It wasn’t long until we were sitting in an icy pool and both dogs were soaked and shivering. Aside from the father with his two small children that we were attempting to give a wide berth to, we were utterly alone on a Saturday. With the warm summer sun beaming down on us, the little splashes seemed like refreshments on our skin rather than the unwelcome attacks they were earlier. Almost a lake with a slight current, the open area was only five to six feet deep on one side and extremely shallow everywhere else. Yet with a wife, gear, and two dogs my little raft kept us safe and was driving on down the river completely unabated. The green river gorge spring water is open 24 hours a day. I drifted back into reality and stood up, pulling the boat to shore. We have a few more to go” I called out as we tracked toward the next ripple in the water entering in the left side of the river. A quick look indicated success, so I began to lash the ruck back to the raft. This wasn’t going to be the last bit of whitewater we were going to experience. 18 bridge this weekend, and when I got there, the river was packed, with fish and people. As the river calmed we approached a huge boulder sitting dead center with water wrapping around it. The river is a popular tubing spot in the Summer. Just two days before that, a woman, 20, was hiking with friends near the Green River Gorge. I knew there were untouched holes ahead of us and the juice would be worth the squeeze. I dug the paddle into the water and broke the nose of the boat into submission. After a few seconds, I gripped my line and snapped tension into it. Moss, ferns, and other flora cling to the canyon walls in “hanging gardens” threaded with tiny waterfalls, creating rainforest-like scenery. We had shot the rapids on a river that we had never been on before in an overloaded packraft and come out unscathed. I stripped in line and the small trout came in reluctantly. Yet, my fear completely deflated when I found myself keeping the raft straight as it weaved its way through each little ripple in the river. Small falls gush down the rocky walls. Things to Do; Places to Eat The dogs began to sense our impending doom and started to squirm in our laps. At its most impressive point, the Green River drops 400 feet in a distance of one and a half miles and runs through a six-foot wide crevice known as the Narrows. After a few minutes of assembling my fly rod and selecting a yellow fly, I was back at it. Since it was almost noon, the sunlight shot straight down into the crystal clear, yet ice cold water. Sit outside and enjoy the private waterfall, play a game of horseshoes or croquet, or watch the big game on the 110 inch movie theater screen. The sides of the crevice were stepped at different depths creating shelves for fish to hover around. As the rear of the raft entered into the fall, I got a slight bump that allowed me to see down the river. Good job”, called Cait from the gravel beach. We had our fill of that for the day and were happy for the change. Yet, on the surface, the current was far too swift to be effective. For a largely unconsidered river that is mostly unvisited, it’s incredibly wild. I wasn’t going to be able to get to where the fish were unless I either gave up my fly fishing gear or drastically changed my approach. A donation is required for whatever you feel the water is worth to you. The fact that much of the land has been placed as conservation area is … Nothing can be further from the truth; “you can’t cheat the mountain”. My ruck was sideways across the front and both dogs were perched on Cait’s lap looking straight ahead. A bit more of my soul was restored with each cast. Yet as we approached we entered the rapids with two adults, two fully grown border collies, and gear fitting for a day on the water, the packraft continued to shine. They were in there by the dozens and were all pointed upriver. I changed positions and altered my approach. What about the uncharted dangers of the Yukon or the Northwest Territories? I knew where they were and how to get to them, I just needed the right setup to access the fish. Defeated in the hole that I had been searching for, I packed up my gear and resolved to refit and return. I could see multiple boulders the size of cars and houses that the river navigated through over the next half mile. The dogs freaked and instead of bailing out of the raft, instead attempted to bury into it. It was an understatement, I knew we had a lot more to go, but I didn’t want to stress Cait out. I knew I could push my luck with Cait, but not too far and she was reaching her limit. Large trout. I cast back upstream to allow the current to take my fly into the shallows. Nothing. We were less than a half hour away from our driveway, yet to someone that didn’t know better it would appear that we were in an unexplored wilderness. A long ride through south King County — with treats. There were trout. Located on the border of Lake Lure and Mill Spring, it is a 28 minute drive from the Gorge Zipline in Saluda and 20 minutes from the Tryon Intl. I paddled and braked to steer around the oncoming rocks and rapids as we enjoyed the slower, more meandering river experience. Green River rafters will paddle through notorious class III and Class IV rapids like “Mercury”, “The Nozzle”, “Pipeline” and “Win, Lose or Draw” as they pass by majestic waterfalls cascading down the 300 foot greenery covered canyon walls. There is a rich history of conservation of the Green River Gorge. There are also individual stories of people who have a strong connection to this unique river carved canyon. However, for now we would just have to be happy with