Planning on kayaking the Yellowstone river the 1st of October from Livingston to Billings MT. Anyone done this section? I am thinking of paddling my Wilderness Pongo 14’…great for lakes and bigger water, any issues taking it on the Yellowstone in October?
Dono about the sections you cite, but
Yankee Jim Canyon might be tough in a loaded Pungo.
Not sure how much mountain river experience you have but the Yellowstone from Livingston to Billings is far from a “lake” etc. Every bend has some water that needs to be handled as far as awareness, skill and possible scouting of certain waves. There are several big waves in that section you would need to scout out. Plenty of fast current and its all a “drop-pool” type river whereas EVERY bend below Livingston has some Class 1-3 depending on where you are. Know what you are doing, wear your life jacket. There is a couple big drops just out of Livingston. Braided channels, rocky islands to camp, lots of debris which is mainly above high water mark now so not a big concern. Be aware and know how to read water, eddylines etc. Have fun its incredibly beautiful thru there.
Yellowstone R below Livingston
I have often thought of a long trip on the Ystone. Lots of drift boats and some canoes run it. Yankee Jim C is way above Livingston. The season matters because of the strength of the current. Strainers are probably the biggest problem. The river is windy and has some strange currents in a few spots. It is also beautiful and has great fishing in the upper reaches. It is possible to walk to towns to resupply for a longer trip. Do not underestimate the Jstone, especially in the spring during snowmelt.
have you reviewed trying the Bitteroot ?
Few strainers…big erratic currents on many bends and some haystack waves through the typical wave trains etc.
just did some of it.
Here is my response I gave someone else planning this trip.
You can paddle Yellowstone Lake but not upstream of it in the Park. They are changing the rules, before you couldn’t boat on the streams but you MAY be able to, you may want to check. At Yellowstone Falls you would have to carry around. You don’t want to canoe Yankee Jim Canyon, that’s all whitewater, very nasty. you would want to start North of it. Depending on water lever its generally not bad.
There are 6 irrigation diversions downstream of Billings. In high water I’ve heard you can go around them. Low water you would have to carry around.
I just canoe from Reed Point to Laurel, Montana last weekend. Water if fairly low - water flow Billings - ~3600 CFS and Livingstion - ~2600 CFS. There were some BIG WAVES. I was soloing in a 17 foot Grumman, with light camping load and only took in a little water. I managed to go around most of the waves, but did get into some. If there werre 2 of us in the canoe, probablly could have missed more of the waves and/or taken on more water. I’m going to try to do a trip log in the near future.
I’ve been on the River when it was higher and it didnt seem as bad. The low flows were hitting the rocks and ledges better I think.
Alan Kessiheim has written about taking his family down the Rivet (in Canoe & Kayak Magazine I think). Its a fun river and I would like to do it all some day. For now just pieces at a time.
John enjoying life in Billings