||Green River, NC
(2 @ 5+)
||The Green River Flows Page
(online schedule and more, updated hourly) or Duke Power: 828-698-2068 (direct to message);
800-829-5253 (menu to message). Schedules are announced daily,
generally about 7:30 am, and are subject to change. The water takes about 2 hours to reach the put-in.
(2 @ 5+)
||Pool and drop steep creek
|Distance from Downtown
||45 minutes to take out, 40
minutes to put in
||All year (dam release)
Green [an alternate put-in; II-III- (2 @ III+)], Lower
||End of trail from Gallimore Road (0.6 mile
hike) See note in bold below and section on put-in parking
||Fishtop Access off Green Cove Road
|Directions from Asheville
||Take I-26 South to Exit 59 (Saluda).
Turn left at the bottom of the ramp, turn left a couple hundred
yards later onto Green Cove Road. Fishtop Access is at the
bottom of the Gorge -- about 3 miles downhill.
||25 minutes each direction. Return to
I-26. Head North to Exit 53 (Hendersonville / Upward Road).
Turn right onto Upward Road and drive East (away from
Hendersonville) 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Big Hungry Road
(you'll see an apple packing shed on the left, then two churches
next door to each other on the right; turn after the second
church), then take your first left (to stay on Big Hungry Road .
. .), then your first right (to . . . you guessed it . . . stay on
Big Hungry Road), then your first right again (to turn onto
Gallimore Road). Park in the gated
parking area at the end of the public portion of Gallimore Road.
You will need a key to the locked gate to get into the parking area. Here's a link to current
information on parking and keys. To get to the river, walk down the gated
road. After about 0.4 of a mile the road will bend sharply
to the right and head up hill. On the left side of this bend
you'll find a well-worn trail. Take this trail to the river.
Note: the Gallimore Road parking area is closed the months
of January and February (to protect the field), and parking is not
allowed along Gallimore Road. Best option: paddle the Upper
Green to get to the Narrows. Another alternative:
drop your boats at the trailhead, drive back to Big Hungry Road to
park, and walk or thumb back to the trailhead.
|Other access points:
||To hike into the heart of the Narrows,
follow the shuttle directions up to the point you'd ordinarily turn
onto Gallimore Road. Don't. Continue on another 3.1
miles to the Pulliam
Creek Trail (a total distance of 5.9 miles from the interstate).
Park on the right side of road (being careful not to block traffic)
and look over the side. You'll see a modest footbridge (two
logs) over a tiny creek. Approximately two miles from the
trailhead you'll come to a very steep path falling off the mountain.
Take this path to the river. The last part is very steep,
requiring scrambling on hands and knees. The path comes out
just upstream of Sunshine Falls, near Groove Tube / Nutcracker.
Head upstream, passing Rapid Transit and Green Scream Machine to get
to the four distinct drops and four linking sections that comprise
Gorilla [from the bottom up, and using Tom V's names: Nies'
Pieces, Butt Cruncher, the Speed Trap, Zoom Flume (the main drop),
the Brain Mirror (the calm part of which is the eddy many boaters
choose to catch), the Notch (local name = the Narrows, pronounced
the Gnarrs), the Prayer Zone and Pencil Sharpener]. The hike
in takes 45 minutes to an hour.
||Camping is not allowed on the Green River
Gamelands, which includes all the public lands closest to the river.
The fine for camping on the Gamelands is $90. Duke Power
allows free camping on their lands, including the parking area for
the Upper Green's
put-in and creekside upstream of the powerplant (park your car at
the put-in and hike upstream). Duke Power could easily revoke
their permission, so please be discreet, polite, and as low impact
as possible. Duke provides no facilities or running water. Warning!!! The rules on camping at the Upper Green put-in may have changed! A couple out of state boaters were fined $100 for setting up a tent in the parking lot. Do not camp here until further notice!!!
For those less inclined to rough it, several commercial
campgrounds are located along or near the Lower Green, including the
Green River Campground (three miles down Green Cove Road from the
Fishtop Access), the Wilderness
Cove Campground (four miles down Green Cove Road), the Green
River Cove Campground (six miles), and Silver
Creek Campground (take Green Cove Road past about two miles past
the Lower Green take-out to Silver Creek Road, take a right, and go
approximately a mile and a half). Most of these
campgrounds close for the winter, but the Silver Creek Campground
may be open year round.
Three USFS campgrounds are located within an hour of the Green:
Mills River, and Davidson
River. All are particularly attractive if you wish to
combine some mountain biking with your paddling as they are located
near some of the best mountain biking in the U.S. (check out the
Bent Creek, Mills River, DuPont State Forest and Davidson River
mountain biking areas on J. Mitchell's MTB
WNC page). The Lake Powhatan campground is open from April
1 to October 31; the North Mills River and Davidson River
Campground are open year round. All require reservations a
minimum of four days in advance during their peak seasons (mid-May
to October 31; click the links above to make reservations
online), and all require two-day minimum stays on weekends
(three-day minimum stays holiday weekends). Sites at Lake
Powhatan are $14 / night, those at North Mills River $8 / night,
and those at Davidson River $15-18 / night. The Lake Powhatan
and Davidson River campgrounds have hot showers and flush toilets,
the North Mills River campground does not.
