Wood River: Brown Mountain Campground to Greybull River

CLASS - II

GRADIENT - 45 ft/mile

LENGTH - 15 to 25 miles

FLOAT TIME - 5 to 7 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Ramshorn, Carter Mt., Basin

PUT IN - Brown Mt. Campground west of Meeteetse

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - end of county road 4DT (or Meeteetse)

Wood River

USGS Gage Station CFS near Sunrise.

Wood River

 

The Wood River is a small river seldom floated because of the short time frame when flows are adequate, generally around the last week in May. The Wood begins in the Absaroka Range of the Shoshone National Forest and travels northeast to private lands and the confluence with the Greybull River west of Meeteetse. The upper section is a brief float suitable for kayakers but canoers will have a more difficult time due to low flows.

Access is reached by taking W-290 seven miles west from Meeteetse to county road 4DT. Here you turn southwest for five miles where the pavement ends at the lower bridge take-out and gaging station (small oil field area on state land). Continue on the dirt road for 11 miles to the forest boundary landing (where a small road goes to the South Fork Trail Head), and then another three miles to the upper put-in at Brown Mountain Campground. If the volume of water is too low at this point, you can generally put in below the Middle Fork.

This upper run in the national forest travels east in a narrow Class II section comprised of fairly fast water, some downed timber, a few tight turns, and several rocky stretches. This is a pretty mountain valley with a nice view of snow capped peaks to the west, forested hillsides on the south, and open woods on the north. The float past the Middle Fork Confluence and Wood River Campground to the forest boundary takes about one hour.

Beginning at the forest boundary, the river swings northeast past the South Fork where the valley widens. This is still a solid Class II section and the danger of logjams persists. Here the willow lined river travels through hay meadows and past stands of cottonwood. It takes about two hours to float down to a small bridge and there are eight fences in this stretch. Downstream a couple of miles (and a couple of fences) is a portage at a small diversion dam. A bit further is a county bridge and after two more miles is the lower bridge gaging station and take-out (upstream and on river right). Float time from the forest boundary is about three hours.

The one hour float down to the confluence with the Greybull River is nearly continuous Class II rapids with many sharp bends and possible strainers (Class III conditions during peak runoff). There are several fences and a couple of small diversion ditches, but no dams. There is not a public landing at the W-290 Bridge so you will need to ask permission to trespass or float the six mile stretch of the Greybull River down to Meeteetse.

Photo Caption (image not shown): The Wood River in the national forest is a narrow Class II with downed timber, a few tight turns, and several rocky stretches.