Wind River Range

The Windriver Range offers some of the lower 48’s wildest country. And yup there are some big creeks flowing from those hills. For fisherman an Alpacka in the Winds is an ideal way to fish some of the remote alpine lakes in search of the elusive goldon trout. However, as the water makes its way out of the mountains it negotiates deep granite gorges. Many of the creeks, like the Dinwoody, have wonderful floatable sections. These creeks are punctuated by class 6 drops, commiting gorges and other excitement. Some of them are only runnable in the early summer when the melting snows keep them flooded. In the northern end of the range the shrinking glaciers provide enough water to keep some of them floatable throughout the summer.

One of the best is the Upper Green River. From Beaver Park down to the lakes is an enjoyable Class II float with a couple small drops and some wood. This can be combined with a loop hike and a climb of Gannet and/or Square top.

You can see some photos from a trip I did with my wife, Amy, last summer at

Upper Green River/ Green River Lakes

Though I’d share some details regarding our trip last weekend (June 14-16th, 2013) following Forrest’s ( trip idea and his post. Hiked in ~12miles on the Highline trail from the Green River Lakes trailhead to Beaver Park on Friday, set up camp, ran ~3miles of the river to the one class III drop to get a feel for the river. It was running close to 1800 cfs ( ), mostly class II, with ~6 mandatory portages around wood, not too pushy, very scenic. Climbed Squaretop the next day via the 3rd/4th class scramble from Granite Lake. The crux of the route was finding the trail to Granite Lake. It is not marked, nor obvious, with lots of deadfall obscuring the start of the trail. It can be found at the south end of Beaver Park. It heads directly uphill, very steep, with no switchbacks for the first 100yrs then becomes obvious. Once at the lake we followed game trails through the open areas on the left/ north side of the lake to a prominent shelf then traversed right to the large gully descending from the saddle, linked rock ribbons on the left side of the gully to the saddle staying mostly off the snow, some cairns. 6hrs round trip. Didn’t bring an axe or crampons. After the climb we packrafted back to the trailhead, awesome! River had dropped ½ foot to ~1500 cfs. Little headwind on the lakes, so the flat-water paddling wasn’t that slow. On Sunday, we put in back at the trailhead and paddled ~8miles below the lakes to the Big Bend pullout ( ). 3 miles of this was really fun class II+ starting just before Moose Creek Rd junction. Ran this section another time then drove home. Recommend bringing a fishing rod for the slow meandering sections. The timing was good, no bugs due to the nightly freezes, good water level too, wouldn’t want to run this with < 1000 cfs though.

This run is indeed a packrafting classic. Ran it in August, 2014 at about 850 cfs in beautiful weather. No wildlife except for one Moose on the bank. The main challenge on this run is portaging downed trees through very thick brush. I stopped counting at about a dozen, and it wouldn’t have been so bad if I had not had a full pack on the boat! Best way to do this run would be to camp or stash equipment at the head of the second lake or at the rapid visible from the trail (there was even a tree in the rapid), and walk in the rest of the way to the put-in with only the boat. Saw another packraft on the lower lake with a fisherman inside, excellent fishing on the Green R. too.

Hi all, this is a very old thread but thought I’d see if anyone out there has any current info. I’m planning a fishing/packrafting trip for July of 2017. The general plan is to start at the Spring Creek trailhead near Pinedale, spend a few days hiking and fishing our way over into the green river drainage, and then floating out to Green River lakes. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

One specific question… I came across only one blip about fishing on the river above Green River lakes, saying that there were no fish due to the glacial sediment. Wondering if this is true or if maybe there are a few lurking in there?

Thanks, eddie


We have been up to Green River Lakes a couple of times, most recently fall 2015, and I packrafted out to the lakes on the upper stretch of the green in Sept. 2014. Near the origin the water was somewhat milky with glaciel sediment as you would expect. Looking at my photos and video of the one rapid on this stretch, it looked only slightly cloudy at this point, which is still above the two lakes. I didn’t fish on that trip, but can tell you that we did catch numerous fish in the streams between the upper and lower lakes the next summer. I would guess that the upper lake would also fish well.

I packarafted a small area of the wind river range last July (2016) at the green river lakes trail head/ campground. Summary is it was fantastic and my favorite packaraft adventure of 2016 for sure. My route started and ended at Green river lakes area, went up lakeside trail to porcupine trail, lost trail for a mile then re-found it in a sound of music like meadow (saw some nice trout in the pools of this meadow stream), camped just short of intersection between south gypsum trail and porcupine pass, had a moose visitation just after sunset, next morning hiked straight up porcupine pass into beautiful mountain meadow with small stream (from melting snow spots) and what appeared to be cranberry bushes, stoutly in bloom, continued to new fork porcupine trail, then turned left to clark creek trail, did some tenkara fly fishing at Kenny lake (lake full of small trout, seemed like brown and brook trout, a bite on nearly every cast even with 10-15mph winds) set up camp at said lake; morning continued on down clark creek trail, (took a dip in Clark lake, that really woke me up) eventually joined highline trail and as soon as could see river walked through meadow, inflated boat and weaved through the river meadow after some time river became clogged with non-runnable wood jammed sieved out boulder gardens, very beautiful; I began to exhaustively portage around these obstacles eventually deflating and rejoining highline trail, setup camp approximately directly across from square top mountain. Most mosquitos I’ve ever encountered along the green river, they are immune to bug spray it seems; long sleeves and a head net are your best protection. Morning came, inflated boat and enjoyed a leisurely paddle with no portages! (put in directly across from square top) paddled out by noon across both lakes; fish start appearing and jumping at beginning confluence of second larger lake. As one paddles the smaller lake it transitions from Gatorade colored to clear. Started on a Friday at noon, finished on a Monday at noon, 2 hr. afternoon naps were a requirement on Saturday and Sunday; these dogs were barkin! Some may question whether it was worth lugging a 6lb boat, ~2lb paddle, ~1lb life jacket in addition to my backpacking gear up 3,000 feet of rugged mountains to 11,000 feet to float out the green river for half a day, but I believe it was. Saw no one on the porcupine trails and most people on the highline trail. I’m sure you’ll have a blast anywhere in the wind river range however…

Piggybacking on this topic from earlier. We’re going to be down in Pinedale over Labor Day weekend and wanted to get a gage to see if folks had ever checked out the Green River Lakes area this late in the year. Seems like a beautiful float so we were hoping to get a hike in and then check it out - if the water was reasonable.

Any late season info you could provide would be helpful!

I ran in from Beaver Park about 10 days ago at 420 CFS

There was plenty of water for 99% of it.

I believe Forrest quotes the minimum at about 300. In the absence of a real freeze-up before your trip, I imagine it will be fine but there may be a few cobble bars you’ll have to walk or scoot through.