The Upper Green is an excellent intro to creek boating with frequent optimal dam releases making it readily available. The 3.7 mile long run alternates between Scenic Class I-II and more defined bedrock drops. Two drops in particular, Bayless' Boof and Pinball offer Class III+/IV excitement. Bayless' is easy to scout and portage, but pinball far less so. Follow the left of center tongue on Pinball and hold on.
Perhaps the only downside to the Upper Green is the significant uphill hike-out, and the lack of public parking at the top of the hill. The hike out begins on river left just upstream of Big Hungry Creek. Pass Big Hungry and you'll quickly find yourself in the Class V Narrows.
You'll need to purchase a key to the private take out parking lot to make this run work, and please avoid using the two "public" parking spaces as they are reserved for hunters.
While there is no online gauge for the Green, Duke Power posts a rolling 3-day generation / release schedule online. You can find it here https://lakes.duke-energy.com/index.html#/flow You have to use the dropdown menu to get to the Green / Broad river basin. As of this writing the generation is given in % of unit(s). !00% of one unit is an OK level, especially when it has been raining and you are also getting inflow from side creeks. Anything less than 100% is bony (unless a lot of inflow). 200% is a sweet level.
The following description is courtesy of The Asheville Area Boating Beta Page (boatingbeta.com). To view it in a new window, click here.
(2 @ III+)
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 18 (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 2 (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.
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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About 1/2 mile into the run you will come to a "real" island which splits the river; about 50 yards below this island the main flow collides with the mildly undercut left bank. Look where you want to go and veer right. Don't get "Stuffed" under the left bank. This rapid was purportedly named after a large BBQ sandwich formerly served at the Green River BBQ in Saluda.
After the Stuffer there is a small stretch of riffly rapids, then a pool with a well used beach on the left (for scouting). The river is split by an island. Most people run left of the island driving left on the obvious left side tongue. Boof stroke as you go over the final portion of the drop to avoid hitting (or pitoning) the rocks in the foam at the bottom.
Immediately following Bayless Boof is a horizon line with a small mid river island with 90% of the flow going right. At the bottom of this sloping ledge is a hole which is blown out on the far right. Most boaters run it on the right trying to just miss the hole but not piton on the right bank boulders. If you catch a bit of the hole doing this you will be OK if you just throw in a left stroke to keep your momentum going.
Immediately below Wanda's is a maze of rocks named Z Turn or Devil's Elbow. The most common line is to go from center to left (& maybe into an obvious eddy behind a boulder on the bank). From there you must get back to the right. Skirting the right side of the small hole below that 1st eddy with a little right angle will do the trick.
In the middle of a straight stretch the river goes over a mild & broken ledge. There is a surfing hole where you can do 360's on river right and another small surfing hole on the left. At the top of the rapid on river left, you can cut through the overhanging vegetation into a grotto where a cool creek enter the Green. This place is purportedly popular for "Safety Meetings".
Broken ledge with 3 main lines; most common line is a 3 ft boof about 5 ft from the right bank. Alternate line on left and right center.
After passing under I-26 there is a flatwater stretch followed by a riffly rapids leading to a horizon line. Run this left to center.
Double drop ledge(s). Run the 1st slightly left of center through a notch (you have to approach right of center and follow the current left). At the bottom of the 1st drop you want to move left but wait about 8 ft until you clear the slightly submerged rock - then move left 3-6 ft. Second drop is a smooth & splashy slide.
After Pinball there is a series of shoal type rapids until you get to somewhat of a horizin line for the last rapid, about a hundred yards above the takeout. It's a pretty good glassy wave, changes a little from year to year.