the squeeze. For a moment, only half of the boat was on the falling, raging whitewater below us. Yet each time there was a splash or a wave crashing against the gunnels of the boat, more ice cold water got in. We live in a time and place where people honestly believe that bigger, more expensive gear is better. This place is a quandery. Best trails in Green River Gorge Conservation Area, Washington. I needed a sinking fly line that would pull the small fly to the appropriate depth in the correct amount of time. Yet, gravity kicked in and pulled it down. I didn’t want any shenanigans that would jeopardize my attempt to explore the untouched fishing holes deep in the canyons ahead. The water is purified by an ultraviolet light an tested nearly every day. Brought to you by. “Hang on! “Finally,” Cait proclaimed as she hopped out of the boat and laid defeated on the rocks absorbing the warmth they gathered for her from the hot summer sun. “Uhhhh….ok”, she stammered back as the boat bounced up and down in the wake of another rock that was disrupting the river’s flow. “Going to be ok?”, Cait called back over her shoulder with a tone of “or else” implied if the answer was no. We would need a respite before much longer and I wanted to get back to the whole reason for this trip; fishing. Otherwise serene and beautiful, the deafening sound of the river’s rip through the canyon we occupied reminded it us it was also deadly. This time I was more patient. They were harmless to one another. I knew people used packrafts on whitewater, but had never been afforded the luxury of seeing them in action. We were doing it. When it’s quiet – like it was for us – you can see the fish jumping and swimming downstream, and this is also a favorite spot for fishermen. Join our Newsletter! At 19 miles from the Cecil Moses Park to the North Green River Park in Kent, the Green River Trail follows it's namesake river through the industrial area near the Duwamish east into the broad Green River Valley, offering changing views along the way. Zillow has 17 homes for sale in Green River WA. Less than an hour from Seattle, the Green River Gorge is one of the most beautiful river canyons in Washington. He continuously fought, but being so small any effort he put forth was utterly hopeless. No such success, so I changed the nymph to a bead head wooly booger. “Alright,” I told myself, “I know I can catch them here. It began to come back into line with the next rapid. There are stories from those connected to the river and it is a documentary on the conservation history starting with the original efforts by Wolf Bauer in the 1960s. With a push of the paddle we were off and floating to our next adventure. The Green River Gorge swimming hole is perfection. Below me appeared a crevice that the river had filled. I scrambled back down the boulder and broke out my fly rod. The Green River Gorge Resort also offers parking, short hikes for access to the river but the trails and in some places stairs are steep and can be very slippery in wet conditions. I hoped that as we made our way past it, there would be some sort of flat, tame area where we could beach the packraft and dry out. Sponsored Topics. Two large boulders forced a chokepoint in the middle of a river and formed a three foot waterfall. That would add weight to my fly and pull it to the depth it needed to be at in order to reach the fish. “Despite the size of the fish that I caught that day, I treasured it. The river roared through the Green River Gorge as we inflated our packraft. “Hey! The bottom followed a steep grade; it was very shelf like. That insulation, I was sure, would pay off dividends in the coming hours. Within a few minutes, I felt the tug again. Now married to a woman that loved her dogs, weight and gear became a whole new item of consideration. Could it take on the rapids of the Colorado River? The river meandered, hemmed and hawed until we made a nearly ninety degree right hand turn. “Yeah it is!”, I responded as I started making sure that we had everything we entered the falls with. I began to notice this in the first section of rapids and began to be concerned that I had overestimated my ability to make Flaming Geyser State Park safely. I set the hook. I figured if it got hairy, I could always roll backwards into the water and alleviate the overloaded packraft of a 200 pound man. The dogs immediently jumped on to dry land and started shaking off the experience. That old Alpaca Raft had seen saltwater marshes, Arkansas swamps, large flatwater lakes, and small ponds all over America. The river roared through the Green River Gorge as we inflated our packraft. The packraft, as boats of its size and intended use goes, is relatively inexpensive. It was much wider and the current, while still swift, had slowed significantly. The difference of this river with others is the ferocity of those little rapids. While the excitement of the morning was not unwelcomed, it was like sweets, you only wanted a little bit every once in a while. Green River Gorge Resort 29500 SE Green River Gorge Rd Enumclaw, WA Recreational Vehicle Parks - MapQuest. After a few casts, I felt the all to familiar tug at the end of the line. Grace resumed her obsessive chasing of the lapping waves while Wedge sat patiently and stared at me as I furiously packed everything we needed in the raft. The dogs reluctantly walked back over to our little corner of the gravel bar. there is no question that there is amazing beauty and extremely rare geology and hydrology going on in the gorge from kanaskat palmer park down to flaming geyser. The Green River Gorge is a rugged landscape of steep ravines, coves, and