I'm thinking of doing an overnight on the 17-mile reach from Gardiner to Carbella on the weekend of 8/11-12. Here's info I got via email from the Idaho Whitewater email list (read from bottom up):
Just to echo Ed's comments, Cory at Bigsky Whitewater can give you allthe information you need about current conditions and provides a greatshuttle service. The whitewater is certainly not intense, but thescenery is great.As far as the beartrap is concerned, they are currently lettingupwards of 3000 CFS out in the morning, which is a fairly high waterlevel for that stretch. They seem to be curtailing the outflows bynoon, however. John
It has been a couple years since I launched from Gardiner proper, but
the last time I launched, you had to carry your raft a considerable
ways before the put-in. There is a ramp at Carbella and camping. I
would recommend just doing the float and car-camping at Carbella.
Anyway, those are just my two cents...if you want better info, I
would call Big Sky Whitewater at 406-848-2112 and ask for Cory. Big
Sky Whitewater is a good outfit who runs shuttles, rents anything you
need, even has a boat ramp and rustic rental cabins and are located
between Gardiner and Carbella. As Bill said, the whitewater is not
all that crazy this time of year, but the fishing and scenery make it
worthwhile...Enjoy your float.
> If you're looking or hoping for whitewater on the Yellowstone at
> time of year, you won't find it. If you're kayaking or IKing you'll
> find some playholes between Gardiner and Carbella but not much
> Class II maybe.
> There is a campground I believe at Carbella and one a few miles
> This is a popular whitewater run, when there is water, so there are
> good boat ramps at all the river access sites.
> For the most part you don't have to worry too much about bears down
> on the river although the surrounding countryside is definitely
> grizzly country. Take the usual precautions.
> There is plenty of road traffic on this part of Hwy 89 so if
> is what you want to do you'll at least see a lot of cars. There are
> some rafting companies in Gardiner that you can talk to about
> possible shuttles and river conditions. I drove through there about
> week or so ago and they were still taking clients down the river.
> like I said not much in terms of hair-raising whitewater.
> It's ALWAYS windy on the Yellowstone, and it's a headwind.
> Montana is in the midst of an extreme heat wave that has been going
> on for about a month. There is precious little water, let alone
> whitewater, to be found in any of the streams. So there's not an
> alternative I could recommend if you are looking for whitewater.
> best alternative might be Bear Trap Canyon on the Lower Madison
> river. There are 3 sets of rapids on that stretch, the biggest
> Class IV Kitchen Sink, which will not be very imposing at this time
> of the year and at the present river flows. Probably a very
> rapid at this time of year. Lots of good, free camping in the Bear
> Trap. The shuttle would be problematical and you would definitely
> have to get a "commercial" shuttle. This is a great float through a
> scenic semi-wilderness canyon. The rapids keep the casual floaters
> and tubers away. The tubers are out in droves however below this
> stretch and can provide great "eye candy" if you like that kind of
> The float on the Yellowstone is also quite scenic and will probably
> have fewer boaters.
> One last thing, if you are an ardent fly-fisherman like myself,
> be aware that both the Yellowstone and lower Madicsin Rivers are on
> fishing restrictions and are closed to fishing from 2PM-midnight.
> Hope this info helps.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse