Originally Posted by HJAIII
Will be in Billings, Montana, for a wedding this coming weekend, then wife and I will have a rent car for four or five days before meeting up with others in Great Falls for a few days in the Glacier NP area. We are planning to head west from Billings towards Idaho and perhaps Yellowstone NP during those four or five free days. I was hoping to squeeze in a guided raft day trip during that time. What do you recommend regarding river and outfitter? Thanks.
You can go on the Gallatin outside of the west gate to Yellowstone (this will be a III+ trip... very cold but reasonably exciting whitewater... particularly for the next few weeks); either company (Montana Whitewater or Geyser) is good but I work for Geyser so I'll put in a shameless plug for them. This time of year we're better because we have heated changing rooms and don't make you use a porta potty.
That river is about 3 hours from Billings.
The Yellowstone has a mild day trip with more of a big water feel - you'll catch that outside of Gardiner near the north gate of the park. It's a tame but pretty run... and there are a few hot-springs options on your drive out which can be cool. Most of the companies over there are fine - I don't really know one to recommend.
If you're feeling sporty and want to get a true taste of northwest whitewater head over and take a commercial run on the Lochsa with Three Rivers... you won't regret the trip or the drive. It's unbelievably beautiful and one of the best III/IV day trips in the country hands down. It's a haul but you can hit up Lolo hot springs or the Lochsa lodge - honestly I would go there rather than YNP any day (particularly if you've already been to Yellowstone). If you want a really special and spunky commercial day trip head here.
The Alberton Gorge (near Missoula) is also a decent commercial run... I don't know that I would drive all the way to Missoula just for the rafting but if you're headed that way anyway Montana River Guides do a good job.