Trip Report – Desolation Gray

September 16 – 24, 2022

By Louise R.

If you are looking for a challenging whitewater canoe trip in the canyons of the southwest, Desolation Gray Canyon on the Green River might be for you. 

Our group met at the campsite on the afternoon of September 15 and launched on the morning of September 16. Vehicle shuttle arrangements were made with a local outfitter.

We paddled down 84 miles, from Sand Wash to Swaseys Rapid boat Ramp. The river was flowing approximately 1800 cfs. When camping, we camped at some designated campsites and on open riverbanks. Most of the east side of the riverbank was on Ute Tribal land and off limits to all uses. 

Several of these rapids were challenging. We took the time to scout/read the river and line the canoes through the rocks of the most challenging rapids. 

When preparing for a Desolation Gray trip, bringing enough water is incredibly important. The water in the Green River is not drinkable and cannot filter due to the silt content. There is a freshwater spring about halfway down the river where you can filter to refill water supply. We recommended packing full water bottles and at least 20 liters of water per canoe. Packing 2 to 3 10-liter water jugs seemed to work well over a 9-day trip. 

If prepared, this is a challenging, but fun canyon trip and great geology.