Derek Dephouse, Upper Green River, NC.  Copyright Chris Bell.  Click for larger image. Green River, NC




(2 @ III+)


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 is released just upstream of the put-in.
Character: Cruising run with one very modest play wave and two drops big enough to get the blood pumping
Scenery: Very pretty, with dense rhododendron covering the hillsides much of the run
Distance from Downtown Asheville: 40 minutes to take out, 40 minutes to put in
Length: 3.7 miles
Season: All year (dam release)
Other sections: Green Narrows (IV-V, 2 @ V+), Lower Green (I-II)
Put-in: Downstream side of the Pot Shoals Road Bridge
Take-out: End of trail from Gallimore Road (0.6 mile hike):  here's a photo of the parking area end of trail you'll be hiking out;  the take-out is about 100 yards downstream of a surfing wave.  If you reach a major stream coming in on your left (the Big Hungry River), you've come too far.  Hike your boat back to the take-out about 100 yards upstream to avoid entering the Green Narrows (IV-V, 2 @ V+).  See note in bold below and section on take-out parking news!
Directions from Asheville (to take-out): Take I-26 South to Exit 53 (Hendersonville / Upward Road).  Turn left 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.  After you've parked, consider hiking down to the river so you'll know where to take out.  To get there, head 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:  park on Big Hungry Road near the turnoff onto Gallimore Road.  When your trip is over, leave your boats at the trailhead and walk or thumb back to your car.  Return to pick up your boats and friends.  Or not if it was a particularly bad day!  ;-)
Shuttle: Return to I-26.  Head South to Exit 54 ("to Greenville, 225, to 176, to 25").  After 1.8 miles exit right onto 176 ("Saluda, E. Flat Rock");  turn left at the T-intersection at the bottom of the ramp onto East 176 ("Spartanburg Highway").  Follow 176 east about 2 miles, then turn sharply left onto Pot Shoals Road (if you cross a bridge high over the Green you've gone a bit too far).  You'll find the river and the put-in about three-quarters of a mile down Pot Shoals Road.
Other access points: None that I know of, though there are signs of access by non-boaters a couple places.
Camping: 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:  Lake Powhatan, North 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 Recreation Area.

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 Creek Lodge.


Gradient: Upper Green elevation profile.  Copyright Chris Bell.  Click for larger image.
  Average: 49 fpm
  By mile: 3.7 miles:
53, 48, 43, 54 fpm (over the last 0.72 miles)
  Maximum: 80 fpm (over 0.25 miles)
  Maximum half mile: 70 fpm
  Maximum mile: 55 fpm
  Online: American Whitewater's Rivers PageJeff Tallman's Green River Page
  Print: Bob and David Benner's Carolina Whitewater:  A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas (but note that what they describe as the put-in is actually the take-out, a critical error given that what is downstream is the Green Narrows (IV-V, 2 @ V+).
Maps: MapQuest Map of the Upper Green Shuttle:  Gallimore Road is in the map's extreme right corner;  the put-in is the star in the middle of the map's bottom edge -- you'll have to re-center the map slightly to see the entire route.
Photos: Green River Photo Archive
Other: Consider taking a hike after you've recovered from huffing your boat up the hill to the parking lot.  Here's an online brochure describing some of the hikes in the area:  Trails of the Green River Gamelands.  To hike into the heart of the infamous Green River Narrows, turn right onto Big Hungry Road as you drive back out Gallimore Road from the take-out (rather than the left you'll need to take to get back to the highway).  Drive 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 Gnarrs), the Prayer Zone and Pencil Sharpener!].  The hike in takes 45 minutes to an hour.

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. Mitchell's MTB WNC page).



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 is boney but runnable at 100%;  it is much better with more water (200% is a great level).

Though a very pleasant run, there are just three features of note:  (John) Bayless' Boof (the first class III+), a fairly sticky  hole just downstream of Bayless' Boof, and Pinball (the second class III+).  You can tell you've come to Bayless' Boof when you see an island with horizon lines on both sides.  Scout the drop from the left side of the river;  I've always run Bayless' Boof on a tongue of water left of center on the left side of the island with a little left angle and momentum.  If you run without the left angle you run the risk of tagging an underwater rock at the bottom, surfing the hole, or both.  The sticky hole is at the bottom of a ledge two hundred yards or so downstream of Bayless' Boof.  The ledge is high enough to create a mini horizon line.  Run it on the left with some speed.  Pinball is a double drop a short distance downstream of the I-26 bridge.  It is an easy boat scout.  It too is run left of center.  Here are three shots (all taken from midstream) of a low-water run:  Derek Dephouse at the top of Pinball's first drop, Derek at the bottom of the first drop and Derek at the top of the second drop.  There is a modest but playable wave about a hundred yards upstream of the take out.

The greatest hazard on this stretch of river is not the rapids, but the many strainers created by fallen trees.  Be alert for them.  The nature of the run is such that you'll see the strainers in time to avoid them, but do be alert.  Someone with poor boat control could easily get in trouble on one of them.


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Revised: November 12, 2003.

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