This is a re post giving you a little more information about our plans and asking for more information from you!!! Ok let me give the details. A few friends and I are looking to drive somewhere in the northwest(Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming) from Alabama in May … The drive will take a day and a half and then we want 3 to 4 days of paddling. We will be in 10’ kayaks and we want something that has a pretty good current and nothing above a class 2 rapid!!! We need all the information we can get on permits and shuttle. Pictures if you have been! Any ideas of rivers or any info at all would help us out so much. You can email me at! I was told on my last post to look at the Green RIver, Utah… Upper Missouri, MT… Salmon River, Idaho… If you have any additional info on those please share! Salmon looks amazing but is it to tough? Thanks again.

Paddle in Montana
If by chance you come to Montana, here are a few really nice mildwater runs you can try.

Clark Fork River - Put in at Saint Regis and take out at Paradise (rocky point). No permits needed to paddle.

Mainstem Flathead River - Put in at Columbia Falls and take out Kalispell (old steel bridge). No permits needed to paddle.

Clearwater River Canoe Trail, very short no permits needed to paddle. Google for much info on this one.

My favorite Runs are on The Lower Flathead River, they are;

Buffalo Bridge to Sloan Bridge,

Sloan Bridge to Dixon,

Dixon to perma, Perma to Plains.

A CSK recreation permit is required to run these sections, the river clips right along but there are no real rapids. There are lots of Smallmouth bass in the lower river. You wont see many if any other people on these runs especially on weekdays.

May is a bit early for these rivers, they may be high fast and muddy I would recomend coming in mid June through August. DM me for more info.

More Montana

– Last Updated: Nov-02-08 2:11 PM EST –

The North fork of the Flathead is nice too, several entry and exit points depending on how long you want to be out (multi day?) Also, there is a nice float on the South Fork from Cedar Flats to the bridge at Spotted Bear. A short float on the Middle Fork from the West Glacier golf course to the Blakenship bridge is fun too. No permits needed for any of these.

Check water levels, May can be major run off and High water. Mid June on is better.

Western Paddling Choices!
Hello from Sunny California:

If you are coming west in May your best bet for a really great Class I-II paddling experience is on the Marias-Upper Missouri Rivers in Montana.

If you drive to Fort Benton, Montana there are two excellent companies in the small town that will provide shuttle service, take care of your check in with the Rangers for BLM, and give you all the information on campsites and regulations.

Most paddlers paddle the Upper Missouri from Ft Benton or Coal Banks east through the White Cliffs to the pull out at Judith River or another 95 miles down to the Highway 191 Bridge pull out above Ft Peck Lake.

I would urge you to start your trip at Highway 223 Bridge on the Marias River north of Ft Benton. The Marias is an almost unknown river to paddlers outside Montana. It is remote with great fishing, unused campsites, and good canyon scenery. It has few logs in the water, and no sand bars to drag kayaks across. It meets the Missouri at Loma between Ft Benton and Coal Banks Landing. If you continue down river to Coal Banks or to Judith River you will have completed 150 miles of great Class I -II river. In May the nights will be near freezing and the days in the 70’s. The river flows will carry you at between 4mph and 8mph depending on what the rainfall has been.

I ran this stretch in the first week of June three years back after a stretch of three days of over 6" of rainfall in 48 hours. I covered 48 miles in one day solo in my 16’ Navarro Canoe with a full load of gear and five gal. or water.

On the Missouri stretch you will find established campsites with fire pits and outhouses. Some have three sided shelters in excellent condition. The one big draw back is that many campsites are without a water supply other than the river. Bring a water purifier and a bucket to let the sediment settle out of the water before pumping. Also bring a pre filter or cheeze cloth to go over the entry point for the water to the filter. Canoeist simple carry five gal of water in the canoe which you won’t be able to do in kayaks.

If you go to the net and use the topic Missouri River, Montana - River Trips you will get detailed information about the three companies which run trips and do shuttle service on the Upper part of the river. The White Cliffs portion of the trip going past Hole in the Wall is famous both in Lewis & Clark’s Journals and in Old West Badman history.

I may be on the Marias-Missouri around the same time you are there. Enjoy your trip!

Happy Paddling!


PS: I have pictures of the Upper Missouri Trip, but would have to mail you copies since I have no idea how to send pictures on the net!

The Marias and The Flathead
A really nice run on the Marias is from the campground ramp just below Tiber Dam, Float down and under the Pugsley Bridge and take out at the Moffit Bridge. Another way to do the Middle Fork of the Flathead is to put in at Apgar at the outlet of Lake McDonald in Glacier Park and float down McDonald Creek, go under the Quarter Circle Bridge to join the Flathead and take out at Blankenship, or put in at Blankenship and take out at Teakettle. So many good places here. I remember being behind two canoes going through Fool Hen Rapids (North Fork Flathead) and watched both go over. I came close to dumping my sit on top on the same wave that did them in.

Picasa link to some pics of Mt.
Most of these were taken east of the divide.

Nice runs
but could be dicey in mid-late May as that is usually max-high water time. Water is pretty cold then too.

Let me get this straight
You are going to drive from central Alabama to MT. or Id. or Ore. in a day and a half? Heck it takes most of a day just to drive across MT.

lets say 2
4 people taking turns driving while the others sleep! 34 to 38 hour drive depending on the river. We are young so yes we’ll make it happen. I drove to jackson, Wyoming last year by myself and seeing country you’ve never seen is interesting enough to keep you awake!

Many years ago
(over 40) when I was young I’d drive from Glasgow, MT to KC Mo. but it would take 20 hours.

For May, Utah would seem to be your

– Last Updated: Dec-25-08 11:33 PM EST –

best bet given the type of water you said you wanted. Elsewhere, the spring melt could be in full swing. Given the volume of snow that has come down in the past two weeks here in Oregon, if the trend continues, rivers in flood could be the norm for May and even into June.