Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-30-2014   #1
Accord, New York
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 11
Family Friendly Multi-days in MT and ID?

Hey buzzards,

I am hoping you all can suggest a few possibilities for class I-III multi-day trips, 2-3 nights each. We have a young daughter...she'll be six by the time we do this trip. We would like to float at least three stretches---can be pretty far apart, as we are taking our time and sightseeing along the way.

Not doing this until July of 2016 so permits are not an issue at this point, but I want to have plenty of time to do all the research, buy the guide books, etc.

Thank you in advance for any and all help! Best, Kristy

CatskillsRunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2014   #2
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
Can't beat the Yellowstone. Try for a smith permit. As far as Idaho lower salmon is fun. Might be a bit much for a 6yo unless they are seasoned river brats. 2016?! You have a lot of time. Flathead might also be an option. South fork snake in SE idaho. Grande ronde.

spider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2014   #3
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
To elaborate on what Spider said. North Fork Flathead would be perfect. 3-5 days from the border to the confluence depending on flows and time in the boat. No permit draw. You are essentially linking day floats but it feels much more like an mandatory overnighter and you can camp car assisted or away from road access.

Smith is awesome but permits can be difficult, especially in peak season but can be fairly easy by mid july BUT flows can be hit or miss also. It's likely something that you'd either have to get a late June/early July permit (odds are against it) or get a mid/late July (highly likely) and have to play by ear and have an alternate plan. it's 4-5 days and really should be a must do for every river rat.

There are some stretches on the Blackfoot that are worthy... no permit but you'd need to piece logistics together based on flows and time of year.

Main salmon would be great (I'd take my 4 year old at lower flows for sure, and plan on it this year permit willing). I'm not very familiar with the lower salmon.

The Grand Rhonde is awesome (eastern Oregon/Washington). Many options for 2-5 day floats. We did the Washington stretch this June and we all loved it. You could travel another 4 hours west to the John Day, also perfect for your situation with several options from 1 to 5-6 day

I agree with the Yellowstone to a point, there are tons of options but all are linking day floats. There are no roadless, mandatory over nighters. I've floated everything from Gardiner to Columbus over the years, if I were to put together a multi-day it would be below Livingston. There will be a lot less people and more options for river camps. Mid summer above Livingston you will not feel secluded to say the least, but it is picturesque.

SF Snake has an overnighter that can be stretched to 2 nights and is beautiful with great camping. Plus there are some whitewater day runs fairly close (Alpine). Same thing with the Flathead branches as well (lower NF and MF).

If linking overnighters is your thing the Big Hole is one of my favorite rivers and has several stretches you could link and camp from a car or you boat.

There are more but those are my highlights.

Good luck...

P.S. - How do you plan 2 seasons in advance? I can't seem to plan 2 months in advance!
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
elkhaven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2014   #4
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Of the MT options listed I think all would struggle for CL III rating. The reality is most montana streams come down steep and rugged mountains and quickly enter wide vast valleys. Not conducive to multi-day *whitewater* trips. Basically everything listed is float and fish water except a short section on yellowstone. If pushing the whitewater end of things is important for keeping the kiddo happy I would consider the MF Flathead from the wilderness boundary to west glacier. It's roadside but doesn't really feel like it and will provide multiple sections of fun CL III with plenty of I-II to soak in the scenary. Since it's roadside you can car camp every night. Might not be what you are looking for but it might be the perfect combo to start the trip and get the camping dialed in. Plus you can leave camp and get ice cream in under 20 min every night which is pretty awesome.
The sunshine walked beside her
glenn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2014   #5
Paddling in to the Future
PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 401
Took a 4 year old on the lower salmon this summer. I'm sure a 6 year old would be fine. the area did burn up this last summer. so not sure the scenery would be the best. but it should have fresh green if anything.
PhilipJFry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2015   #6
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
The Lower flathead is a great kids float. The water is aquamarine blue and there are few people. Completely flat water, and you need a reservation recreation permit. More off the beaten path than any other family float in MT IMO yet not in the middle of nowhere.
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
lhowemt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2015   #7
Renaissance Redneck
LSB's Avatar
Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 986
July 2016???!!!
Way to plan ahead Cats. Yall better come on out this summer, the glaciers might be gone by 2016
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
LSB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2015   #8
Accord, New York
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 11
Thank you very much for your replies, folks!

To answer your question about why we plan so far in advance, I don't know the area at all as we usually go to UT and CO when we head west, so I'd rather do lots of research early on. We also have several bad habits, one of which is endurance riding on horseback, so we go west every other year and try to do more riding during the other years. Finally, planning to go west helps keep us sane--it will be 17 years before we can finally uproot and move West, so spending time researching is good for my head.

I have already youtubed a few of the rivers you all have suggested, and many look very good, so this a great place to start. We would love to do the Smith, and I am aware that it is really difficult to secure a permit and a very small window at that. Flatwater suggestions are great, as we'll be taking along newbie family members.

Thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate it! Best, Kristy
CatskillsRunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015   #9
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 340
I'm eyeballing the Grande Ronde myself. That looks like a really great family friendly float and I can open boat it while my buddy schleps all my gear on his raft. Wahoo!
lncoop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2015   #10
Paddling in to the Future
PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 401
The Grande Ronde is great fun. we do it ever year. just a nice relaxing 3 day float. nothing exciting, just beautiful country, peace and quiet with a river running through it.

PhilipJFry is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Family Friendly San Juan in early-mid June? BLott Kayaking | Trip Planner 1 04-16-2013 08:06 PM
Lower Salmon Family Trip Aug 2-7 - Looking for one family. steepcreeks Kayaking | Trip Planner 0 07-19-2012 10:37 PM
Dog Friendly Multi-Day? boldtwatermann Kayaking | Trip Planner 0 03-15-2012 12:38 PM
San Juan 5/26 (Sand Island-Mexican Hat) Kid Friendly family trip BLott Kayaking | Trip Planner 1 05-23-2011 01:16 AM
Space available for a family friendly trip on the lower San Juan June 7th BLott Kayaking | Trip Planner 6 05-10-2010 09:56 AM

» Classified Ads
NRS Otter Raft, 14ft

posted by rbigler

Brand new NRS Otter raft purchased in 2015 for family...

NRS Frame

posted by chugwater1

Fishing seat bar with lo pros new swivel seat. I will...

10' Cataract Oars

posted by rockinRio

10' Cataract Oars, rope wrapped, and two counter balances....

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:30 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.