Originally Posted by JustinJam
So tell me more about Montana being dog friendly. I've never been up rafting there and have next June and July off. I'm looking for multi day with pooch and a 16 footer. Any ideas? Thanks
Really there's not much to it, the only river in MT that has dog restrictions is the Smith River (at least to my knowledge). There isn't much for gnarly whitewater anywhere either so your pooch should be able to go just about anywhere you go. There is some bigger water on one stretch of the Gallatin (House Rock) and one stretch on the Madison (Bear Trap Canyon). I have floated the SF and NF of the Flathead, they are both extremely beautiful and have no major rapids (except mabe the narrows on the SF, which is really too narrow to raft) The SF is very remote, 20 to 25 mile horse pack in to several different put in areas and most likely a pack out of a couple miles. The narrows are supposedly unfloatable (supposedly you can not fit a small raft through a few areas, but that's another story). It's logistically probably not what you're looking for. The NF however is almost perfect, it's not a white water river, though there are a few simple class III, mostly near the confluence. The scenery is awesome and it's laid out really well for car supported overnighters (up to about 5 days of floating) and you can do fully self-supported trips by camping on public land too. Camp at accesses for car support, camp on public land inbetween for self-support. There is also a small community roughly midway from the Canadian border to the confluence that is a must experience. The Town of Polebridge is an off-grid collection of buildings, including a restaurant a bakery and store and a bunch of homes. They host an amazing 4th of July party and are really friendly, fun loving people. The food is awesome and I highly recommend checking it out if you're up that way.
The MF Flathead has two primary reaches, one has great white water and regular highway access, the other is remote like the SF with the addition of fly in service I'm told. I have not floated either portion of the MF so I can't tell you much other than it's damn pretty everywhere up there so it's got to be awesome. The whitewater section of the MF is fairly close to the NF, so a combo trip would be very doable. I'm not all that familiar with the rest of the NW part of the state but believe there is some bigger water in places up there. Maybe someone else will chime in about what exists up there.
The Smith was an absolutely perfect trip with Dogs before FWP and idiot dog owners ruined it. It's still an awesome float, but if you're bringing your dog we might as well skip it (and it's permited and somewhat difficult to get on).
There are a few other rivers with overnight floats, the blackfoot downstream of Ovando is supposedly awesome, I've done a couple day floats in there and had a great time, some fun whitewater and great fishing and I've heard that there is a burley section of whitewater in there somewhere but I have never really checked into it myself.
The Bighole is my favorite river around here, probably favorite period. It has a few stretches you can make into overnighters and you could conceivably stretch things into 5 or 6 days if you wanted. Some river side camping but mostly FAS camping. It's also a gorgeous river, awesome fishing, a mixture of slow lazy water and faster riffles/runs. No whitewater anywhere, save a diversion dam that was removed a few years ago, just shallow, rocky and quick. The diversion dam can be problematic at high flows but seems to be pretty straightforward in normal/low flows.
The Gallatin, Madison, Jefferson and Yellowstone are all similar, there are no truly remote sections, save Bear Trap on the Madison, but you can't camp in the canyon out of a raft (if I recall correctly) and it's less than a dozen miles long. Overnighters on these rivers are mostly campgrounds or FAS. There is some public lands and you can find places to camp river style but you need to be good at map reading and pinpointing your location.
I've never really looked at the eastern half of the state from a floating perspective. There are some rivers but it's so arid that they flow high in spring and trickle in the summer.
Hope that helped some, if you have questions about particular rivers, stretches or localities I could probably give you more info.