Green River Kayak Camping Trip

[Drifting down the Green River, through a desert wilderness.]  
Drifting down the Green River, through a desert wilderness.  

In early March 1999, I went on a six-day kayak camping trip on the Green River, near Moab, Utah. We put-in at Mineral Bottom, 52-miles above our take-out point just below the confluence with the Colorado River. The river passed through beautiful desert scenery, in many areas winding through steep, rocky canyons. Most of the route passed through desert wilderness, far from any signs of civilization, except for occasional relics of the Native Americans who inhabited the area centuries ago.

There were four of us paddling together, three in kayaks and one in a raft, all organized and led by my friend John Scheib (who is a good adventure thinker-upper). As wilderness campers, we carried with us all our gear and supplies, including drinking water and a portable toilet (required by regulations). During the day, we paddled or just drifted with the current and watched the ever-changing riverbank scenery slowly pass by. We observed the weird and colorful rock formations and the sparse desert vegetation, and occasionally stopped to explore the riverbanks and canyonlands. At night, we camped under the glittering stars, and woke each morning ready for another day of adventure and spectacular scenery.

I kept a trip journal and took lots of pictures, and have prepared several pages for you to peruse. Each of the following sections describes a portion of the trip and contains one or more pages. You can click on any of the following links to visit the individual pages, or you can start at the beginning and use the navigation buttons at the bottom of each page to browse the pages in sequential order.

Pictures of the Green River Trip

[Nevada highway.]

Getting to Moab - For me, the trip started with a cross-country flight from Maryland to my friend's house in the San Francisco Bay area. We then drove to Moab, Utah, following U.S. Route 50, an old highway from the pre-interstate era. Route 50 is called "The Loneliest Road In America", since modern interstates have siphoned off most of the traffic. What's left behind is a charming and authentic slice of Americana.

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[Put-in on the Green River.]

Starting the Paddling Trip - In Moab, we met up with the two other members of our paddle trip and made final arrangements with the river outfitter for drop-off and pick-up service. Drop-off was via a road trip in a bus towing a boat trailer stacked with canoes and kayaks. The ride ended with a white-knuckle descent down steep cliffside switchbacks to the put-in at Mineral Bottom. After preparing our boats, we slipped them into the Green River (which is actually brown) and began our adventure.

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[Paddling on the Green River.]

Paddling Through the Desert - For six days and five nights, we paddled through majestic desert wilderness as the river wound its way through colorful canyons.

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[Take-out on the Colorado River.]

Ending the Paddling Trip - We paddled to the end of the Green River and entered the Colorado River, which marked the end of our journey. We beached our boats on the riverbank and awaited our pick-up. The ride back entailed a speedy jetboat ride up the Colorado River, followed by a slow drive back to Moab in a school bus.

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[Monument Valley, Arizona.]

Highlights of the Desert Southwest - After we completed the paddling trip in Utah, John and I drove back to his home in California. Being adventurous travelers, we took the long way back and visited several other notable sites in the desert southwest. Visit these pages to see some of my pictures.

Overview With Map     Mesa Verde     Four Corners     Monument Valley     Lee's Ferry     Glen Canyon Dam     Antelope Canyon

Internet Links

Pyramid Lake, Nevada

Pyramid Lake - site with history and information
Pyramid Lake - history and information from Wikipedia
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe - official site of the Paiute Tribe; the lake is on their reservation

The Loneliest Road In America, U.S. Route 50

The Loneliest Road In America - article from travel site about highways and byways
The Loneliest Road In America - a "survival guide" for traveling the highway
Route 50 - travel/tourism site about U.S. Route 50 (coast-to-coast), with information about the section in Nevada
Nevada Shoe Tree - about the "shoe tree" on Route 50 in Nevada
Nevada Shoe Tree - an article about the tree
Roadside America - a guide to offbeat attractions along the highways
Ely, Nevada - interesting travel/tourism site
Ely, Nevada - another travel/tourism site
Great Basin National Park - official site of national park in eastern Nevada

Southwest Geology

Basin and range - good but basic information from the USGS
Basin and range - basic geological information and map
Basin and range - geological information, more technical
Basin and range - geological information, more technical
Geology of Nevada - geological information
San Rafael Swell - basic information on what it is, plus travel/tourism information
San Rafael Swell - basic information
Map of San Rafael Swell overlook on I-70 - from Google
Geological history of Utah - interesting site

Southeast Utah

Map of Green River - from Google
John Wesley Powell - interesting biography from DesertUSA site
John Wesley Powell - museum site
Moab, Utah - very good travel/tourism site
Moab, Utah - another travel/tourism site
Map of Moab - from Google
Canyonlands National Park - official site of the national park near Moab

River Running Information

Green River information - interesting site
Running the Green River - good information from site (other links, too)
Boating in Canyonlands - information from the national park, which has some river-running regulations
Green River information - from the Bureau of Land Management, more regulations
Tag-A-Long - the river outfitting company we used
Tag-A-Long shuttle service - for self-guided trips, also includes practical trip information
Tex's Riverways - another river outfitter in Moab
Hamilton jetboat drive - information on the jetboats the outfitters use
Green River trip journal - read about another person's paddle trip, rather well-done
Green River trip journal - another interesting trip journal
Map of Mineral Bottom put-in - from Google
Map of the Confluence - from Google
Map of potash ramp - from Google (this is where the jetboat was hauled-out, on the Colorado River near a potash mine)

Regional Information

State of Utah - official state government site
Utah travel and tourism - official travel/tourism site, good site
Utah travel and tourism - commercial travel/tourism site
State of Nevada - official state government site
Nevada travel and tourism - official travel/tourism site, good site
State of Arizona - official state government site
Arizona travel and tourism - official travel/tourism site, good site
Desert southwest travel and tourism - good site
American southwest travel and tourism - big and interesting site
Four corners travel and tourism - for Four Corners states (UT, CO, NM, AZ)


Native American history - good information, mostly about Utah
Native American history - old photographs of Native Americans
Edward Abbey - site about former park ranger and writer closely associated with Canyonlands
Desert Solitaire - Abbey's famous book about the area (link to Amazon)
Chesapeake Lightcraft - kit-built wooden boats, we used two of their wooden kayaks

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park - official site for the national park
Mesa Verde National Park - unofficial site, also good
Mesa Verde National Park - travel and tourism site
Map of Mesa Verde - from Google (Spruce Tree House location)

Four Corners

Four Corners - travel and tourism site about the area
Map of Four Corners - from Google

Monument Valley

Monument Valley -official site about the Navajo park, rather short but OK
Monument Valley - tourism site, other desert southwest links
Monument Valley - basic geological information, other Monument Valley links
Monument Valley - professional photographer's site, with pictures
Map of Monument Valley - from Google

Lee's Ferry

Lee's Ferry - interesting site with complete history and lots of pictures
Map of Lee's Ferry - from Google (parking lot and boat ramp)

Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam - official site from the Bureau of Reclamation
Glen Canyon Dam - from the DesertUSA site, pretty good
Glen Canyon Dam - from the Lake Powell visitor's guide
Lake Powell - tourist and visitor's guide
Page, Arizona - good site about the town next to the dam
Map of Glen Canyon Dam - from Google

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon - official site about the Navajo park
Antelope Canyon - landscape photography site with some information
Slot canyons - interesting site about slot canyons in general, list of many canyons in the southwest
Map of Antelope Canyon - from Google

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