Marias River, Montana

I am planning a solo trip down the Marias River from Tiber Dam to Loma, and then continuing down the Upper Missouri through the White Cliffs to the pull out at the bridge on Highway 191. Have done the Upper Missouri before so am familiar with it. Understand that the Marias is pretty remote above Loma. Looking for information about campsites and any major obstacles on this stretch of river especially trees Plan to do the trip in late May of 2008. I know from contacts with guides in Fort Benton that the Marias is Class I and water flow is highest in May. I shouldn’t have to pull my canoe over areas of shallow riffles. Understand that the banks are lined with Cottonwood Trees and some areas of steep banks and cliffs. Any other information anyone has would be appreciated.

Havent done it but here’s what i know.

To avoid the scene start above the dam at Bridge 171

Flow: annual mean flow 915 near Chester. BLM tries to maintain a minimum flow of 500 cfs from Tiber down. Optimum flows are 1000 -1500. Your going at a good time i think to avoid the heat and bugs.

Maps BLM #28 Valier, #38 COnrad, #48 Lonesome lake, #49 Ft. Benton.

Known to the Indians as the “river that scolds at all others”. One of Montanas finest floatable streams.

From Tabor to the Missouri it flows past towering sandstone cliffs and badlands formations. Thick cottonwood groves aling the river. Camp anywhere you feel the need to.

The water in May will be near 3000 cfs so it will be moving much more than the optimum of 1500cfs. Its class 1 the whole way.

My guess is you could float it in two days. Maybe one if you wanted to push a little.

not sure any of this helps.


Don’t try to make Loma in a single day from the circle bridge, its 60 miles!

Call Adventure Bound Canoe for info or go to their site.

I thought
that the Milk River was referred to as “the river that scolds all others”. I will check my sources but curious about your source. Not trying to rankle or anything, just a former Montana boy who still loves Montana and it’s history.

Nice River
My wife and I canoed the Marias in August 2006. The water level was low, but we made it fine. We put in at the bridge and did the 60 mile stretch to Loma. We were on the river for 4 days and never saw another person from put-in to take-out. It was our first canoe camping trip. There were cottonwood sweepers in the river, but when we went, they were pretty easy to avoid–but we went during low water. Johns Shuttle Service at Ft. Benton gave us the best price. It was a wonderful trip.

You are correct
it’s the Milk :slight_smile:

Take your
fly rod (or spinning rod :slight_smile:

Marias info
Keep in mind that the Bureau of Reclamation doesn’t always keep 500 cfs in the river below Tiber. This fall and winter the numbers have been in the low 300’s quite often. Check at this site:,00065,00010.

Also, in “Paddling Montana”, Hank Fischer lists the Marias, not the Milk, as “the river that scolds at all others.” Doesn’t say why.

Maris or Milk?
Well, you all have forced me to do some research into which river, the Milk or the Marias is the real “River that scolds all others”. I am glad you did because I have for years believed it was the Milk. Many people still believe it is the Milk. We have Lewis and Clark to blame for this confusion. Apparently, they incorrectly determined on May 8th, 1805 that the Milk River was the one that the Minitarres had described to them. In reality it was the Marias River that the Minitarres were referring to as “The River That Scolds All Others”. See links below. The last one talks about the error Lewis and Clark made.

Are you reading this Norm Miller? I was wrong and you were right all along!

Safe Paddling;



Guess i was right for the first time in a decade about something. I see my years starting off good.