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DESOLATION CANYON

Green River - utah
20th of May
Status RUNNABLE
Streamflow 9070 cfs
Average 10000 cfs
Runnable Min 1000 cfs
Runnable Max 22000 cfs
Gradient 5 FPM
Length 85 Miles
Class II to III
Current Weather 83° Partly Sunny then Partly Sunny and Breezy

Summary

Desolation Canyon is currently runnable with streamflow levels at 9070cfs, about -9% below the average runnable rate of 10000cfs. We recommend paddling this section of the Green River between a bare minimum of 1000cfs and a high of 22000cfs.

This class II to III journey is accessible from 2 different boat launch points along the Green River. Paddlers should prepare for the 38 class II to III whitewater rapids along this run. Desolation Canyon is also ideal for multi day paddlers looking to do some camping too. Campers will find 41 riverside campsites as the run winds its way through 85 miles of the beautiful Green River. Streamflow levels and subsequent run conditions for Desolation Canyon are sourced from the nearby USGS streamflow gauge at Green River At Green River, Ut.


Desolation Canyon on the Green River is one of the best multi-day river trips in the Western US. No it doesn't have the biggest and baddest rapids but it does contain some of the best river campsites and beaches. Plus there are plenty of Class II to III rapids to keep everyone on the trip entertained. Weather on the river today will be partly sunny, with a high near 83. breezy, with a southeast wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 18 to 23 mph in the afternoon.

Season Begins: January & Ends: December

Seasonal Flow Status: -16% Below Average

With a 9070cfs streamflow rate, Desolation Canyon is currently below its 10743cfs average seasonal streamflow for this time of year by -16%. Typically, this paddling destination has seen streamflow levels ranging between a low of 9070cfs in 2019, and a high of 12500cfs seen in 2016. Data for this report is sourced directly from USGS streamflow gauge 09315000



Hourly Forecast: 83° Today, Partly Sunny then Partly Sunny and Breezy

Over the course of the next 5 days, weather conditions on the river are expected to range between A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. to partly sunny, with a high near 83. breezy, with a southeast wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 18 to 23 mph in the afternoon. It doesn't look like there's any substantial snow forecasted this week with air temperatures ranging between 65° - 83°

Forecast Discussion

000 FXUS65 KSLC 161121 AFDSLC Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Salt Lake City UT 521 AM MDT Thu May 16 2019 .SYNOPSIS...Continued warm with locally strong winds today will precede a transition to much cooler and unsettled conditions for the latter portion of the week into early next week. && .SHORT TERM (Through 00z Monday)...Early morning water vapor and H5 analysis more clearly depict a transitional pattern evolution than just 12 hours previous, with the ridge that`s been overhead shifting further downstream while an impinging trough on the pac coast has further deepened/amplified upstream. Locally the eastern Great Basin remains beneath a strengthening SW flow aloft. Quite breezy most locales on Wednesday, even more so today with support from a sharpening MSLP gradient and strengthening H7 flow (35-45kts) late this morning through the afternoon. With encroachment of the aforementioned trough and cold front coincident, modest destabilization this afternoon coupled with a net increase of large-scale ascent within an increasingly diffluent environment will drive scattered convection across the western 2/3rds of the area as well. With vertical shear becoming increasingly strong this afternoon and boundary layer conditions remaining largely dry...the potential for isolated strong/severe winds remains a potential, but isn`t expected to be the norm. Have maintained the going wind advisory for most of the lower elevation valley locales due to the synoptic set up, while future shifts will handle any convective enhancement to that with short- fused warnings if needed. Cold frontal passage will translate west to east late day into the overnight hours tonight, lifting with a slight ENE trajectory as the parent trough transitions from near neutral to positive tilt in response to a strong near zonal jet max punching into the desert southwest. Post frontal CAA within a northwest flow will rapidly cool temps leading into Friday (some 20+ degrees vs. today), with snow levels lowering to just below 7kft as the trough translates overhead into Friday. Do expect fairly widespread precip, some mountain snow throughout the day, reinforced by a trailing short wave that will further enhance curvature Friday afternoon into the evening hours. .50-1.00 ...



Whitewater Rapids and Obstacles

Obstacle Summary Class Elevation
Steer Ridge

This is one of the first set of larger rapids in desolation canyon that is worth scouting. There are large rocks in the center of the river. Follow the wave tongue on river left.

