The Green River

The Stats


2.85 miles
Flow Direction:

Starting Elevation:

Ending Elevation:

Average Gradient:
126′ / mile

Rapid Type:
Tight bedrock rapids and falls

River Grade:  A


A dam release river stocked with quality whitewater in a beautiful setting may sound like something from a Vermont creeker’s daydream. But there’s no need to pinch yourself, the Green offers just that.  Thanks to a major effort by American Whitewater and the Vermont boating community, recreational releases have been secured on this fantastic stretch of river.   Now the ultimate wish-list item may just become a reality; guaranteed summertime creeking in the Greens.   

Ryan McCall profile picture Vermont Whitewater Kayaking

Meet Your Local Guide:

Ryan McCall

Since the flow study of 2011, Ryan has played the role of the unofficial Green River ambassador.  He is the point of contact with MWL, notifying the northeast whitewater community of upcoming release details and helping arrange parking.  Somehow he still manages to get a lap on this run nearly ever time it flows, frequently guiding folks for their first time.  If you see him on the river, be sure to say thanks.


Homebase: Montpelier, VT

Local Runs:  The North Branch of the Winooski | The Green River


Favorite VT River: The North Branch of the Winooski
Favorite VT Rapid:  Humble Pie – Green River
Favorite Run Outside VT:  Rock Run, PA


From the take-out head west on route 15 for a little over 2 miles to Garfield Road on the right.  Take this up the hill for 3 miles to the T.  Turn right at the T across the creek and then another quick right.  Park off the right hand side of the road.  Descend the steep hill to put in below the big culvert cascade.


The takeout has varied over the years depending on permission from Morrisville Used Auto.  Typically this dealership is the takeout.  If parking here be sure to not block access to any of the cars on the lot. 


From the intersection of routes 100 and 15 in Morrisville, the dealership is found 4 miles East on route 15  If coming from Hardwick to the East, it is about 10 miles west on route 15. 


Pay attention to release notice details for parking specifics.  If parking is unavailable at Morrisville Auto, it will most likely be downstream (West) on the Lamoille ~1¾ miles at the state fishing access.


Online Gauge:
Visit The Vermont Paddlers Club website or facebook group Vermont Class V to check for posts regarding upcoming releases


Flow Range:


Visual Gauge:

stick gauge river right on downstream wall of the route 15 bridge


Flow Range:
2’3″ : Minimum

2’4″ – 2’8″ : Low

2’9″ – 3’1″ : Medium 
3’2″+  : High

The Run

Description: R McCall | Photos: Adsit Media Works

The Green River, more than just a reservoir…


It was the summer of 2008 I was in my office and a call came in on my personal phone, “I’m on my motor bike and just crossed this brook that is running full tilt and there is a class 5 rapid above a culvert and a 30’ waterfall below the culvert and whitewater for as far as I can see in the woods down river.  What do you know about this creek?”  The ramble was frantic, excited and curious.  Very much like a kid at Christmas that just came down the steps and saw a bunch of wrapped gifts under the tree.  This wasn’t the first call nor would it be the last of this kind I’d receive from Dave Packie.  Once I was able to ask what road he was on, I could narrow down what waterway he was looking at.  It appeared that he had just come across the Green River below the outflow of the Green River Reservoir.  The flow he saw was a capacity test from the entity that owned the Dam at the reservoir…. in the middle of the summer.  A whitewater release in the summer, in VT, WHAT?!?!?!?! 


I walked over to the Dam Engineering Division and asked a couple of the engineers what the story was with the Dam and if there were provisions for releases on this project.  I was provided the FERC license for the facility and was told flat out that there was never enough water for releases.  That moment in 2008 was in earnest, the beginning of the long and arduous process that ultimately has gotten boaters scheduled releases from Morrisville Water and Light (MWL) on the Green River from their hydro project.  It is now 2021 and the new FERC License and ANR 401 Water Quality Certificate has yet to be issued due to repeated appeals from MWL.  However, at this point we do receive releases a few times a year on request from the boating community. 


The Green had its first descent in the Fall of 2010 but a large group of high caliber boaters that were scared off of the usual suspects that day due to high flows.  It was wood choked and stomping.  The river wasn’t run again until the spring of 2011.  I was on that mission.  The wood was still present and the snow in the gorge was hellish deep to scout or portage in, but it gave boaters a good idea of the quality of the river and potential for having a releasable whitewater creek run in VT.


