How to Kayak in the Green River in Utah

How to Kayak in the Green River in Utah
The Green River cuts and winds its way through red rock canyons with eroded rock formations through much of southeastern Utah. The river's headwaters are in Wyoming, with the river flowing through parts of Colorado on its way down to Utah.

Water levels fluctuate on the river, with rapids between class I to Class III between April and October. When kayaking the Utah sections, take some precautions and make the needed arrangements to enjoy this timeless waterway.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak with spray skirt, paddles, helmet and pump
  • Wetsuit
  • Water sandals
  • Sunscreen and sun protection
  • Sunglasses with head strap
  • Maps and compass
  • BLM permits
  • Shuttle transportation
Step 1
Compare your paddling level ability to the levels of water and river sections in Utah. Plan your trip according to your ability. The Labyrinth Canyon to Stillwater is a gentle portion of the Green, with conditions rarely getting over class II rapids. Lodore and Split Mountain Canyon offer up class III rapids in the early season, around mid to late April.
Step 2
Examine maps of the Green River and the region. Study where the put-ins and take-outs are so you can arrange shuttle drop offs. If you have two cars within your party, you can drive to drop one at the haul-out point and then drive back to begin your paddling trip along the Green.

Consider the Rainbow Park Campground as a put-in with Split Mountain as a take-out, where you can find both parking and launches.
Step 3
Check the water volume and flow levels prior to departing for your trip. This information is found at the USGS website. Listen to the weather forecast. If heavy rains are predicted, stay off the water.

Soil in red rock country does not absorb moisture at the rate it falls, leading to flash floods, which are dangerous to kayakers.

Look for water flow rates between 10,000 to 20,000 CFS. A high-flow rate is between 40,000 to 50,000 CFS. Plan according to your ability.
Step 4
Leave a float plan with a friend, relative or with the ranger office in Moab. The plan should include your put-in location, take-out location, planned duration of the trip, how many are in your kayak party and a list of phone numbers of relatives to contact in case of emergency.

Write down your license plate numbers and the make and model of vehicles left at the designated put-in and haul-outs. A BLM ranger office is in Price, Utah, and can be reached at 435-636-3622.
Step 5
Wear a wetsuit during early season, when water temperatures are cool. Late fall is another time to don the apparel, as temperatures on the water can drop, leading to hypothermia if you are not careful. Wear water sandals to prevent foot injury.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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