The rapids of the Green River are small compared to the big rapids of the lower Green and Colorado River. They are just big enough to cause concern to first timers on the river and to beginning oarsmen. They can also change quite a bit from low water to high water, so it is always a smart idea to know what the water flow level is at all times.
Following we have a short synopsis about each rapid on the 3 sections of river we operate on. In reading this you may note a tendency to stay to the right on most of the rapids. If there is any question beach your boat above each rapid and take a look for yourself.
Anticipation Rapids (1 1/2 mile down)
A very easy rapid to get you started. Either high water or low it doesn’t change much. It is a straight chute right down the middle with rollers in it. The only rock to watch is on the right at the bottom of the chute but the flow of the rapid does not push your boat at it so there is little chance of knocking the rock unless you are literally not paying attention.
Little Steamboat Rapids (1 3/4 miles down)
A bit more formidable to negotiate, but if you’re observant it too is not taxing. There are no significant waves, simply a few rocks you must be wary of. By far the easy route is the right. Left passage requires skillful rowing to get thru it. The main obstruction is a very large rock right in the middle of an already narrow chute. The large rock is named “Little Steamboat” after the famous Steamboat Rock on the Green down in Dinosaur at the end of Canyon of Ladore. Again, this is not a difficult rapid, but it is one that has sunk may boats and even drowned a few people. All because they most likely were not watching where their boat was drifting and was swept under the large Steamboat. It is a very simple maneuver to row your boat to the right of the rock and drift on by.
Bridge Rapids (2 1/4 miles down)
like the previous two it is a short rapid. This one has a drop of about 4 feet. On the extreme right there is a tongue of water that spills down. You must position your boat to the tongue and let it sweep you down and through. It is easier than it looks. There are rocks on the left of the chute and also to the shore plus a more substantial rock on the right, but that is the only way down it. At high water one can go anywhere over the drop but your boat will do some bucking, and if taken center you will surely eat some waves.
Roller coaster Rapids (2 3/4 miles down)
Just over two miles down from the boat ramp at the Dam, this is the largest so far. It also is fairly narrow and has rocks coming out on both sides that need to be watched. There are several fun waves but still not big as some rapids go. Definitely not a rapid to worry about. This rapid is approached right down the center and stay in the center all the way. Again there is a smooth tongue that you will let your boat drift and it will take you right where you want to be all the way through. It is a good idea to keep your oars going at all time with short strokes always against the current to keep your boat under control. At the end of the tongue you will hit the first wave, just keep the boat straight. Near the end of the rapid you will hit a series of roller coaster waves. This is a fun rapid that does not require much maneuvering skill, so have fun.
Secret Riffle (3 miles down)
This starts right at the 3 mile marker at the bottom of Lake Bonneville, which is sometimes called the”turn-around hole”. Not really a rapid but a riffle that is quite shallow at low water. Until the flow gets over 1200 there is a line of rocks at the bottom that will need some negotiating to get through. The easiest path is on the far left. You can get through anywhere but be ready to do some rowing and dodging. There will be quite a few people wade fishing this riffle so be respectful of their water. You can row anywhere and it is a wider riffle than most.
Diving Board Rapids (3 3/4 miles down)
There are a fair number of rocks interspersed down this rapid but again with a bit of maneuvering it should not be hard. The easiest start is middle left and stay near the center, about half way down there is a wide underwater rock that is a good spot to start rowing behind it to get away from a prominent rock below in the center of the river. To the right of that prominent rock is a ledge that is to shallow in low water and your boat will bang a few there for sure. It is recommended to stay to the left side and you will ride the rapid out fairly easy. This rapid is the first so far that is on a bend in the river. It takes a right hand turn.
Skinny Dip Rapids (4 miles down)
Long as the Green’s rapids go. It is straight and medium wide, with rocks scattered throughout. Start down the middle, split some prominent boulders then gradually navigate left around some partially submerged rocks that are on the right side. At that point it is easier to go to the middle and pass right of some rocks coming out on the left (Be aware of many large underwater rocks right at surface level). From here down which is about half way you can actually go anywhere. There are scattered boulders on all sides that you will have to row away from. Staying in the middle will work fine, just watch all the rocks and make your decision as to which side of each rock you wish to go so to keep you safely out of trouble.
Mother-In-Law Rapids (4 1/2 miles down)
There is a sign on the right side of the river in the pool between Skinny-Dip and Mother in Law for you to recognize this rapid. It is the second rapid that is on a right hand turn in the canyon. Actually this one first curves to the left then radically back to the right against a cliff face that warrants your attention. Every year early in the season when the run-off moisture affects the rocks along the canyon wall, we have a few falling rocks off the cliff that can alter sections of the river. Such a one occurred about 1994 to Mother in Law rapid. We had a major rock-fall that changed the bottom end of this rapid and made it more difficult. Initially it is best to start into this rapid center or on the far right. Then cut to the left or stay on the rollers in the middle until nearing a prominent new boulder which is situated on the right side of center, near the bottom curve. There are two pillow rocks that is best to split then row always against the fast current sliding to the right and out a narrow gap in the rocks to the right. It use to be that one could row right down the cliff edge just being careful not to get swept into it, but the rock-fall has cut off this route and blocks the entire left side of the river at the bottom necessitating the exit on the right chute. The large rock on the right at the bottom is a boat-eater of the first magnitude. As I right this there is a canoe wrapped around it, and there will be around twenty boats and raft eaten by it this summer as there is every year.