A landing and scout trail can be found on river left.
II to III 4494.87 Feet
Joe Hutch

This rapid was altered in 2008 due to flood/runoff. Many consider this rapid the most difficult in Desolation and Gray Canyon. Hit the left tongue avoiding holes on either side of the tongue and then ride the big wave train and pull away from the left river bank where it piles into some rocks.  At higher water you can go right (although I'm not sure why you would since you will miss the best ride through this rapid)

Scout on the right several hundred yards upstream from the rapid.
II to III Feet
Coal Creek

Pretty straight forward run down the waves on river right. Watch out for a hole a couple hundred feet down that has been known to flip boats. This rapid is easier at high water. Rockier at low water.

Scout on river right
II to III 4188.44 Feet
Wire Fence

This can be run on river left or river right. There are some large rocks in the center of the river that should be avoided

Scout from one of the Wire Fence camps on river right.
II to III Feet
Three Fords

This rapid follows wire fence. Pick a course down river right avoiding the rocks. This rapid gets more difficult at lower water.

Can try stopping at river left right after wire fence but may be difficult since the rapids are so close together. May want to scout the same time you scout wire fence rapid.
II to III Feet
Jack Creek Rapid

Some rocks become exposed at lower water making this rapid harder at low water.

Read and run
II to III- Feet
Rock House Rapid

Read and run.  This will be a nice change in current for a hundred feet or so but you will be back to flat water soon.

II Feet
Little Rock House Riffle

An easy class II rifle.

read and run right of center
II 4596.64 Feet
Big Canyon Rapid

an easy class II

II 4570.73 Feet
Firewater Rapid

read and run

II 4566.79 Feet
Cedar RIdge Rapid

read and run

II 4562.85 Feet
Flat Canyon Rapid

read and run

II 4556.04 Feet
Dripping Springs Rapid

read and run

II 4542.94 Feet
Fretwater Falls Rapid

This rapid is easier at high water.  Read and run

II to III- 4527.71 Feet
WIld Horse Rapid

read and run

II 4514.91 Feet
Lower Wild Horse Rapid

read and run.  watch for rocks at lower water levels

II+ to III- 4506.71 Feet
Rapid

An unamed rapid exists where the river is split by a large sand bar.  Either channel contains rapids.  This rapid is harder at lower water levels due to it becoming rocky.

read and run
II to III- 4500.8 Feet
Steer Ridge Rapid

Follow the wave train left of center.  Keep an eye out for rocks at low water levels

A scout landing is possible on river left a quarter mile above the rapid.  A small trail leads down to overlook and view the rapid.  Scouting is recommended unless you know the rapid well.
III- to III 4494.87 Feet
Surprise Rapid

read and run

II 4486.7 Feet
Log Cabin Rapid

read and run

II 4471.6 Feet
Rock Creek Rapid

read and run

II 4457.83 Feet
Calf Canyon Rapid

Read and run.  Keep an eye out for a hole/boulder at the bottom of this rapid.

II 4437.82 Feet
Snap Canyon Rapid

Read and run.  Can be rocky at low water.

II to III- 4421.74 Feet
Three Canyon Rapid

read and run

II 4405.66 Feet
Belknap Falls

A boulder strewn rapid.  Watch for holes but otherwise a read and run rapid.

III 4392.89 Feet
Chandler Falls Rapid

Usually run on the right side of the river.  This rapid gets harder at lower water.  IK's and Canoes may have trouble here.

II+ to III 4372.89 Feet
Trail Canyon Rapid

read and run

II 4360.36 Feet
Bull Canyon Rapid

read and run.  look at running on the left side of the river.

II 4341.72 Feet
Moonwater Rapid

read and run on either side of the small island

II 4331.19 Feet
Red Point Rapid

read and run

II to III- 4323.67 Feet
Joe Hutch Creek Rapid

not to be confused with the "Joe Hutch Rapid".  This is a straight forward read and run rapid.  Harder at low water due to boulder dodging.

II+ to III- 4311.86 Feet
Florence Creek Rapid

read and run

II 4286.09 Feet
Range Creek Rapid

read and run

II+ 4230.44 Feet
Rabbit Valley Rapid

read and run

II 4219.11 Feet
Curry Rapid

read and run

II 4207.72 Feet
Saleratus Rapid

run on the right side.  it can be rocky on the left.

II 4195.33 Feet
Poverty Rapid

read and run

II 4183.83 Feet
Rattlesnake Rapid

The river pushes into the right river bank as the river turns left.  Make sure you give yourself enough room to pull away from the rock that the river pushes into.

