Green River

Founded In: 1868

Population: 12,515

Elevation:  6,100 feet

Median Income: $53,164

Chamber of Commerce:  http://www.grchamber.com/

Green River was incorporated in 1868 on the banks of none other than the Green River. The city is known for being the starting point for John Wesley Powell’s famous expeditions of the Green River, the Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon.

The town was originally supposed to be a mere division point for the Union Pacific, but by the time the railroad arrived, the town had grown considerably and the land was too expensive, therefore, the division point was moved, and a new town, Bryan, formed 12 miles away. When this happened, the town shrank from nearly 2000 to 101 and almost became a ghost town. However, luckily for Green River, a drought caused Blacks Fork to dry up and the division moved back to Green River ensuring enough water for the steam engines. Thereby, Bryan overtook Green River’s ghost town demise.

 

Climate 

Green River, like most of Wyoming, experiences a semi-arid climate. Winters are long, cold and dry, and summers are hot with a bit more precipitation.

 

Economy

Green River’s economy is planted firmly in mining, particularly the mining of trona ore. With the world’s largest known deposit of trona ore, the Green River Basin mines employ over 2000 people. These five mines can produce soda ash from the trona much more cheaply than the west of the world. Companies in the area that control the mining industry include: FMC Corporation, OCI, Wyoming LP, and Solvay Chemicals Inc.

In addition to trona, the area also has shale oil and natural gas. Although miners face difficult eradicating oil and gas due to hard rock, companies such as Halliburton and Exxon, among others, have increased well drilling and oil exploration in the area.

The Green River works together with the Union Pacific Railroad to bring industry to the area. The river is used as a means of transporting lumber for building.

Finally, as with many areas in Wyoming, Green River has a large agricultural base including cattle and horses, as well as tourism.

 

Things to Do 

Surrounded by the river’s natural beauty and towering multi-colored buttes, Green River offers a variety of ways to spend time. First, consider spending some time at Expedition Island Park (http://www.cityofgreenriver.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/12). This is the site where John Wesley Powell began his expeditions. In addition to walking paths around the island, there is also a nature trail, picnic area, sporting fields, and playground equipment.

Consider also spending some time on the Green River. The Green River Whitewater Park and Tubing Channel (http://www.cityofgreenriver.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/41) is accessible from Expedition Island Park. Here, you can spend time relaxing on the beach or going down a 1,200-foot tubing channel in a kayak, canoe, or inner tube. If you are an advanced boater, you can try your luck at the Castle Falls Feature, which has high-speed white water.

Other accessible spots include:

  • Jamestown just upstream from Green River
  • Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (See below for more information)

Want to get wet but aren’t sure about the river? Then Evers Park might be what you are looking for. This free public park offers six different motion-activated water features, offering the perfect solution for beating the summer heat.

Hiking is a must if you are in Green River. Simply head to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ashley/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5212203) about 20 miles away. In addition to hiking, you can enjoy the beautiful lake by renting a boat or launching your own from one of the many marinas.

Southwestern Wyoming has a high desert climate that resulted from an ancient lake. The lake receded and dried up thousands of years ago, leaving behind soil formed by the erosion of sandstone and shale. This has left stunning rock formations. Some of the most famous in the area are:

  • Castle Rock: Located near downtown Green River, this formation has also been known as the Citadel, Indian Head Rock, and Green River Butte. The layers are rich with fossils.
  • The Palisades: This area was used to cross Green River during low water and has been the subject for many painter and photographers.
  • Tollgate Rock: Early day pioneers cut a road through this natural gate and charged people to use the road. This formation is 6,440 feet above sea level and is a sight not to be missed.
  • Pilot Butte: This is the second highest point in the region at 7.949 feet tall. It has been used as a landmark since people first came to the region. You can hike the butte to a breathtaking, panoramic view.
  • Kissing Rocks: Depending on where you are located, the two rocks appear to be kissing or pulling away from a kiss. Native Americans believed the rocks to be spirits of two lovers from opposing tribes that were doomed to spend the rest of their lives just out of reach of each other.
  • Boar’s Tusk: This formation is the core of an ancient volcano. Getting there is difficult, but possible, and best reached by four-wheel drive vehicle.

Another beautiful area is the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/seedskadee/). Here, you can tube on the river and hike throughout the area viewing the incredible wildlife. Protecting more than 27,000 acres of habitats along the Green River, the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 220 bird species as well as moose, mule deer, white-tailed jackrabbits, coyotes, foxes, and more.

To add a bit of history to your outdoor adventure, you’ll want to see the White Mountain Petroglyphs (https://www.tourwyoming.com/explore/sightseeing-and-attractions/white-mountain-petroglyphs.html). Hundreds of carved figures on the sandstone cliffs in the Red Desert left by the early inhabitants of the area from over 1,000 years ago depict life from that time, including: bison and elk hunts, as well as early contact with Europeans.

Winding between Rock Springs and Green River is the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop (http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Rock_Springs/wildhorses/tour.html), which is a  hard-packed gravel road between rock formations and cliffs. Between 800 and 1,000 wild horses roam the area. The best times to sight them are between sunrise and 10 am or in the early evening.

Sweetwater County Museum (http://www.sweetwatermuseum.org/) with its statue of John Wesley Powell tells the tale of the county’s history. The museum offers exhibits of early coal mining cars, a Chinese Emigrant display, descriptions of John Wesley Powell’s adventures, and more. You can also learn about the geological origins of the Green River Valley and the dinosaurs that once roamed the area. Furthermore, the museum exhibits a beautiful display of artifacts from the Native American tribes of the Shoshone and Arapaho. For even more Green River history, head to the Green River downtown park. The Pioneer Memorial reminds people of the treacherous journey required to populate the Wild West. Additionally, the Union Pacific Rail Depot and Yard is still functional, offering a present day look at the railway tracks of history.