Begin your drive to all three USFS campgrounds by heading west on
I-26 (i.e., toward Asheville). To get to the Davidson River
and North Mills campgrounds, take Exit 49B (Hendersonville / US 64)
and get on US 64 heading east (toward Hendersonville). The
Davidson River campground is on US 64 a couple miles past its
intersection with NC 280 (near Brevard). To get to the North
Mills River campground, turn right onto NC 25 in downtown
Hendersonville, then left a short distance later onto Haywood Road.
Take Haywood Road all the way to Mills River and NC 280. Turn
right onto NC 280 and head north less than a mile to the left at the
stoplight onto North Mills River Road. Follow North Mills
River Road about five miles to the North Mills River Recreation
Area. To get to the Lake Powhatan campground from the Green,
stay on I-26 all the way to Exit 33 (NC 191). Turn left at the
bottom of the ramp and then left again onto NC 191, then head south
two miles to the stoplight on Bent Creek Ranch Road. Turn
right and follow the signs and this road to the Lake Powhatan
If you're on a tight budget and want to camp near this mountain
biking mecca, the USFS allows free camping along the dirt road
between Bent Creek and North Mills River. This is the road
that heads up the hill to the right just before you get to the North
Mills River campground. And if money is no object and you want
to eat and sleep in style, check out the Bent
154, 269, 102 fpm over last 0.88 miles
||667 fpm (over 0.06 miles)
||Maximum half mile:
Paddle Page (includes a virtual
tour, the latest parking
news and loads of great
Visnius's Boofin the Green (Tom's 1991 notes for a
planned guide to running every drop in the Narrows); American
Whitewater's Green Narrows Page.
||Bob and David Benner's Carolina
Whitewater: A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas
of the Green River Gamelands
Green River Photo Archive
||A cautionary tale by the late Scott
Narrows Trip Report.
Consider bringing your mountain bike. The Bent Creek, Mills
River, DuPont State Forest and Davidson River mountain biking areas
are all within an hour of the Green (read about them on J.
My home river. Though about a decade beyond its days on the
cutting edge, the steepest .55 mile of the Narrows is still
has some tilt and challenge to it, with the 11 major rapids strewn
along a riverbed falling at an average rate of 418 feet per mile.
The entire run is a little under three miles with an average
gradient of 177 fpm. It was first paddled in its entirety by
Tom Visnius and John Kennedy in November, 1988.
The Green runs daily much of the year, though the releases can be
as short as four hours or at levels too low to boat. The 1-800
number in the gauge section above allows you to access information
about the reservoir height. A full reservoir is 100
feet; releases are much more likely when the reservoir is over
98 feet. The most common flow is 1 unit at 100%. The run gets
boney with much less water (almost no one paddles the Narrows at
less than 90% and if they do they almost always walk Gorilla and
Sunshine, both of which get harder with less water). Somewhere
between 160-200% the Narrows get pushy enough that folks often start
walking some drops they ordinarily run. The hole at the base
of the drop following Gorilla's main drop gets notably sticky as
levels rise; I've always walked it at 200%.
Generating one unit of power at 100% releases 216 cfs of water
into the river; a 100% release one day can result in a
different amount of water in the Narrows than a 100% release
another, however. The most important reason for this is that
several tributaries enter the Green below the powerhouse. When
these tributaries are running high -- as they will after heavy rains
-- or low -- as they will much of the summer -- the flow through the
Narrows is affected. The most important of these tributaries
is the Big Hungry, which enters the Green about 100 yards downstream
of the put-in (and can itself be run as an alternate put-in after
heavy rains; the put-in for the Big Hungry is at the bridge
you'll cross if you stay on Big Hungry Road rather than turning onto
Gallimore Road on the way to the normal put-in).
Interestingly, even the time of day seems to matter: the Green
can feel like it has a little more water in it earlier in a release.
To cultivate a feeling for the subtle differences in water level,
get in the habit of checking the level of the river lapping against
or over the flat rock on the upstream end of the confluence of the
Big Hungry (here's a photo of the confluence with the Big
Hungry with the indicator rock in the foreground). With a
"true" 100%, the water is almost, but not quite, flowing
over the top of the rock. Note that on the day I took the
photo of the indicator rock the water was no where near its top.
Amusing factoid: there are at least as many variations on
the names of the drops and lines through the Narrows as there are
Narrows paddlers. In preparing this page I asked Narrows
pioneer Tom Visnius what he called the various drops. Tom
responded by posting his notes for a 1991 guide to the Narrows (Boofin
the Green). Compare the names in Tom's Appendix
(listing his names for all the rapids from the almost always dry
section below the dam, through the Upper Green and Narrows to the
Fishtop Access) to the names in his detailed rapid descriptions.
Like I said, there are at least as many variations on the
names of the drops and lines through the Narrows as there are
Narrows paddlers . . .
Fun factoid: the Green is eating its way very quickly (by
geologic time . . .) upstream. Paddlers can observe this by
the frequency with which lines and moves change from year to year as
the water cuts new paths down the mountain. A case in point:
the disappearance of the rock spin move on river right in the rapid
below Frankenstein. The brother-in-law of a paddling buddy
wrote his PhD thesis in geology on the Green. In it he
predicts that the Green will eventually eat its way into the French
Broad's watershed, capturing its waters. Imagine the
possibilities . . .