The next time it was run, Dave Packie, Robert Palmer (No not the 80s pop singer) and I ran it on Memorial Day.  The flow was medium and the weather was perfect.  We found that most of the wood was manageable and that with a little work this would be an instant VT Classic.  About that time Bill and Joan Hildreth also were jazzed up about the run.  At some point Bill, Dave and I contacted AW about setting up a flow study for the river which happened in the fall of 2011 and set the stage for future releases.




Times when you can paddle the Green… 

  • When the reservoir is full and spilling over the dam. MWL generate power and needs to get the reservoir below the top of the dam.
  • When MWL is conducting a capacity test on its two turbines at the hydro facility.
  • When ISO New England has a peaking day
  • In the Spring when MWL has excess water coming into the reservoir
  • When boaters ask for flow and MWL has water to provide
  • Eventually, when the release schedule is implemented in accordance with the FERC License and when MWL time-shifts rain events to weekends for recreational releases.




River Levels – Because the flow of this river is predicated on the release from the MWL hydro project, knowing the level remotely is not possible.  There are official stick gauges at the takeout bolted to the VT Route 15 bridge and another one that is upstream of the Garfield Road culvert.  These gauges are synchronized.  Meaning, if the flow on the up river gauge is reading 2’8” the down river gauge will eventually read 2’8” as well, once the flow/bubble gets to that point.  It has been determined that once MWL turns on a turbine and the water leaves the penstock, it takes approximately 1 hour for the flow to get to the put in below Garfield Rd. and an additional 3 hours to get down to Route 15.

Scott Gilbert boofs the waterfall Moonshine on The Green River Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
Scott Gilbert boofs Moonshine - photo Adsit Media Works

The regularly run section (Class IV/V) of the Green starts just below the culvert on Garfield Rd. in Hyde Park.  The upper section (Class II) starts just below the dam and take out is above Garfield Road.  The put in for the Green is a hike down into the gorge below the culvert.  This section is class 3 and busy.  It’s a good warm up, however collects wood, so be on the look out for river wide strainers. 


Shortly below the put in is the first major rapid, Moonshine (V).  This is a 10 foot vertical falls that you need to get a look at for the first time before running it and its advisable to get eyes on it every time you run the river to make sure it is clean.  There is an eddy on river right above the drop or you can walk down river to get eyes on it before you put on.  Its tricky, tall and the pool is shallow, so you had better have a solid boof.

There is the option to run Plop Plop Fizz Fizz (V+) that drops violently over a ledge into a constricted notch with a retentive hole, fun.  This drop has become increasingly less inviting over the last 10 years as the river has cut deeper in this section pulling in more water.  Believe it or not this was the sneak to Moonshine.


Directly below Moonshine is Double Squeeze (III+).  As you sit in the pool below Moonshine, you have a 4 foot ledge to boof and then busy water before you make the right to left move not to get shoved under an undercut boulder.  Do not try to run it along side a fellow boater or someone is getting squeezed under the boulder. Eddy out after Double squeeze or continue down to where the river splits, take the hard right to stay in the primary flow

After a few bends in the river you will go around a sweeping right hand bend and accelerate into Sleeper (III).  You can run it center down a sloping ledge or loop out wide to river right and catch a nice boot off a ledge a few feet off the river right bank and boof over a hole.  Don’t get lazy and let the river push you all the way right though because it’s a sure piton and drop into the “Sleeper Hole”.


Lamo (III) is the next rapid of note and is a double ledge.  Its fun and simple and can be sticky on high flows.  I’ve seen wood in the entrance to this rapid, so keep an eye out and there is currently wood directly below, So eddy out and get an eye on the situation.


As you depart Lamo the river veers left and you are on a straight away to Plugger (III).  There is a hemlock across the river above this rapid, but you can sneak it and there are several eddies before the drop in earnest.  There are two lines to Plugger, boof the middle off the pillow or the right side boof.  If you run right, make sure you get your boof stroke.  I’ve seen many good boaters swim out of that hole. 


Plugger is the last rapid of the upper gorge placing you in the “Inner Sanctum” or flats of the run.  Enjoy the scenery and float.  Keep one eye on the river though because the flats do collect wood and there has always been at least one mandatory portage at this point due to wood shifting around.

