Green River Lakes


Aug 9, 2007
I'm a desert rat all the way through, but sometimes I just have to get my mountain fix. With my hiking distance limited, I figured it was a great time to break out the inflatables and do some 'yakpacking'. Fair warning: it's tough to get unique angles from within the kayak, so get used to seeing the back of my dog's head a lot.

Loaded up and heading off from near the campground. @ashergrey brought up his impressive handmade kayak.

@Christian paddled up in my new inflatable, Great Bend.

@Cody and Cowboy took Llewellyn.

And Sage and I paddled my other Sea Eagle, Labyrinth.

It looked like it could storm on us as we paddled up lake. A soft wind at our backs helped propel us forward.

A few rain drops started to fall so we pulled up on a beach in case it got bad. It didn't, so 15 minutes later we were back on the water and heading for the inlet that would lead us to the upper Green River Lake. At first paddling up stream wasn't too bad. More work, but doable.

But soon we found ourselves beached and had to resort to dragging our boats. The water quickly became deep enough to float, but we soon discovered the current was too strong to paddle up.

After this photo, it got particularly tough for a short stretch. I had bad shoes on for it and the water became pretty deep and quite swift. I tried to get in and paddle a couple times which did not end well. My fishing pole paid the price.

Soon after passing the bridge over the river, the current slowed and we were able to paddle most of the remaining distance into the upper lake. I'd had my eye on a spot on the left just as you enter the lake, but it was occupied. We made our way up lake and found a nice spot along the east shore.
green-river-lakes-bcp-10.jpg green-river-lakes-bcp-11.jpg

The next day we slept in late. The water was glassy when I rolled out of my tent, but soon after the winds picked up and went back and forth up and down the lake. It would have been fine weather for hiking, but not so much for paddling. We just lounged around camp until about 3:30 when things calmed down and we hopped in the boats to head up to the top of the lake.

Sage enjoyed having all of our stuff out of the boat. Lots of room to move around. I love how stable these boats are.

The light was hit and miss as we got to the top of the lake and started up the Green River towards Square Top, towering nearly 4,000 feet above us.
green-river-lakes-bcp-17.jpg green-river-lakes-bcp-18.jpg

@Christian taking in the view at the top of the lake.

Paddling up the green on glassy water.
green-river-lakes-bcp-21.jpg green-river-lakes-bcp-22.jpg green-river-lakes-bcp-23.jpg
White Rock lit up by the fleeting sunlight.
green-river-lakes-bcp-25.jpg green-river-lakes-bcp-27.jpg

We turned around here where some fallen timber blocked the channel. We tried making a run up the left side but it was too shallow. If it hadn't been so late in the day, we would have portaged and been able to make it much further up.

Back on the lake, the mix of sun, clouds and milky green water made for some nice photo opportunities.

The view from camp that second night.

The next morning the lake was glass again, but this time I took some pictures.


@Christian dedicated to getting the right angle.


Before pulling down my tent, I took a photo of it. It's the Sierra Designs Tensegrity Elite 2 (2 lb 3 oz). I'm working on a review of this, but so far I am very impressed.

Loaded up and back on the water. I decided to take Great Bend down. My first time paddling it since acquiring it earlier this month. Out on the lake, it was awful compared to the amazing tracking on the Sea Eagles. Especially with wind at my back. It would just spin me around. But it was great once there was a nice current pulling me down the river.

I didn't get many photos of the fun parts of the river. It was a total blast though. No rapids or anything but a few swift sections. We didn't have to get out and portage anything on the way down.

Back in the lower Green River Lake. A few more miles back to the truck.

Lucky for us, the wind was at our backs again. About half way back the wind got pretty crazy. We were surfing through 2+ foot waves the closer we got to the end of the lake. Lots of fun and I am so glad it wasn't going the opposite way!

It was a fine paddle and great to finally get out on a couple of BCP'ers I'd yet to get to know very well. I'm looking forward to returning sometime and paddling further up the Green.

