Backcountry camping tips for Wind Rivers - upper Green River valley via canoe


New Member
Aug 7, 2019
Very inexperienced backcountry camper here. Planning dream trip of canoeing up the Green River from Green River Lakes Campground and camping overnight on side of river. I'm concerned that being close to a river in a narrow canyon like that will increase the chances of having a run in with large fauna like bear and moose. Also, would think that there might be some nice little backcountry sites tucked away that we could use. We hiked about 10 miles up the valley a few years ago and there was a simply perfect site right before the trail started climbing in earnest. So I know there's stuff like that out there - I just don't know where it is! If anyone can point me to some sort of guide or resource for finding sites like that (and tips on avoiding wildlife), I would appreciate it greatly. FYI - I've been looking at the topos and have my eye on a small bluff on the SW side of the river at about the 6 mile mark of the trail from the campground (43.245, -109.81). There's good river access right at the north of the bluff and I was thinking it might make sense to get up on the bluff or behind it to get away from the river.
This should help a bit.

From the Bridger-Teton NF website for the Bridger Wilderness:
To reduce impacts to soils, vegetation, wildlife and other visitors and prevent water pollution:
  • Campsites must be located at least 200 feet away from a lake shore or forest service system trail and 100 feet away from streams, creeks or springs
Staying at least 100 feet from the river and 200 feet from the trail will reduce the potential for having a moose or bear walk through your campsite. Water (or lack thereof) may be an issue up on that bluff but maybe there's a flat spot in the trees by the good river access you mention. Just across the river from that bluff that is an open dry area (43.2457, -109.8061) that looks flat and will allow you to meet the wilderness requirements regarding distances from trails and waterways, and allows easy access to the river.
Make certain to carry bear spray up there and keep a clean camp. That's the area on the western side of the Winds where griz are found most often. Cattle grazing territory. Also make certain you don't set up camp near any dead standing pines. I've seen quite a few moose in the meadows around the lakes and on the trail, particularly early morning. Have a great trip!
There were some really great flat spots we camped at just north of Square Top mountain on the east side of the river. I'm not sure if that's far enough up the river for you. Also, there looked to be some good spots on the west side of the river where the trail crosses the Green River for the second time before it starts climbing up and heading towards Trail Park/Trail Creek Park but I'm not sure about water access there. The first place I mentioned had great water access.
One thing I have done in the past is call the closest ranger station and ask a lot of questions about local conditions, rules, and camping spots. It was extremely helpful.
Thanks to all for the good info. For some reason, I wasn't getting any email notifications on these responses, despite having all the right boxes checked. Thought I was hearing nothing but crickets.... This should be enough to come up with a plan, now it's up to the weather to cooperate.