old-growth and mixed hardwood forest which boasts the some of the most popular whitewater rapids in the eastern United States. Green River Rafting [ Whitewater Trips | Accommodations | Green Photo Gallery] Our Green River Gorge whitewater rafting trip is a thrilling adventure through a narrow moss covered canyon. This "Jurassic Park" like 14-mile stretch of river … The nose of the packraft entered the fall and I felt it push into the air. Behind the boulder and inside the crevice was the perfect spot I had been looking for. There is a rich history of conservation of the Green River Gorge. “Yeah, this is no big deal…just looks bad.” I reassured her. It was likely about ten to twelve feet in depth at the very center. The trailhead is on the far side of the field with a yellow vehicle gate. What made things even better was it’s relative proximity to our house. The packraft juked and jived over more rapids, none as intense as when we entered over the small waterfall. I glanced over and noticed that there was a path onto the top of the boulder, but I would need to scale some other rocks to get there. I let out an exhale and took the moment to reflect on what we had just done. I gave a few corrective strokes of the paddle and we drifted directly into the gravel bar. A bridge from which there is an excellent view of the Gorge spans the river… Green River Gorge, Franklin, King Co., Washington, USA : This page contains all mineral locality references listed on At the rim of the gorge, the large spring appears from beneath a hillside covered with ferns and salmonberry. The joy of fly fishing isn’t ever in productivity, its in the art form. Even the dogs were dry and ready to embark. An attempt to locate a bike trail along the valley walls has encountered fierce resistance from farmers. From industrial south Seattle to the lusher Green River, the paved trail offers an interesting perspective of the city, as the view from the paved trail … State Parks has been buying land along the Green River Gorge since the 1960s, both to protect the views from the river and to provide recreational opportunities. After a few casts, I felt the all to familiar tug at the end of the line. “YES!”, I cried out of pure joy. While it was somewhat effective, it wasn’t effective enough. As with all access to rivers use caution and good judgement especially when rivers are running high. With each tug on the end of my line, I felt a little closer to home. Now let’s see how consistent I can be.” I cast back, knowing that my confidence was starting to grow. Green River Gorge State Park is a cultural feature (park) in King County. We have always been conscious of that. “. All photography by Lisa Parsons unless specified otherwise, Personal stories of people connected to the river, History of Green River Gorge Conservation. The looks of people unfamiliar with packrafts was something that I had ignored at first, but come to take as trophies over the years. The Green River Gorge is a 12-mile sandstone gorge cut by the Green-Duwamish River located near Seattle. Cait was up walking around and playing with the dogs. Thank you signing up to learn more about the history, adventures, stories, wildlife, and trails in the Green River Gorge Greenway. I caught myself feeling a little stress from the presence of the little family and our dogs’ interest in them. The water pickup has recently been moved across the road where there is more parking and 7 water spouts. The canyon is filled with boulders making this a technically challenging, class 3 to 4 river. The kids were completely incapable of really hurting the dogs and our dogs are the most docile animals on the planet. Instantly, a small brook trout exploded out of the water attempting to throw my fly. I felt a deep satisfaction and pride in the little boat as I began to consider the possibilities of its use elsewhere. We’ve made our way south to the city of Auburn for a ride through Green River Valley. The primary coordinates for Green River Gorge State Park places it within the WA 98010 ZIP Code delivery area.. Maps, Driving Directions & Local Area Information That glimpse into the future came to an abrupt halt the moment the packraft nosed into the frothy pool below the fall. The Green River Gorge is one of the best whitewater options within an hour of the Seattle area. It was quite the jaunt with small children to get down here, yet they had made it and were all smiles. “HOLY CRAP THATS COLD!” Cait called out as my euphoria was interrupted by reality. View listing photos, review sales history, and use our detailed real estate filters to find the perfect place. Perhaps I could cast in such a way that the current would work to my advantage pulling the fly down as it plunged into the crevice. The smaller fish won’t feed you, hang on your wall, or fill a picture album with bragging rights, but they will fill your soul. It was getting harder and harder to do since the two parties were equally curious about one another. An enjoyable sunday afternoon hike to the Green River Gorge Hanging Gardens. So while Cait sunned herself in an effort to shake off the cold of the river, I worked my way to the top of the boulder. She always liked to watch me fish, but never seemed to want to partake herself. From the gravel bar, I presented my yellow nymph upstream hoping that the current would bring it to the trout I had seen below. After a few moments the raft was sitting with just enough friction to hold it in place as we loaded up. I steered the packraft to the gravel beach and we disembarked. As we came around the large rock outcrop that the turn bent around, the right side of the canyon disappeared into a large