Enjoy Hiking, Kayaking, Tubing And More At Green River Cove

     The Green River Cove area of Henderson/Polk County is a rugged wilderness that is rich in history, legend, and natural beauty. The Green River is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts because of the hiking, kayaking, and tubing. 

     It is believed that the Cherokee Indians first started spreading into western North Carolina at the beginning of the 18th century. The fertile land and the small game for hunting really appealed to the Cherokee. 

     When the Cherokee began exploring the Green River Cove, they came across a giant rock off to the side of the river bank with a large foot print imbedded in the rock. This geological phenomenon became known as “the Devil’s Foot Print.” 

     The Cherokee often used legends and folklore to explain such phenomena and when the white settlers started showing up in Green River Cove about 80 years later, the Cherokee told them that the foot print was made thousands of years before when a supernatural being breathing fire and brimstone came through Green River Cove.

     The first white settlers started arriving in Green River Cove in the late 18th century, most of them being Revolutionary War veterans that received land grants for their service during the war. They also appreciated the fertile land and hunting. Green River Cove had become a thriving agricultural community by the early 20th century with many family farms that dotted the Cove. 

     The Great Flood of 1916 changed the landscape of Green River Cove. Two hurricanes swept up the east coast within a ten day time frame coupled with the regular summer rains completely devastated western North Carolina including Green River Cove. The topsoil was completely washed away during the torrential rains and the agricultural base of Green River Cove was gone. Green River became a ghost town as many family farms were abandoned, leaving farmhouses and churches empty and family cemeteries behind.    

     Outdoor enthusiasts began “rediscovering” Green River Cove in the 1980’s and it has become a haven for kayakers across the world. The Narrows is a half mile stretch of the Green River that drops roughly 342 feet and features 11 major class IV+ to V+ rapids with widths as narrow as four feet.  The Narrows features rapids with nicknames such as “Go Left and Die”, “Gorilla”, and “Sunshine”. The Narrows also lays claim to one of the foremost whitewater kayaking events in the world held the first Saturday in November, an annual event known as the Green Race, which has been going on since the mid-1990’s. The Green Race annually draws about 180 competitors and about 2000 spectators that have to hike about a mile to the Narrows section of the Green River. 

  • Some of the websites that are worth checking out, especially for video and information on kayaking the Narrows are
  • Americanwhitewater.org
  • Greenrace.amongstit.com
  • Youtube- check out 20th Annual Green Rivers Narrows Race and Green River Narrows-River Guide
  • Arledgefamilyhistory.org (this is where the picture of the Devil’s Footprint was found)
  • Greenrace.us/