How deep, Green River, UT

I'm joining some of those wacky, flatwater, paddling friends for a trip on the Green River in mid-May. The flat part, the last 100 miles before the confluence with the Colorado, in May?

Is it worth lugging a pole out there for that trip? If the water is consistently five-plus feet deep, the answer is no. I'm thinking it is not worth it, but if it is a shallowish river I'll be sad to not have a pole. Any side tribs to be explored? Any idea how to pack a pole on the plane?


The green river is deep and muddy. It is definitely a trip for a paddle. It is a great trip though, there is neat hiking, not really any side rivers.

Haven’t done the Green yet, but on the
San Juan, and on Dolores’ Slickrock Canyon, there were only certain places where a pole was usable. As Eric said, poles sink in sand, and in mud bars.

We were led on the San Juan by Mike and Larry, a couple of very experienced Maine Guides. They carried poles, and they used them with some effectiveness in shallower, gravelly places. But there weren’t a lot of such places. They did amuse us by running Government Rapid standing up, holding their poles for balance.

I ran it just before peak runoff in May/
June. 11-17k cfs. Your pole will be an amusing space eater. You can use the USGS site to analyze typical May runoff flows.


Thanks, and speaking of muddy water
Questions settled, the pole stays home. I know the Green is in a canyon, but didn’t know if there might be side canyons. Sounds like a no, and if it is an arid area, why would there be?

The guy putting our trip together says pack water for the whole trip. I understand there is a lot of silt suspended in the water, and thought if it sat in a bucket overnight it would be filterable. Any experience trying to filter from the Green? Do I need to go out and get some water bags?


Take your water.
The Green River is what they call, “Too thick to drink and too thin to plow.”

We kayaked it several years ago in March and we got stuck in a lot in sandbars because it was VERY windy and you couldn’t see the riffles that usually mark the sandbars.

Even letting the water sit overnight it would still be silty enough to clog a water filter.

We filtered it every day. Bring a bucket
to let it sit overnight. It will be clear enough in the morning on top to filter. I’ve run the Green for a week and the GC using that method and it works fine. Water tastes like shit, but that’s what gatorade is for.


Side canyons
A bit off the main topic, but arid areas can have side canyons (for your future planning). Sometimes they shrink or even completely dry up for a while.

leave it home
the green is plenty deep enough but why not be the first to pole the whole thing? We need new “firsts” dont we.

I’ll on that section of the green in two days!!! yippie!!

Instant Tributaries
Actually the green has many side canyons that can flood during heavy rains. Some years are pretty rainy in late May so pay attention and don’t camp on sand bars at canyon mouths.

Don’t drink the water it sucks even when filtered.

And from an old Mormon Folk Song about fighting in the Indian War in the Canyon in 1860s…

Our tea is filled with sand and our mouths are full of grit

The wind blows all over us whenever it sees fit

You may talk about your muddy men

but you see we win the prize

for we are sanded on the insides and all around the eyes…

Probably the etymology of the term
"true grit"

Filtering silt
This is a trip I’ve been planning in my mind for years, and still have yet to get there. I have found lots of good info online:

Tex’s Riverways is one of the outfitters you can use, and they have good tips on drinking water:

You can also use alum to settle the water, then filtering it for cooking & drinking.

This should help:

On a trip a few years ago with a couple of engineers, we tried using alum and filtering the water. About the best I can say was that it was OK for washing dishes.

I think it’s a lot easier just to carry the water you need. After all, it’s all downriver and, given the spetacular scenery, there’s no reason to be in a hurry.