open area of the river. Home->Washington River Trips->Green River. Between having to park cars in two different places, pack in all our gear a mile down a canyon, then float several miles to Flaming Geyser State Park, we were more than insulated from a crowd that I had declared to be my sworn enemy. Like any river, it has large, quiet pools broken up by little sections of rapids. Almost completely unknown to the public that tends to over run the easier parks and trails of Puget Sound, the Green River Gorge appears to be nearly untouched. This website showcases the work of conservation photographer, Lisa Parsons, who has spent 17 years as an advocate for conserving this unique area. Telling her I was also terrified wouldn’t help anything, instead I wanted her to have a strong, reassuring presence so that she at least felt safe in the face of danger. I figured this was going to fail miserably and I would end up washed ashore wishing I would have drowned rather than face Cait’s wrath. The fish were at least six feet down and by the time the small fly reached that depth, it was far past where the fish were. Unlashing the ruck from the nose of the boat, I turned it over and drained the river from inside our vessel. It bent in the middle slightly as the boats buoyancy pushed back against the swirling water below us. A shared passion whether as a local growing up here, a fishermen, whitewater boater, … This beautiful scenic rocky gorge offers 14 miles of class III-IV whitewater and lots of great play spots for rafters and kayakers. It’s an American failing that people think that you can buy your way into a real experience in the wild. More from Lisa Parsons at:, Subscibe to Field Notes From Green river Gorge Greenway. Yet there is always a veil of mistrust between people and strange animals. No one was going to go very far as we were trapped in a box canyon that had widened enough to allow a gravel bar to form. “Lets fish a little here,” I suggested to Cait who was happy to let the dogs out so they could swim and play some more. While I would never advocate lying, I also didn’t want to add to her fears. There is an easy fix for that, hard work. The Green River Gorge Swimming Hole is the classic "locals" spot that is little known by outsiders. The Green is hit pretty hard by gear anglers but for those willing to hike a bit, the Green River Gorge and the upper stretches of the river offer some solitude from the masses. The dogs played with each other as they explored the gravel bar. Green River Gorge is an interesting stretch of water. I hope that the stories, history, and landscape capture your attention and draw you in to become part of the story and the vision for the future. It’s the oneness that the fisherman finds with nature as he embarks on this challenge to catch a fish in one of the more difficult forms of fishing. He ended up going out too far in the river before being swept away. Being a single man exploring various wilderness over the years, I had learned to pack super light so I would not be distracted by gear. At the far end of the large pool was shallow rapids that trickled the pool down a steep grade and disappeared into the future. It has never had a bad report. Best Off-Road Vehicle To Build: Tacoma Mods. If I were a large brown trout, I would want to be at the bottom of this little tear in the river bottom. I presented my fly with those things in mind. “Ok, you get in first with the dogs, then I will shove us off and we will be on our way.” I barked to Cait as if I were captaining a battleship into the Pacific. This was going to be our maiden voyage as a family down the Green River Gorge. A shared passion whether as a local growing up here, a fishermen, whitewater boater, equestrian, hiker, conservationist, or explorer. Despite the size of the fish that I caught that day, I treasured it. The Green River cuts through sandstone and shale to form a deep, rugged canyon with numerous “kettles” and other grotesque formations carved by the water. I knew that the packraft was used widely in Alaska to pack out moose, elk, caribou, and bison on rivers, but I had never tested its weight limit. A trail from Seattle to Kent along the Green and Duwamish Rivers – The Green River Trail is one of the longest contiguous regional trails in the Puget Sound Region with 19 paved miles from the south edge of Seattle to the city of Kent. Decided to head to the upper Green River right below the hwy. The fish, I postulated leaning on years of experience catching a wide variety of fish, would be stacked on the shelf with their nose to the current. I wet my hands and gripped the tiny fish’s head while holding my rod in the crook of my arm. Work is like mace to the fanny pack wearing, chubby suburban crowd that often finds some of the most beautiful spots then overruns them. I let the trout take my fly and run with it before I set the hook. The river had calmed down quite a bit. I had my feet splayed out either side with her leaning back into my lap. I forced the paddle in the water to straighten the nose of the raft to align with the roaring whitewater in front of us. There are also individual stories of people who have a strong connection to this unique river carved canyon. Once I was through the hopping, jumping, and leaping across the the smaller rocks that allowed my questionably safe passage to the top of the large boulder, I could look down and see the river bottom. Fly fishing is more about catching a glimpse at the place we have lost in nature rather than catching fish. It’s unconventional, but so is every great thing at the beginning of its life.

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