"The Origins of the Grand Canyon Begin Here" Green River by atufft
Green River Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 76 photos
As late as 1921, when a formal House Joint Resolution declared the Green River as a tributary, the Colorado River began properly at the confluence of the Green and Grand Rivers. The Green River, which begins in Wind River Mountains of Wyoming--very close to Yellowstone--is the longer tributary, but the Colorado delegation apparently insisted that the Grand, which has a slightly larger volume of water and begins in Colorado, become renamed as part of the Colorado River. Yet, when John Wesley Powell had begun his survey and map of the Colorado River basin, he launched his rafts from Expedition Island at Green River, an event for which the town is rightly proud. In any case, the Green River as a major tributary of the Colorado is today a great starting point for one of the world's greatest river trips through the Flaming Gorge reservoir and through the Grand Canyon.
Unlike Colorado's Grand Junction, which is the largest town on the upper Colorado River, where the Grand Valley is wide enough for considerable agricultural output, Green River is contained by a spectacular backdrop of rust colored sedimentary buttes. The Green River, which receives its name from river's apparent color, creates a narrow line of vegetation and life in an otherwise starkly barren part of southwest Wyoming. Traveling west on I-80, Green River's setting is also abruptly different than the wild west high plains Wyoming towns further east, such as Laramie and Rawlins. Indeed as one drives I-80 through Green River, the freeway tunnels through a butte high above the city, offering a great overview of the city. During most of my travels through the area, I have simply driven by admiring the isolated beauty of this small town. But, recently, I decided to take the Business 80 route through town and stop for a few hours walk around. As it turned out, this was time well spent and I plan to stop by here more often to park the big rig and to relax quite near the river.
Located more than thirty miles south of South Pass, the easiest route used by Pioneers traveling west along the Oregon Trail, Green River began as a mining town within the Dakota Territory some twenty years before John Wesley Powell had arrived to launch his famous expedition. County Seat of Sweetwater County, Green River was at first by passed by the Union Pacific Railroad, but as mining of coal and trona became more important, a major rail spur was routed through the city. Today, Green River is the world's capital for Trona (a raw form of soda ash) and a major center for coal mining as it gets loaded at the city's substantial railroad yards. In the past passenger service came to Green River, but while that is long gone, the train depot and rail yards, along with the river, dominate the narrow confines of the Green River gorge.
There's a pioneer memorial near the Green River downtown park. more travel advice
The Union Pacific Rail Yard divides the city into two, and the main way that locals on foot get between downtown and the... more travel advice
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