stretch a number of times and never run out of places to explore.

Due to the mosquitoes associated with the side-canyons and willows, I sought out riverside camps and was rewarded with plenty to see, photograph and explore without the biting bugs. Apparently a party abandoned the river at Mineral Bottom due to the mosquitoes. I can only attribute this to their attempt to camp at side-canyon sandbars and the associated willows where the mosquitoes were unbearable. Everywhere else there where few biting bugs, and when I say ‘everywhere else’ I mean great places to explore and set camp…

Here is a photo essay about my float trip on the Green:

There are a few details that make the logistics flow, but otherwise I definitely recommend this section of the Green to all of you flat water paddlers out there…

Happy paddling,


Great pictures as usual Greg! The green is an amazing float! One of my Favorites. Love your toilet. Going to make one soon.

Fantastic report
I really enjoyed your trip report. How did you warm up your coffee and polenta if you did not take a stove? How cool was it that your brother joined you for part of the trip!


It’s hard not to like that trip
Glad you had a good trip. Nice report (and site).

I thought I recognized a rock ledge next to the canoe in your pictures as belong to the campsite at Fort Bottom. If so, you can compare with this shot to see the relative water level.


Nice photo Chip! Yeah, my camp was close but a little further down river (river right across from Potato Bottom. Nice rock ledge for the canoe then a short trail to a mesa and grand campsite above. Did you check out the old cabin at Fort Bottom?

As for coffee and food I ate and drank it cold… Since I was alone I did not mind, but otherwise I usually bring a stove and like the ritual of cooking hot meals and having hot coffee.

On this trip at times it was still above 90 degrees after 8 p.m. so hot food wasn’t that appealing. In typical desert fashion it was over 100 degrees during the hot part of the day, but mornings were as low as 63 degrees – very nice…

And yeah, the toilet worked great and easy to stow in the canoe. Remember to use it only to store the used wag bags (my brother at first thought he had to hit a bull’s-eye directly into the 4” diameter tube!)

In all, I can’t wait to go back – there’s so much you pass by that’s worth exploring. I think a fall trip is in order…


Walker House? Yes! Ruins, too.

Yes, I toured the cabin which seems to be known as either Walker House or outlaw cabin. Also, followed the trail up the nearby butte to the Indian ruins and impressive views.

I also did a photo-TR. The ledge picture is in there, as are pictures of the cabin and the Indian ruins. They start around twenty pictures in.

I missed all the ruins around Anderson Bottom. Like you say, it’s hard to see it all. You will be lucky if you get to go back. That trip should probably be looked at as a two-week, hiking trip, with interludes of paddling, rather than just a straight river trip.


hey Chip - that’s a great photo/trip report - thanks! Looks like the water was pretty high…

I’ve started rendering some video of my solo trip. Here’s one with no dialogue, just the sounds of the river:

The silence was profound at times and when I’d take video with narration I’d find myself whispering as if not to disturb the silence… I guess one get a little weird on a solo trip! =0)

Next, I’ll make a video trip report with my camps, hikes, dialogue and the other boaters that were on the river… Stay tuned,


That captures the Green!!! Wow!!! I love the sun spot shot on Bow Knot Bend!!! Thanks Greg!!

hey ya’ll,

While I definately have a lot to learn about editing video, I did manage to put together another video, this time with my monologue and other interesting scenes. I know this trip deserves several 10 minute videos on youtube to cover it in more detail, but I just didn’t have the patience to do that. Also, some detail is best left to be discovered by others on their own float trip. =0)

So here’s another video trip report:

I hope you enjoy it…


Nicely done
That’s a nice piece of videography. I liked the time lapsed swim sequence. Heck, I liked the whole thing. I’m sure it took some effort to put that together.

How were you holding the camera and paddling at the same time?


What camera are you using for the video?

thanks! well… when I was taking video I was not paddling - the current of the river was moving me along. when I looked at the video I liked the that in some places it looked the the water was not moving, but the canoe was still moving downstream. The current was between two and four miles per hour.

my video camera is a Sony TRV900. I really like it, but on this trip, as I discovered when I replayed the video, there was an audio problem on most of the tapes - an obvious and annoying crackling sound that obscured the natural sounds. I’ve learned it’s possible with these cameras a problem with the microphone wires can develop. hopefully it’s fixable…

Next trip - hopefully this fall: Potash to the Confluence on the Colorado… woohoo!