Scott Gilbert lines up on Double Squeeze rapid Green River Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
Scott Gilbert lining up to avoid the undercut on Double Squeeze - photo Adsit Media Works

As you leave the flats, you enter the lower gorge.  The next rapid is Young Buck (V).  When you see a horizon line, make sure you eddy out and get a look at the rapid.  It’s a multi move rapid that has serious consequences if you flip or exit your boat (swim).  The rock is undercut and there is substantial wood lodged in potholes in the bottom of the river.  Know your line and your ability before you jump into this one.


Below Young Buck is Cookie Duster (III+).  This is fun and is a surfy right to left rapid that drops over a 3 foot ledge.  Stay in the flow and don’t get shoved against the river right boulder at the ledge.

The river boogies on for a ways and then pools up. Get out in the slack water to get a look at Humble Pie (V) before you run it.  The center piece of the Green and one of the most rewarding drops in VT.  You want to know your line and understand what a late boof is.  The lead in is a speedy class III stretch to an 11 foot drop.  By the time you are at the drop you are hauling, but it’s a rolling lip and does require a little effort to clean the hole at the bottom of the drop.  This hole likely houses the Cracken in its depths.  Line of choice is off the left side of the falls.  Snag and eddy in the slack water before the next ledge, gather your thoughts and composure and look back up stream at the drop you just ran.  It’s awesome.

Ben Schott enters Young Buck - photo Adsit Media Works

Now look down stream at what you are about to head into.  It’s the longest continuous section on the river.  Do-SI-Do (IV) is serving it up as far as you can see down river.  You bob and weave down the river over ledges and boulder drops right up until the rivers is squeezed in between a large boulder on river left and the river right wall.  At this point hug the boulder and follow the green water tongue directly behind the boulder and down the ramp.  There are two ledge holes you need to clear before you get a breather in an eddy.  Pick your moves wisely over the following ledges because they are sharp and will cheese grate your boat easily (I’ve cracked a boat twice in this location). 

Scott Gilbert launches Humble Pie on the Green River Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
Scott Gilbert looking for the delayed boof on Humble Pie - photo Adsit Media Works

Below the Do-Si-Do progression you have lots of boogie that leads up to the Twin Ledges (III+).  A fun rapid you can eddy out on river right midway through.  It only gets better at higher flows.


Next up is Lumber Yard (IV).  Eddy out river left below the green iron bridge and get a look at your line.  The river splits around an island at the crux move.  I’ve run river right once.  It is a boat eater and really no fun at all.  The river left line though is one of the better boofs on the river.  At lower levels the left prow will send you airing out nicely setting you up for the bottom of the rapid.  At higher flows the right prow will do the same with more air time.  You do have to make an effort to get on these prows though.  Drifting into the drop will shove you left and against the wall – going too far right will put you over a spout and potentially into the “lumber yard”.  This is another rapid you do not want to be upside down in or swim. 

Directly below Lumber Yard is some fun tight class III boogie with Zig-Zag (III) and Boa (III).  Read and run stuff.


After Boa is Runway (IV).  It’s a long rapid that you start right and then get left on and follow the channel down and off the ledge.  If you ride the green water get a paddle full and yank a big old boof.  Snag an eddy and get your breath for the last rapid…  Be cautions, the left channel of Runway can catch wood and early season runs have encountered ice dams here.

Almost directly following Runway you drift into the top of Piton (IV).  Piton also has two channels and either go as you head down the straight away.  Once you see the wall in front of you and the river jagging hard right get ready to get river right as far as you can and rip a huge boof stroke.  Any further than 1 foot off river right bank and you risk being driven into a piton that is backed up by a hole.  The other option is river left of center, but this option sees it choked with wood regularly.  Piton marks the end of the real whitewater. 


Below Piton you have some unnamed rapids and manky boogie water.  Always be on the look out for wood in this section too. 

Ryan McCall navigating Lumber Yard Green River Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
Ryan McCall navigates Lumber Yard - photo Adsit Media Works

Take out is on River right directly below the Route 15 bridge if we have received permission to park at Morrisville Used Auto.  Otherwise continue down to the Lamoille and paddle to the VT Fish and Game takeout 1 mile down river.

Stepping Stones

Creek VT river guide coming soon
Not quite ready for The Green? Sterling Brook is a great place to gain some micro creeking skills.
Guide to Gihon River Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
If you like The Green, The Gihon will satisfy with similar style boating, but a touch more volume.
Ridley Brook guide Vermont Whitewater Kayaking
Ready for more challenge? Ridley Brook offers more continuous boating with several class Vs to step it up.