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Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot get enough of this TR!! :) It has everything I love. Amazing mountains, Beautiful Blue-green lakes, This forests, Kayaking, Camping, possible hiking, did I say AMAZING mountains!?

Dang, I think I need to take my family here. real soon.
Yeah, we didn't do any, but there is plenty of hiking. The Clear Creek and Slide Lake trail look particularly interesting. There is a cool natural bridge up there where a river goes through a 100+ foot tunnel. Oh, and the fishing seemed like it would have been pretty good too. My pole got snapped in half but I talked to a kid on the shore who said he pulled a 17" cuttie out of the upper lake.
oh perfect. you had to mention fishing, arches, and tunnels too.... great. now I love it even more. GAH!
Awesome, awesome trip report. Even better to have been there in person. That day three float back down between the two lakes could have gone on forever for all I cared.
Great reports and pictures. Looks like a fun, relaxing trip with a little work mixed in.
I can't say enough about the beautiful photos.
Wow! As an amateur yaker I want to do this. I know nothing about this area. Where can I find details -
launch points, campsites, mileages, etc.

I love that shot of your dog and Square Top. Awesome!
Wow! As an amateur yaker I want to do this. I know nothing about this area. Where can I find details -
launch points, campsites, mileages, etc.

I love that shot of your dog and Square Top. Awesome!

There isn't a lot on that, but it's pretty straight forward. You launch near the campground and trailhead at the lower Green River Lake, right here: 43.310838, -109.857501. From there you just paddle on up the lake, the first one is about 2 miles across. There are a few places to camp on the main lake if you desire. At the top of the lake start paddling up the inlet that leads to the upper lake. Be prepared to get out and pull your boat up through the shallows and faster moving sections. Sturdy footwear is highly recommended for that. After about a mile of that, you're into the upper lake. There aren't a ton of places to camp up there due to steep shorelines, but there are some options. Above the upper lake, the Green River is much more flat and easy to paddle up. It's a little more than a mile across the upper lake. With some determination you could go several miles up the river.

As far as red tape, it's free to launch and camp out there. You do however need to deal with Wyoming invasive species inspection. There is an inspection station at the port of entry where you come in at Evanston. All non-motorized boats over 10 feet need to have an AIS tag (purchase online). $15 each for out of state users.

Bears (including grizzlies) are an issue up here so high level precautions and camp cleanliness should be exercised. Also, the winds can really make some big waves on these lakes. We got lucky and had it at out backs both ways. If it had been going the other way on our paddle back, we most likely would have had to get off the water and sit it out. Plan accordingly.
Christian told me you were going on this trip and was very jealous. He and I did the Cirque last year and I kept wanting to go to Square Top. The Winds is one of my most favorite places. Well done boys.
That scenery looks downright magnificent. Sometimes it's nice to to take in the view from the water and take a break from the trail. Even just that beautiful shade of green water is unbelievable.
Excellent pics, Nick.

Earlier this month, on a day with drizzle and afternoon thunder, we hiked along these beautiful lakes and onwards past Square Top to a place called Beaver Park on the map. About 10 miles of easy trail along the upper Green River. Here we launched our packrafts and paddled back to the lakes (swift, flood level class II, a few logjam portages and one tough drop), then paddled the lakes back to the parking lot. Highly recommended too!
That's awesome @Kullaberg63. I hiked up through Beaver Park and well beyond a couple years ago. The trail and scenery along the Green far surpassed my expectations. On this trip, we ran into a nice couple with a dog up at the top of the upper lake who had just hiked to Granite Lake and then taken their packrafts on their maiden voyage down the Green. It sounds like a fun ride.
Last Winter, I started reading about the Green River and looking for every trip report by people who have been up its drainage in the Winds. Been dying to go this season. Still mildly hopeful, but I may have to wait another year to find the time. Thanks for fueling my fire!

How was the road after it turns to dirt? I've heard mixed opinions.
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