This is not as hard as I’ve made it sound. If you keep the oars in the water and keep short controlling strokes you will be able to keep your position and be able to go where you want to.
The definition of Pillow rocks is “underwater rocks that are hitable but unseen. Unseen due to slight white water disturbance”.
Deadman Rapids (5 miles down)
Deadman is at the mile marker 5. It starts with a boulder field that is best taken right down the middle. It will require maneuvering. It is shallow so always keep your boat facing straight down stream, except while hard maneuvering around rocks. (When approaching a very shallow spot or rock never let your boat hit it on the chine or side. Always swing you boat so the front hits the obstruction. ) half way through Deadman the gradient changes and you start to move faster. There is a large boulder in the middle at the bottom to be careful of. It is the Deadman boulder. Best to go to the right of it, watch out for a small rock on the right just above the Deadman boulder. You can’’t see it but you will hit if in shallow flows if you try to pull to far right. It is actually best to just miss the deadman boulder, because of existing currents. When you wash out into the pool below the boulder there is another Rock that it is easiest to row to the left of.
Rock Garden Riffles (5 1/4 miles down)
The Rock Garden is aptly named. A true riffle about 3/4 of a mile long with many large boulders. It is quite easy to row through the entire thing but the top end is easiest center then to the right. At the bottom either right or left is good. A row of large boulders are down the middle. The Rock Garden goes right into Dripping Springs.
Dripping Springs Rapids (5/ 3/4 miles down)
At low water (800 CfS to 1000 CFS) this is the smallest rapid on the A section. At high water starting at 3000 CFS this is the largest waves on the A section. You can’t see the waves until you get into it so if you are not confident with your ability don’t go down the middle. Stay to the right. Several boats have been lost because they didn’t make it up to the crest of the wave and slid back into the bottom of the swell until a wave broke over and flooded the boat. This is a fun one at high water just be careful. At extreme high water the actual waves diminish again but watch out for waves in the pool below.
Can-of Worms Rapids (6 miles down)
This one got it’s name because the route through it is like going through a can of worms. The whole right side of this rapid in low water is to shallow, so you would be banging off rocks constantly. The left is the side to go as you approach midway and the bottom. The top you may go in from center to left but you will have to row around some good-sized rocks (Easy) . At the bottom there is a slight drop and I find it easier to slide out to the right or center right. The left side, at the bottom, is loaded with underwater and pillow rocks. Not dangerous but everybody along the river will here you coming.
Cat Walk Shoal (6 1/2 miles)
The cat-walk is a reef that angles down from Coney island on the left, down to the grassy bank on the right side of the river. It goes from bank to bank and there is only two places to sneak a boat across it without banging the bottom. The best is a small tongue of water center-left and it fades toward the left bank as you glide across the reef. Always keep your boat straight down stream when you start across the reef. The second place to try to get through is right on the left bank. At 800 CFS you will more than likely hit some rocks but you are moving very slow so it will not have any affect on your boat.
Upper Ramp Riffle (7 1/4 miles down)
This synopsis only pertains to low water from 800 cfs to 1000 cfs. This is an old road bed that stretches the entire width of the river. Just above the ramp # 1 at little hole. It is best to take this center left sliding in to the left straight towards the boat ramp. Very shallow so a straight boat is necessary. You can even walk your boat in if you wish, just don’t get caught by the wash right at the ramp that will send you down through the chute to the second boat ramp on the other side of the revetment.
Section B Devils Hole
Mann‘s Chute (1 mile below Little Hole)
A simple chute that is straight thru. A couple of large rocks on the right, but they are not any problem at all. The only time you might get near them is if you are fishing the right side and working close in. Even then they are easy to avoid. They water is deep enough at all levels so there is no problem what so ever.
Mariana Trench Riffle (1 1/4 mile below Little Hole)
This is right in front of Cottonwood camp. It is a shallow riffle that should be taken right in the middle. The right side is very shallow at low water, with numerous rocks just above the surface. Another very easy one.
Grasshopper Island Riffles (1 3/4 mile below Little Hole)
either side of the island. They are shallow but very easy to see where you want to go. At low water the left hand channel is very shallow to the left, but can be rowed on the right side of the channel. That’s at the top of the island. At the bottom of the island at low water you need to go out the right side of the riffle. On the Right channel it is easier and deeper. The only area to watch is at the bottom of the island and stay slightly to the right side against the bank.
Joe’s Hole Riffle
upper (2 miles below Little Hole)
Going into Joe’s Hole this is another chute you want to stay in the middle. There are some boulders on the left that are hittable and if you go to far to the right you can hit some.
Lower (2 1/4 mile below Little Hole)
This riffle curves near the bottom as you come out of it and it is a very shallow shelf. (Only at low water) Stay in the middle and you will not have problems, but keep your boat fairly straight to guard your chine.
