In John Wesley Powell’s Wake: Lodore, Whirlpool, and Split Mountain Canyons (June 2019)

Day 5: Canyon of Lodore

From Pot Creek, we made a short run – through Hells Half Mile Rapid (yet another moment of truth for Powell) – to a delightful, tree- and shade-rich camp at Rippling Brook (we would all learn to really appreciate shade later in the trip). The afternoon was consumed with a short, but steep, hike up to Rippling Brook Falls concealed in a grotto above the camp.

The Green River at Pot Creek
Scouting Hells Half Mile Rapid
At the bottom of Hells Half Mile
The Green River from below Rippling Brook Falls
Rippling Brook Falls
Sunset at Rippling Brook

Day 6: Whirlpool Canyon

After a quiet night, we hit the river again for a run past the spectacularly bent Mitten Park Fault to the Green’s confluence with the much more turbid Yampa River in Echo Park beneath Steamboat Rock. Lodore Canyon ends at Echo Park and we stopped here for a short hike to view some petroglyphs near Pats Draw (named for Pat Lynch, a hermit who lived in this area for some 30 years at the turn of the last century). We then continued on into Whirlpool Canyon to a camp at Jones Hole. From there we made a five-mile out-and-back hike up spring-fed Jones Hole Creek to view the Deluge Shelter pictographs. We had time when we got back to camp for sponge bath (no soap!) in the clear waters of Jones Hole Creek. 🙂

Nearing the end of Lodore Canyon
The sweeping Mitten Park Fault comes into view
The Mitten Park Fault is at the north end of Steamboat Rock
Passing the east side of Steamboat Rock
Entering Echo Park
Steamboat Rock
Petroglyphs in Pats Draw
Below the Mitten Park Fault
In Whirlpool Canyon
Hiking to the pictographs
Deluge Shelter pictographs
Deluge Shelter pictograph
Sunset at Jones Creek

Day 7: Split Mountain Canyon

Today we passed out of Whirlpool Canyon, through Island Park, and into Split Mountain Canyon at Rainbow Park. This canyon offers almost seven miles of easy but exciting rapids and is a popular day trip for local rafters. In little more than an hour, we were through the rapids and pulling out at the Split Mountain boat ramp for our first re-supply. Then it was a couple of miles downriver to Placer Point, where OARS had secured permission for us to camp on private land. We were now at the north end of the Unita Basin. From here to the head of Desolation Canyon, the Green River is nothing but flat water. Fortunately we’d brought an outboard motor. In the basin, the river passes through a mixture of private, state, and federal lands and organized campsites are almost non-existent. Finding suitable campsites for our large group was always a dicey proposition but Lars always managed to find a spot for us (although some were much better than others).

Near the end of Whirlpool Canyon
Large bison petroglyph etched in the canyon wall
The Island Park Fault at Rainbow Park
In Split Mountain Canyon
Leaving Split Mountain Canyon
Our first re-supply at the Split Mountain boat ramp
Entering the Uinta Basin
Camping at Placer Point
Sunset at Placer Point

2 thoughts on “In John Wesley Powell’s Wake: Lodore, Whirlpool, and Split Mountain Canyons (June 2019)

  1. Well, I was trying to emphasize the trip’s high points (so to speak). Anyway, it was only The LovedOne who was in any real danger, her being short and all… 😉


  2. You neglected to mention that we barely escaped with our lives from the very squishy bottom of Jones Creek! 🙂


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