NF Flathead. - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-23-2012   #1
jwithers's Avatar
Billings, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 78
NF Flathead.

When's the best time for a NF trip and how many days should I plan? Thinking about getting a trip together if anyone is interested let me know.

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Old 05-24-2012   #2
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 97
I was there for the 4th of July last year and had a blast. It was high water but that wasn't an issue as it's pretty mellow (class II?). We had to be on our toes a little bit due to wood, but it was never sketchy. Guess the upper part can get too low for rafts later in the summer. We did one night from near the border down to Polebridge, which was an easy 2 days, but you could extend that. Camping is a little awkward due to all the private land on the right and national park on the left, so we camped on an island. Upper stretch has the most amazing views, while lower down its in more of a canyon and you get a bit more whitewater.
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Old 05-24-2012   #3
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,303
Any time from a week from now after the water drops through the end of July.

Grab a Forest Service map to determine what is private and what is National Forest on river right. River left (actually, everything East of the center of the river) is Glacier National Park, and you need a backcountry permit. Most private boaters avoid this hassle and just camp right.

Good 4-day trip: Border to Ford Cabin, Ford to Polebridge, Polebridge to Big Creek (NF campground), and Big Creek to Glacier Rim (whitewater stretch). Like catflipper said, you could stretch the upper part and get in an extra day, or you could run longer days and do it in 3 days. Big Creek to Glacier Rim is only ~2 hours of river time depending on flows, the other stretches are 12+ miles with a bit less velocity.

It is bear country, so plan to hang your food and camp smart. Bring bear spray.

I'm possibly interested, I've never done it as a full trip with overnight camping, we have always done day trips and stayed in FS campgrounds (or at home!) when our kids were I want to get them out for some fun overnights.
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Old 05-24-2012   #4
mtriverrat's Avatar
Lewistown, middle of MT
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 222
We go every year the third weekend of June. Love the North Fork so do our kids. The previous post with 4 days is what we do - except we usually go all the way to Blankenship. This will be the first year we take the kids through Fool's Hen - they can't wait. Remember stay right after Coal Creek. We had to portage a fully loaded raft over the log jam. Had my kids sitting on a log next to fresh grizzly scat while we did it. They were 3 and 4. Not our best river mom and dad moment, but the kids thought it was the adventure of their lives.
If you lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known. Winnie the Pooh
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