When I was a child, my dad took the family on a car trip to Yellowstone NP. It was July and yet a snow storm came, and the family quickly grew weary of trying to stay warm in a tent. So, we packed up and headed south to Flaming Gorge where I recall one of the best summer adventures ever. The beauty of the canyons combined with endless swimming and boating opportunities makes this reservoir one of the nation's best. Green River is the starting point for entry into Flaming Gorge, and the city hosts an annual Flaming Gorge Days Festival in June that includes live music, food, and sporting events. There's also a scenic byway through to Flaming Gorge that's about 100 miles long. In any case, the town of Green River is a good place to stock the ice chest or otherwise get outfitted on the way to this great recreational resource.
The Green River rail yard is still very much functional, and unfortunately, the old railroad passenger terminal is still being occupied by the Union Pacific Offices. I was told at the museum that old marble floors were layered over with concrete during an effort to make the passenger lobby area suitable for office cubicles. Many windows appear to be blocked. Getting a good overview of the rail yard from the east is difficult because the overpass has obscured fencing. I did manage to take a letter slot shot though.
Near Expedition Island, but on the mainland, is the locally favorite Evers Park. There's plenty of picniking tables and lawn space, children's climbing equipment, and a great summer water attraction for the kids. Nearby, the railroad contributed an old caboose that children can climb on.
There is a walk way, or bicycle trail that travels along the river which can be easily taken within an hour. I started at Expedition Island and stopped at an overpass where I returned to the truck, the map shows that Green River has a considerable acreage of park land and wetland preserves associated with this walk.
The actual launch site for John Wesley Powell's adventure, that eventually resulted in his navigating the Grand Canyon, began at Expedition Island on the Green River. The site has been faithfully preserved as a park and there are bridges reaching the island from either bank of the river.
The Sweetwater County Museum is easy to find on Flaming Gorge Street, the main avenue in town. A larger than lifesize statue of John Wesley Powell stands out front of the former Green River Post Office. The building itself has been faithfully restored to retain the stone flooring inside and other features of the Post Office that would be costly to build in today's economy.
The Mormans and Oregon Trail pioneers originally traveled through the northern corner of Sweetwater County, over the famous South Pass, where the uphill climb is so gradual and wide that pioneers pulling wagons could only discern the continental divide by the evidence of streams draining east or west. The Green River Valley in contrast was a risky option at the time. However, later miners settle the area, and among the better displays of this historic period is that of the regrettable massacre and burning of Chinatown in Rock Springs, during September of 1885. The rivalry among coal miners at this time was terrific. This was also the period of John Wesley Powell, and the museum owns several artifacts from his expedition.
The County Museum tour (which is free) begins with a description of the geological origins of the Green River Valley and of the evidence for dinosaurs that once lived there. Then, there is an exceptional small town display of artifacts from Native Americans, and of the first French Fur Trappers that entered the valley in the first decade of the 19th century. Shoshone and Arapaho were the main tribes that inhabited the region around Green River.
A good starting point for appreciation of the town and region is offered free at the Sweetwater County Museum. The museum is located in the classic old postal building on Business 80, otherwise known as Flaming Gorge Road, in Green River. The museum is well organized and provides a complete overview of the history of region, from pre-historic Native American artifacts to an education al display about modern Trona mining. For children and adults alike, the creative modeled displays for each epoch in the history of Green River are very illuminating and are provided in this sequence of images
We had a good night sleep and today seems to be our lucky day. Today 'The Great Race' is coming through Green River. I love old cars, so we're staying in town for a couple of hours to take a look at it.
We can't stay to long, because we have another 285 kilometers to go today!
There are 85 cars participating in this race from Tacoma (Washington) to Haverhill (Massachusetts). All the cars are pre-1951 and have to drive the 4000 miles in 14 days.
It is fun to watch all the cars driving into town. I wouldn't take a detour to watch this race, but it is worth while to take a look at when it is in the neighbourhood.
There are a few interesting homes in Green River, but most interesting is the setting in which they are found. Check out these examples.
Green River doesn't have the substantial collection of old architecture found in some other Wyoming towns, but there are a few exotic examples worth seeing.
The race from New York to Paris by automobile passed through Green River, and there are numerous collectible pieces as evidence from this period during the first decade of the 20th century.
A fun thing to do is either kayak or raft on the Green River. There are a few man made rapids that aren't too bad for beginners.