There's really dangerous wood in Devil's Elbow as of 3/27/2020. See the alert above.
awesome run for begginers..as long as there with a strong and smart paddler to be safe.
wood is out of wandas hole
As of last summer there's a new strainer on the left about 30 feet below wanda's
On 12/18/05 there were many (45) riverwide strainers, due to a recent Ice storm. 15 or so required portage. Be careful.
the upper green run has new wood in many locations due to recent flooding,notably Pinball rapid, do not run the left boof line there is a large tree in the middle pool. the conventional line is tight but can be done.the flow was 200% + on 9/22/04 ,at 100% some of the strainers may require portaging
6 days ago
by Stratford Douglas
6 months ago
by Lee H Thonus
1 year ago
by Elizabeth Lockemer
11 years ago
There is no online gauge. You can go to the following link to get Duke's rolling 3-day planned generation / release schedule. https://lakes.duke-energy.com/index.html#/flow Remember that you need to use the dropdown menu to switch to the Green / Broad river basin. Releases are expressed in % of units. 100% of 1 unit is an OK level. 200% is sweet.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Most people running the Upper Green start at the takeout parking area on Gallimore Rd. On I-26 take exit 53 (Upward Rd) and head east (this is the Marathon gas side of I-26) In about 1.5 miles there will be two churches side by side; just past those churches turn right onto Big Hungry Rd. Once on Big Hungry, you must bear left then bear right to stay on Big Hungry. Next turn right onto Gallimore Rd. At the end of Gallimore Rd at the circle, there is a gated parking lot on the right. It is maintained by Green River Access; keys are $60 per year. This link takes you to the GRA site. http://greenriveraccess.com/ An alternate method of finding the parking lot is to plug in 825 Gallimore Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731 into your GPS.
To get to the put in return to I-26 and head East to exit 54 (rte 25 south). On rte 25, take exit 7 (rte 176) and turn left onto 176. As you pass Never Blue road you should slow down a little as the next turn is a left onto Pot Shoals road and it is a falling away hairpin turn than you want to take slowly. Take Pot shoals about 1/2 mile to the put in. There is a rather obvious parking area as you cross the bridge.
You can also get to the put in from Gallimore by returning to Upward Rd but turning left onto Crest Rd before you get to I-26. After Crest Rd crosses over I-26, immediately turn left onto Oak Grove Rd. Oak Grove takes you to rte 176, turn left and follow it to Pot Shoals.
Upper Green Hemlock Treatment Day
Ryan J. at 360 Hole
Nathan H at Bayless
Curtis - Takeout Rapid/wave
Kevin @ No Name Ledge
Horace @ No Name ledge
Tom @ 2 above Pinball
Pinball - Overview
Noah Randall on the Upper Green River
Joe running Bayless
Running Bayless for the first time
DN Running RR at Bayless Boof
How not to run Bayless Boof.
Great day on Upper Green
Surf wave at the Upper Green takeout
Afternoon on the Green
Pinball Rapid Upper Green N.C.
Bayless Double run
fun above the Narrows . . . Bayless' Boof
Rob McVie at Bayless
Rob McVie at Bayless Boof
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
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Last year, Northbrook Energy purchased the Tuxedo Hydropower Project from Duke Energy. This hydropower project provides the flows for the Class III+ Upper Green, the Class V Narrows, and the Class II Lower Green - all of which are popular whitewater runs. As the sale was underway, American Whitewater and others advocated for assurances in the contract that recreational releases would continue to follow a predictable pattern and be communicated as a forecast online. The contract contains these guarantees for the public, and earlier today river users got on the phone with the power company for a positive conversation confirming the 2020 schedule.
Earlier today Duke Energy announced the pending sale of five hydropower dams in western North and South Carolina to Northbrook Energy. The pending sale includes the Tuxedo Hydropower Project, which regulates flows in the popular Green River below Lake Summit. Recreational releases and flow information will be continued under new ownership through a non-regulatory approach based on collaboration with American Whitewater and other leaders in the paddling community.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has released their draft management plan for the Green River Gamelands in North Carolina. This plan addresses all uses and activities in the iconic Green River Narrows, as well as the Class III+ Upper Green and the Class II Lower Green. This place and this plan are important to many paddlers in the southeast and across the globe. You can review the plan, and send in a comment by January 16th, 2015.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting a public meeting to discuss a new management plan for the Green River Gamelands on the evening of August 1, 2013. The new plan will inform how the Green River is protected and managed for at least the next decade. The meeting announcement specifically welcomes kayakers and other recreationists to attend the meeting and offer their opinions.
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