Washboard Rapids (3 miles below Little Hole)
Washboard is fairly long. It begins right at Big Pine camp. There are numerous rocks you must dodge while rowing this rapid. Stay in the middle of this rapid until you have rowed it several times, then you will learn where you can negotiate the rocks. It is a great fishing riffle but requires much dodging if you are going to try fishing the edges as you float through. Near the bottom at shallow water you must move to the right to slip out the bottom. At high water you can go through anywhere but will still require some rock dodging.
Red Creek Rapids (4 miles below Little Hole)
After coming out of Washboard Rapids you move into the long lake-like pool called Pugmire Pocket. Three quarters of the way through this slow water you will spy a sign on the left side that cautions you to Red Creek Rapids. At the top of Red Creek you should pull over on the left on a gravel bar and go scout the rapid. It is the most difficult on the Green below Flaming Gorge dam and down to Canyon of Ladore.
Beginners should try this one on the left. It is a shallow very rocky channel but it will not endanger your boat. Although you will probably hit some rocks your boat will still slide over them. At low water it is suggested that one person row the boat through so that it will be lighter. If you are an experienced boatman you could row the right channel. It is much harder and faster, and there is a much better chance of losing a boat. At the start there is a drop that tries to take your boat straight into the cliff. You can follow that but keep your boat from hitting the cliff by rowing hard backwards. There are three big sleeper rocks right in the middle of the chute you must stay off of or they will spin your boat. Actually I like to cut left right at the drop and slide left of the Sleeper rocks. At the bottom of this chute there are a series of boulders we call the Dragon’s Tooth that are dangerously close together and needs some fine rowing to sneak through. You can go right against the cliff, there is room or you can slide out a slot on the far left and end up in the left channel of the rapid. After 100 feet the channels come back together and from that point collect your partners (on the left shore) and ride out the rest of the rapid together. From that point work your way across the rapid to the right at a cliff face and ride the next portion of the rapid along that right side. You will have to negotiate quite a few rocks, however the rapid is not moving fast so you will be able to do it fairly easy. When nearing the bottom there is a reef across the river, take it right in the middle sliding back to the left side of the river. The current naturally takes you over there. From the reef there is a chute about 100 feet long but only one rock in the middle to be careful of and that is it. (Warning) At high water always take the left channel at the top. The right side against the cliff will be a mix-master with some high sharp waves.
In Your Face Rapids (5 miles below Little Hole)
This is right after Red Creek camp. A very easy rapid with the only waves at the bottom as you slide into the pool. This is a curving rapid to the left, and should be taken right down the middle. Near the bottom there are a series of flat boulders mostly on the right side. Easily missed just watch for them.
Otta-be Rapids (5 1/2 miles below Little Hole)
a very short chute next to a small island. The only thing to watch for is a large boulder the water spills over on the right side. Stay to the left of the wave on the boulder.
Island Rapids (6 miles below Little Hole)
At low water you can take the chute on the left but mind the rocks on the left of the channel. It is very easy to go the right side of the island and go out the middle channel. You can only go the far right channel at the bottom in high water. There two islands together and three channels. Most people row the faster left chute, but the middle is the easiest.
2nd Island chute (7 miles below Little Hole)
This is almost exactly like the last rapids. It is at the bottom of a spot on the river we call long lake. There are two islands and three chutes. The one on the left is shallow going into it but then deepens and is very easy. The middle is easy. The far right is to shallow unless it is high water.
Wagon Crossing (8 miles below Little Hole)
is a reef that was man made to divert some canal water back in the late 1800′s. At low water there are two ways through the reef, the first being at the top right, easy to spot and it is a deep channel. The second is most of the way down the reef on the left of the river. It is marked by the biggest rock along the reef. It is shallower then the first but can still be negotiated at all levels of the river. The rest of the riffle is on a left hand curve and should be taken more on the right, but again watch out for some rocks sticking up near the bottom. These rock aren’t prominent but hittable.
Jungle trail Riffle (8 1/2 miles below Little Hole)
The last riffle before Indian Crossing. At the bottom of a series of islands you get a fast chute of water. There is nothing to hit until the bottom of the island where a large reef is on the entire left side of the river. At the bottom hug the island on the right and follow it’s curve to the right then back left minding a rock on the right of the river at the bottom. When you come out of this riffle Indian Crossing is in sight about 300 yards down river.
Section C Browns Park
There are many riffles on this section but most of them can be taken anywhere. If rock are struck there will be no damage.
Little Swallow Rapids (7 miles below Taylor’s Flat Bridge)
Just below Pipeline Access there is a small series of sandstone drops that create a small rapid. It is hard to tell if your boat will strike these shelves or not so it would be best to avoid them. The easiest way to do that is stay on the right side of these steps. At the bottom nearing the cliff on the right there is a large underwater rock that is easily seen and best avoided. Just slide out to the left around it and you are into the pool below heading into the false canyon or more correctly Little Swallow Canyon.
From that point on there are only a couple more riffles that do not need mentioning.