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Old 02-09-2009   #1
Sewanee, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
Montana Whitewater in the Summer??

Hi all,

I may be living in Missoula, Montan in mid-May through August this summer. How long does this area have good flows? What are some good creeks and playspots around? Is there a good boating community?

I'm from the southeast, and don't know what to expect or if there is any good whitewater to be had. Please let me know if you have an idea!!


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Old 02-09-2009   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
uh oh.

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Old 02-09-2009   #3
Sewanee, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
what?? will i miss spring creekin season completely?
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Old 02-09-2009   #4
Reality, USA
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 51
Your first order of business should be to find out when the Bigfork Whitewater Festival will be. It used to be the 3rd weekend in May. The run is only 1 mile, but it's great fun (classIV), the town is awesome, and the festival was always well-run when I lived there. It's about 100 miles north of Missoula on the Swan R.
Farther north is the MF Flathead. The easily accessible sections are adjacent to Glacier NP. Definitely worth the drive. Stay in West Glacier and make a weekend out of it.
You'll also want to get on the Lochsa (ID). Lots of Missoulians head over there. There is a great boating community in Missoula - it should be pretty easy to find people to go with.
The Yaak is also great, but it's a LONG drive from Missoula. Same goes for the Kootenai. If you can find responsible paddlers to go with (not guaranteed in Missoula!) you should go check out these 2 on a long weekend.
The Clark Fork runs through Missoula and has some good class III near Alberton Gorge. This is runnable year-round. There is also a playspot in town (Brennan's wave) that wasn't there when I was, so I can't comment directly, but I've heard people say it's fun.
Late summer try to get on the Flathead right below the dam (Buffalo Rapid). Class III through indian land - get a permit.
Hope this helps. I'm sure you'll love Missoula, even off the river.
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Old 02-09-2009   #5
Sewanee, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
Really appreciate the info - Thanks much!!
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Old 02-10-2009   #6
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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Posts: 1,768
I said uh oh cause there is a guy on here from Montuck who does not like anyone asking about Montuck and you seemed to have done zero research before posting.
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Old 02-10-2009   #7
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
Yeah, that guy is a total loser, I'm sure he'll show up though.

Great boating community, hit the shop "edge of the world" when you get here to hook up with yakkers. Definitely hit the gorge on the clark fork, and you'll want to get hooked up with the kayakers run which is much shorter than the full run, and cuts out the flat water and hardly any rapids. Rafts can't do it because of the take out and put in. There's 2 class IV- rapids, depending on the water, and it is fun, but a total zoo in the hot summer days. It will likely run until August if the water is good. Early season many consider it a bit funky, weird, powerful hydraulics as a lot of water is pushed through some skinny spots, strainers and big sucking holes. Outfitters usually don't run it above 25K, FWIW. The blackfoot is a nice float, class II, III-, fun with families and dogs. Put in at sperry grade or russel gates and go all the way down to River Bend. The rapid above roundup bridge and the rapids below, are very fun and you'll miss the upper one if you put in on the bridge.

The Lochsa is a big deal, lots of Class IV one after another, but it's next to a highway so you can bail if you want to. 6 ft and above it is very pushy, below that it is a bit more friendly, but never easy. It runs May - late June, then disappears.

There's also the MF of the Flathead up by Columbia falls which can be done multi day.

There's a rodeo on the gorge in the summer, and memorial is a big deal on the Lochsa.

Head down to Bozeman and there's other fun stuff too, some pretty big.

Quite easy to hook up with people, especially in a yak, hang out at the put in until you find some friendly folks.

There's some creeking, but I have no idea since I'm a rafter.

Have fun! It's a great place to end up.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 02-10-2009   #8
Bozeman, MT
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 106
Missoula is a boating town, so you'll have no problems! May through august is a good time to be around. It'll be super easy for you to meet up with people in town. Just go to Brenan's (the man made playwave in the center of town). As far as creeking goes, the bitterroot range is your local, and has alright stuff. Probably the most fun is Kootani creek, super fun, but super short. Bear creek is good, but a bit of pick and choose due to the wood factor, maybe it's been cleaned out?, but Missoulians are notorious for not keeping up on the wood removal of there local runs. Lost horse creek is decent, and worth checking out. The others in the range aren't classics, but take a look if you want an adventure with a bit of mank and wood danger kinda stuff, such as Fred Burr creek. Trout creek is a bit further, and is good, worth checking out. For one of the best creeks in the United States come down towards Bozeman and run Big Timber Creek!

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-10-2009   #9
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Bozeman, Montana
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Posts: 5,507
progers I will be moving up that way in end of may june sometime. i was planning a trip this weekend is the galletin running?
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Old 02-10-2009   #10
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 133
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upside downkreekboat

OK here we go again about this montana whitewater stuff, as far as paddling goes it looks as if you didnt do your research, shamefull in a world of such free info, second this info is prized and valued, we cant just hand it to you,RESPECT YOU KNOW, im gonna be mellow on this post but the KOOTENAI will rock your mittens, if you like undercut, its there, maby you can hook up with ihowemt and run the falls in her raft, she seems to be the rubber goddess. good luck, maby check out ouzel creek in bozangelas

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missoula, montana

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