For those that enjoy golf, spend the afternoon at the Rolling Green Country Club (http://rgccgr.com/). This 9-hole semi-private course is open from April through October and includes a learning center with a driving range and practice green. A pro-shop is available for picking up supplies, and the on-site restaurant offers delicious dining options.

Green River hosts a variety of special events and festivals throughout the year, most of which occur during the summer months. Flaming Gorge Days (http://www.flaminggorgedays.com/evers-park) is a weekend event in June that includes live music, a parade, 3-on-3 basketball, a 5K race, Festival in the Park, and golf tournament.

It would be impossible to live on the river and not celebrate. That is why each year in August, residents and guests celebrate the annual River Festival (http://www.grchamber.com/pages/river-festival-information) with fireworks, duck races, a marathon, poker run, car and bike show, bands, microbreweries, and more the festival is nothing short of exciting!

If you’re looking for a Wyoming experience, try the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo (http://www.cityofgreenriver.org/index.aspx?NID=377), which takes place in June. Known for its broncs, barrels, and bulls, this rodeo was voted the Intermountain Professional Rodeo of the Year in 2015.

 

Shopping in Green River

Shopping in Green City is a wonderful experience as you walk in and out of unique shops full of unexpected surprises. Finding the perfect gift, a little piece of Wyoming, or the right accent for your living room wall is possible in Green City.

  • Magic Wishing Well Costumes & Gifts: Gifts from lighting, spa, home, garden, candles, wine, and décor.
  • Back in Time Antiques (http://www.backintimeantiquemall.com/): Antiques from all over the world, including advertising signs, gas pumps, crocks, mason jars, vintage clothing, jewelry, artwork, vintage toys, furniture, linens, glassware, vintage tools and more.
  • Bodacious Baskets & Gifts: Decorative baskets of all kinds.
  • Castle Rock Archery: Full-service archery store.
  • Cindi S Craft Corner: If you love to craft, you’ll find what you need here.
  • Desert Divers Scuba Center (http://www.desertdivers.com/): All aspects of your underwater adventures–from discovering snorkeling, to learning to SCUBA dive, or even becoming a dive professional.
  • Gourmet Gulch: Gourmet grocery store.
  • Jug’s Toot-N-Shoot: Gun shop for all your hunting needs.
  • K-Motive and Sports (http://www.kmotive.com/): Carries Arctic Cat snowmobiles and ATVs, Polaris ATVs, Big Tex, Voyager,  and Wells Cargo trailers, 509 products, and Klim snowmobile gear.
  • Mike’s Shooting Supplies: Sporting goods, guns, and bicycles.
  • Second Time Around: Thrift store with a variety of local finds.
  • Sweet Things: Florist offering bouquets and baskets.
  • Sweetwater Trophies & Framing: Trophies, engraving, and home décor.
  • TLC Accents 2: Gifts, novelties, and souvenirs.

 

Dining in Green River 

Like Green River shopping, you can expect to find a little bit of everything when it comes to Green River Dining. From Tex-Mex to down-home Wyoming, you are sure to find something that satisfies your cravings.

 Tamarisk Restaurant (http://www.tamariskrestaurant.com/): Riverfront restaurant featuring classic American food and a salad bar.

  • Ray’s Tavern (http://www.raystavern.com/home.html): Burgers, hand-cut fries, and local brews.
  • Tacos La Pasadita: Authentic Mexican food and homemade corn tortillas.
  • La Veracruzana: Latin American restaurant.
  • Chow Hound: Fast food, 24-hour breakfast, homemade American fare.
  • Green River Coffee Company (http://www.grcoffeeco.com/):  Coffeehouse offering breakfast all day and light fare.
  • Penny’s Diner (http://oaktreeinn.com/pennys-diner/): 1950’s style diner serving American cuisine, including hamburgers, meatloaf, old-fashioned sundaes, milkshakes, and malts – all made from scratch.
  • Hitching Post Restaurant and Saloon (http://www.hitchingpostgr.com/): Delicious American food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget to try a homemade dessert.
  • Get Real Coffee: Coffeehouse and bakery.
  • Don Pedros Family Mexican (http://donpedrosfamilymexicanrestaurant.com/): Serves authentic Mexican food across the states of Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah.
  • Little America Wyoming (http://wyoming.littleamerica.com/): Grill and deli serving home-cooked meals including their Famous Cowboy Joe hamburger, fried chicken, and milkshakes.
  • Mi Casita: Authentic Mexican cuisine.
  • China Garden: Authentic Chinese food including house specialties.
  • Chopstix Asian Bistro (http://www.chopstixasianbistro.com/): Authentic Asian, affordable food made with fresh ingredients.
  • Daily Knead (http://www.dailyknead.com/): Breads and rolls, pastries, cookies and brownies, pies and tarts, desserts, and cakes all baked fresh daily.
  • Arctic Circle Restaurant (http://acburger.com/): Providing good, original fast food. Creators of fry sauce, kid’s meals, lime squeezes, and chocolate-dipped ice cream cones. Favorites include real halibut, taco salads, and Black Angus beef burgers.
  • Staci Ann’s Cafe: Family style restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with freshly made breads, soups, hand pressed burgers, cut fries, a fresh 16-foot salad bar and more.

 

Living in Green River 

Green River is a peaceful community where the residents live a quiet life and have a strong sense of community and local history. In addition to an excellent school system, the city also has an alternative high school and an extension of Western Wyoming Community College. Although the cost of living is slightly higher in Green River than some surrounding cities, so is the median income. The unemployment rate is low, and the economy is growing, especially for those with knowledge in the mining or energy industries.


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