II to II+ 4163.49 Feet

Regional 5 Day Forecasts


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Upper South Boulder Creek


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SSV - Confluence to Picnic Grounds


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Lower Boulder Canyon


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Golden Whitewater Park


View Report

Tunnel 1 to Golden Whitewater Park


View Report

Run Overview

Permitted Watercraft

Canoeing
Kayaking
Fishing
Rafting

Desolation Canyon Campsites

Log Cabin #1

This is one of the better camps on this trip. It is on river left so you will need a UTE permit. It has an excellent beach. Good camp spots in the sand and plenty of shade with how it is situated between the canyon walls.

Jack Creek Camp #1

Camp is on river right. If you want to camp here make sure you pull right and miss most of the Jack Creek Rapid. This camp can have a lot of mosquitos.

Jack Creek Camp #2

On river right just downriver of Jack Creek Camp #1. The Jack Creek camps usually fill up so try to get there early in the day to get these camps

Mushroom Camp

This is a good alternative camp if the Jack Creek camps are full. At high water the beach and landing area is greatly diminished.

Above Wire Fence #1 Camp

A nice camp with a minimal beach. Plenty of good shaded and protected tent spots. A trail leads down river to the other camps and to a view of wire fence and three fords rapid.

Dutches Hole Camp

On river left.  Requires Ute Permit.

82 Mile Camp

A small nice camp on river right.  Steep, rocky landing at lower water.

81 Mile Camp

on river right.  small to mid-size camp.

Lower Gold Hole Camp

On river right where the river makes a right hand 90 degree turn.  Pull in anywhere on the large sandbar beach.

Rock House Canyon Camp

Pull in near the creek delta on river right.  Campsites are up the creek and to the right.  Not too close to where you will beach your raft.

Opposite Stampede Flat Camp

on river right, right before the cliff ends you will see a nice beach with some cottonwood trees.

76.7 Mile Camp

Land on river right.  Camp has a nice beach and cottonwood trees.  Campsite is good for large parties.

76.4 and 76.2 Camps

A large beach on river right offers several campsites.

Above Cedar RIdge Camp

Another good desolation camp on river right.  Land above the Cedar Ridge drainage.

Firewater Camp

This is on river left and on the Ute Reservation so it requires a Ute Permit.  Land on the beach at the firewater canyon drainage.

Below Cedar Ridge Camps

Below the Cedar Ridge drainage is an extremely large beach that houses several camps (3 or more).  Land on river right

Flat Canyon Camp

A good large campsite on river right.

Dripping Springs Camp

Just below dripping springs rapid on river right.  May be harder to access at low water

Steer Ridge Camp

A nice beach camp on river right.  Pull hard right to make the landing after you get through steer ridge rapid.

Log Cabin #2 Camp

Another good camp on the UTE land that requires a permit.  Not as good as camp #1 but still a nice camp.

Log Cabin #3 Camp

Another good camp on river left Ute Land that requires a permit to camp here.

Snap Canyon Camp

on river right

Three Canyon Camp

on river right

Lower Three Canyon Camp

on river right

Lion Hollow Camp

on river right

Chandler Canyon Camp

A nice camp on river left.  A Ute Permit is required to camp here.

Trail Canyon Camp

on river right

Above Bull Canyon Camp

on river right.  large beach.

Moonwater Camp

on river right

Below Red Point Camp

on river right

Joe Hutch Canyon Camp

a nice camp on river right to watch others make their way through Joe Hutch Rapid.  To get to this, either run Joe Hutch on the far right or run it on the left and ferry the boats back up the river a little to get to the beach.

Opposite McPherson Ranch Camp

Right across the river from McPherson Ranch.  Camp is on river right.

Below Wire Fence Camp

on river right

Range Creek Camps

on river right.

Rabbit Valley Camp

on river right

Below Coal Creek Camp

an exposed campsite on river left.

Poverty Campsite

on river left.  No permit needed since BLM land is now on river left.  Exposed camp.

School Section Canyon Camp

on river right.  Stay right so you can pull into the spots in between the tamarisk

Rattlesnake Camp

A nice large beach on river left.

Troop 491 Camp

Great campsite with a nice, easy landing for multiple rafts. Man made structure above camp. Nice shade for camping and cooking. Camp is especially good at high water.Requires Ute permit

Kyle Landing

Last chance before civilization (road) for a camp.  On river left, this scrappy camp has a nice bench, and great morning and evening views.  If School Section and Rattlesnake are taken, this is a nice location.

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