Greybull River: Jack Creek Campground to Meeteetse

CLASS - II (III)

GRADIENT - 65 ft/mile

LENGTH - 25 miles

FLOAT TIME - 8 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Carter Mt., Basin

PUT IN - Jack Creek Campground west of Meeteetse

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - Meeteetse

Greybull River

USGS Gage Station CFS at Meeteetse.

Greybull River

 

The Greybull River is a terrific Class II and III run that is often overlooked by boaters. Access is reached by taking W-290 west from Meeteetse to a small junction in about five miles. Here you can take county road 4EU across the river and view some of the river from the north side. (Road 4EU later connects with 5WT and rejoins the Pitch Fork Road and the end of W-290). Continuing on W-290, you cross the Wood River and the pavement ends after seven miles.

Stay west on the Pitch Fork Road and in five miles you come to the Pickett Creek Road going northwest. Continue west and the road temporarily leaves the river as it makes a long climb up to the Jacks Creek Campground (22 miles from Meeteetse).

Beginning at the campground, the river makes a short half-mile run through a narrow restriction with a Class III rating. Below this little run is solid Class II with intermittent sections of Class III. You enter the "S" turns about one hour from the put-in. This run has about five sharp bends and rates a solid Class III (or IV depending on the runoff). Downstream a couple of miles is a small diversion and a fence across the river. Here Willow Creek empties into the Greybull River.

Below Willow Creek the country begins to open up. Two miles downstream is a small oil field area and the first bridge (with another fence). The river begins to ease up a bit where Pickett Creek comes in from the left and you have a three mile float to the Pickett Creek Bridge. (There was a nasty wire under the bridge when I floated here last.) Float time from the campground to here is about four hours.

Just below the Pickett Creek Bridge is a diversion dam requiring a portage and the hour section down to the 5WT Bridge has a couple of fences. During the next two hours to the Wood River Confluence and 4EU Bridge, the river begins traveling through a small trough. Here there are a few channel selections and sharp turns with the possibility of small logjams. This section also contained 11 fences!

It takes about one hour to float from the 4EU Bridge to Meeteetse and there was only one fence that I encountered. Float time from the Pickett Creek Bridge to Meeteetse is about four hours. The section below Meeteetse runs through a wide arid valley with beautiful stands of cottonwood and eroded pink buttes. If you decide to do this stretch, you'll probably need to take out by Bighorn County Road-5 (about 30 miles east of Meeteetse) because there is a serious irrigation dewatering problem below. You will also need to ask for permission to trespass because there are no public landings.

Photo Caption (image not shown): The Greybull River offers continuous Class II rapids with a few Class III runs on the upper end.