Green River Crossing

“Whether they crossed the Green River Basin by the Sublette Cutoff or the trail to Fort Bridger, the Green River—several hundred feet wide and dangerously swift—lay as a barrier across the emigrants’ path. The Green would be the last large river that California-bound emigrants would have to cross. (Those headed for Oregon would still have to contend with crossing the Snake River.) The challenge of crossing the Green varied with the time of year and the annual snowpack in the Wind River Range. Emigrants arriving at the river in August, after much of the winter snow had melted, sometimes found it low enough to ford. Most arrived earlier, though, in late June or early July, and saw it as Margaret Frink did—running “high, deep, swift, blue, and cold as ice.” At such high water, a ferry was the only safe way to cross. By 1847 several ferrying operations, run by mountain men or Mormons from Salt Lake City, lay scattered up and down the Green River at the common crossing points. Emigrants forked over tolls ranging from $3 to $16 per wagon (roughly $60 to $320 in today’s dollars), depending on demand and river level.”