The Floater's Guide to Wyoming Rivers

Copyright 1991, 2012 by Dan Lewis

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing by the author.

Published by the Wyoming Naturalist, Douglas, Wyoming 82633.



This river guide to Wyoming is intended to be just that - only a guide. The text details the conditions that I found at the time I was there. The classification of a river or a section of a river is at best a judgement call - use your own judgement and good common sense to determine your ability to navigate a river.

Rivers are constantly changing. Water flow due to runoff or releases from storage reservoirs may vary considerably. Fallen trees, logjams, snags, and other obstacles may turn sections of a river from an easy float for the beginner on one day to an impassable segment for the experienced on the next day. Severe weather conditions may radically alter a river classification. Scouting ahead to determine conditions and to asses your ability to safely navigate the river is strongly recommended.

This guide is not a permit to trespass. Considerable effort has been extended to determine public access points - when in doubt, ask first. The author and publisher assume no responsibility regarding: loss of time or monies, equipment damage, or personal injury. You navigate the rivers outlined in this guide at your own risk.




I wanted to spend an entire summer floating the rivers of Wyoming - it ended up being three summers. I began thinking about and planning this adventure with my typical romantic outlook and my typical glorification of the probable hardships. As usual, the hardships were much less appealing than my romanticism led me to believe. Cold, wet, scared, lonely, exhausted, blistered, frustrated, ignorant, angry, sick, bug bitten, intimidated and delirious with Colorado tick fever are but a few of the adjectives associated with my discomforts.

However, as with many opposition's in my life, the yin and the yang, there was considerable compensation for my troubles and the act of "doing". It is this compensation that serves as a driving force in my life. Here I do not mean the feeling of satisfaction one may get from the accomplishment of a difficult task. The compensation I speak of has "word labels" such as: being here now, one with the universe, getting in touch, and having the force with you.

For me these are the occasions when the simple and beautiful act of just living takes place. Time lulls to a near stand still while emotions flood and surge through the body. The long rays of afternoon light acquires a certain hue from young green leaves and it is felt with your body, not just captured with your eyes. Delicate sounds, such as a beaver gently chewing tender roots or the soft cooing of doves, are suddenly no longer perceived by the ear only, but also by the network of nerves from the back of the neck to the tips of the toes. It is at these times that I feel not like an intruder or outsider, but a wholesome part of the living taking place around me.

For me it is the act of doing that triggers these occasions of inner realization. The role canoeing or kayaking plays is that of a tool to access those triggers.

From a small book I read almost every night, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: "Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own food..The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors...You can not travel within and stand still without...for you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love."

I would like to thank my family for their love and support. I thank my friends for their help and for being good kind people. I also thank the boaters who helped to provide valuable information on certain sections of rivers. Finally, I wish to thank all of the nice people who gave me a ride when I was walking back to my truck.