Green River (Desolation + Gray Canyons) Rafting
The final day on the Desolation and Gray Canyon stretch of the Green River. Photo: Utah BLM, Flickr
A trip through Desolation Gray Canyon is 5-7 days and covers 84 miles. Of the 84-mile long river segment, 66 miles are within the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area –the largest in the lower 48 states. The canyon is known for being a rather flat stretch of water and is considered class II to III. Given the mellow nature of the river, it can be floated in rafts or in smaller watercraft like inflatable kayaks or canoes. The Green River is dam controlled, so it can be floated into the fall. During high flows, it can be difficult to find good camps on the banks as there is a lot of brush, but at low flows sandy beaches emerge that are a nice asset for any float trip. Trips in the early spring can be notorious for upstream winds, which keep the bugs down but are tricky for paddlers and rafters. The scenery is mostly high desert with sagebrush and pinyon-juniper forests. Many side canyons provide good hiking opportunities.
Like the upper part of the Green River at Gates of Ladore, permits to float this stretch of the Green River are controlled through a lottery. For more info check out our Permit Lottery for Rafting Western Rivers 2017 Guide.