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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be going down the Smith in a few weeks. Was wondering if anyone had any good info on which camps are primo. Info that would be good to know is which camps are best for fly fishing, scenery (figure thats going to be good every where), and day hikes. or if there is anything else cool at a specific camp like hot spring or cave or whatever.

Thanks.
 

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Note, there are at least two 'Smith Rivers'. Assuming you refer to the Montana one, I tried to scope out camps on a trip last year. My conclusion is that ALL of them are great. All had good fishing, nice beaches and scenery! I didn't see a single one that wouldn't have made a great overnight. A wealth of good choices.

The one exception is that there is one camp site that does not have a pit toilet. If you get that one you are required to carry a groover for the whole trip. Camp sites are assigned on a first come first selected basis the morning of the launch. There is a sign up sheet at the rangers office. In the morning of the launch groups are allowed to select camp sites starting at opening time (8:00 AM?) based on your sign up order. If you are last on the list your group probably gets to carry groovers.

There are some camp sights last year that had bear problems, the rangers were on top of it but it limited some choices.
 

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It's true they are all great lol,hopefully you have enough water I've been down with low water before though and it isn't too bad a couple quick drags through some spots is well worth it,scotty allen, canyon depth and trout creek are some of my favorites
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Smith river, mt

Thanks for the replies, and yes, smith river Montana. Are layover days done on this stretch, or at low water, could it be problematic to have to do a longer day
 

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Layover day shouldn't effect you, ive been down at below minimum Flows And still spent the same amount of time basicly, last day is typicaly the longest river mile day for most about 15 miles And private ranchland so no more camps
 

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I rowed a drift boat on the Smith last year right at the end of run off. Water can drop quickly and I'm pretty sure If I had launched just a day or so later I would have had some trouble.

The biggest concern were river wide gravel bars with 6" or less water in them. The only way across is to drag the boats. Fortunately there was a lot of rain right before our launch and I was able to man handle the boat by myself. I little less water I would have had problems.

There was a group of boy scouts on the river in homemade plywood canoes. They made it look easy, when it got skinny they just hopped out and guided the boats through by hand.

The is such a great float it's worth it even at low water. This year look like a good snow pack, so you might be fine. Keep an eye on the gauges and if you run out of water you can always look into a canoe rental and pack light.
 

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My favorite Smith camps include:

Middle or. Lower Indian Springs
Rock Garden
Rock Creek
Upper or Middle Cow Coulee
Middle or Lower Sunset Cliffs
Any of the Trout Creeks
Upper Parker Flat
Parker #1 and 2
Paradise Bend
Middle or Lower Ridgetop
Lower Givens
Upper Rattlesnake

Just got off a couple of weeks ago and going again on July 5. We did a layover at Cow Coulee and will probably do it again in July. Have a great trip!
 

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If you have never done the smith before when you arrive to sign up look at the camp site board and see what the groups launching a few days before you signed up for. The ones with one time sign up avoid if possible, the ones taken every day try for. Make sure you have at 2 or more choices picked out for each night unless you are the first to have signed in. I would avoid lower Scotty Allen's (lots of goose poop), Sheep wagon, Lower cow coulee, Deep creek, Black butte and Ridge top. All the rest are really nice in my opinion.
You can take just enough water for first day and fill up at Indian springs (great water).
 

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My favorites are Indian Springs, Sunset Cliffs, Canyon Depth, and Rattlesnake. They are all nice and have their own character. The rangers will help you with selections based on what's available and your mileage. They did have bear problems when we went down and had quite a few closed off for that.
 

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We just stayed at Rock Creek, long hike to the latrine, worth the hike.
Then at lower Sunset cliffs, all sunsets are good.
Upper Table Rock. Challenged kids to kayak across and climb up to table rock, 4 min 13 sec.
Lower Givens Gulch. Huge campground with spots right by the water, or up in the trees.

We were first on the list so these were all our choices.
Have at least one person show up one day early so that you meet the ranger for sign-up on the day before your launch to get 1st of second in line.
 

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We just had a great trip last week. I agree that you can't go wrong with any. The rangers were great at suggesting camps based on our wants and needs.
Definitely get there early to get your name on the list.
 

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To add to the lists others have provided, Upper Fraunhoffer was also excellent. We stayed at Rock Creek, Lower Sunset, Upper Fraun and Lower Givens. First on the list so we got our first choices for each night.

Just a note, (have no way to verify if this *actually* happened or not...) the rangers had been though the day before we arrived at Lower Givens and had dug new latrines at Lower Givens and Upper Rattlesnake. The group at Upper Rattlesnake said, as we were floating by, that they had experienced a rattlesnake in their newly dug latrine the night before.
 

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Markdl pretty much hit my ideal trip. Upper table rock is a good replacement for u Frau, rock garden for deep creek and all of the givens and rattlers are good. Lower ridgetop is great if you need to stay above give and rattlers on the last night. Best two sites on the river are middle Indian springs (see pics above, right across the river from camp) and lower sunset cliffs. Sunsets all have great day hikes (conned my wife into saying yes on tall cliff above and up river) as does Fraunhofer. Stay away from county line, upper Parker (road in camp), merganser bend, bear creek (also road). There is also water right below bear creek, big Eddy with white pvc pipe river right on sharp left bend. Enjoy the views from the latrines!

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Wick add on, if I were to be granted one last wish before I died it would be a warm spring morning awaking at middle Indian springs...many great mornings have been spent there, sadly not as many in recent years with the 4 night limits during peak season. Also it'll be pushin it for layover days if the water doesn't come up, but the sunset area would be my first choice. I'm also surprised no one has talked about the petroglyph cave...the trail its below lower Parker flats about a mile, river right. Eddy out behind huge rock and closely follow trail. Its a scramble, but well worth it. I think I could scrounge up some coords if you'd like...

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Quick add on, if I were to be granted one last wish before I died it would be a warm spring morning awaking at middle Indian springs...many great mornings have been spent there, sadly not as many in recent years with the 4 night limits during peak season. Also it'll be pushin it for layover days if the water doesn't come up, but the sunset area would be my first choice. I'm also surprised no one has talked about the petroglyph cave...the trail its below lower Parker flats about a mile, river right. Eddy out behind huge rock and closely follow trail. Its a scramble, but well worth it. I think I could scrounge up some coords if you'd like...

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Mountain Buzz mobile app


Sent from my DROID RAZR using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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Sent from my DROID RAZR using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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Sorry for the weird dup, gust wanted to change wick to quick...



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FYI, there wasn't much of an eddy at all at the pull-in for the cave on June 4th when we were there. Eddy room for no more than 2 boats. Trail was a serious scramble, with three nearly-vertical sections (not too tough going up, harder coming back down) but once we all got safely back to the boats, it was very worth it!
 

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Quick correction to an earlier post... One of the camps that has the "road" is Trout Creek (in addition to Bear Gulch.) It is usually used at lower water by some of the cabin residents to do shuttles of tubers doing day floats. Upper Parker is one of the best camps on the river and there is no road going through camp.
 

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Just a quick note the cave hike is on river left. Three boats will fit and a stake is advised for tying up.
 
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