White Water Rafting in Montana: The 4 Best Rivers to Row Your Raft on in the State

Montana is a state known for its natural beauty, and that aesthetic attracts those who quest to convene with nature in various ways. From hiking to mountain climbing to everywhere in between, millions flock to Montana each year in hopes of quenching their thirst for fun and adventure while taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Between the months of April and September, a favorite pastime amongst Montana’s adventurers is white water rafting. From a leisurely float down a lazy river to family-friendly and more adventurous treks down the rapids, there are countless places where rafters can go to get their fix. We will take a look at four of the most amazing spots for white water rafting that Montana has to offer.


Gallatin River

Whether you are looking for the perfect way to engulf yourself in Big Sky Cannon’s wondrous scenery, or you want to test your paddling skills on Class III-IV rapids, white water rafting on the Gallatin River could be the perfect place for your next adventure.

Originating in Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana and heading towards Bozeman, the Gallatin has something for everyone. For those looking to have a mixture of a scenic tour of the area with the occasional heart-stopping jaunt down Class II or III rapids, the upper portion of the river might be
more suited for your taste.

If you are more into non-stop nail-biting adventure tinged with a touch of danger, then taking the lower route of the Gallatin might be more your speed. You will not find yourself short on excitement with stretches of your journey, including House Rock Rapids and the Mad Mile, a section with 13 rapids and an almost 100-foot decline. Just make sure that unless you are a very experienced rafter, you have a professional guide to join you on your white water rafting adventure on the Gallatin River.


Alberton Gorge, Clark Fork River

Running over 280 miles through the heart of southwest Montana, the Clark Fork River offers some of the most breathtaking views available in Big Sky Country. It also provides something for all levels of experience.

If you are interested in taking a relaxing tube ride down the river where you can take in the sights the area has to offer while possibly spotting some of the local wildlife, then Clark Fork River is a safe bet. Only a small portion of the river is suitable for catching some spray, but the part that is known for rafting is notorious for giving those brave enough to take it on quite the adrenaline rush.

The brave can head over to Alberton Gorge, just under 40 miles outside of Missoula. Here, those looking for some wild rapids will undoubtedly get their fill. Intermediate to advanced rafters will find several Class III rapids at Alberton Gorge. In between paddling the white water, rafters can catch their breath and enjoy the scenic canyons that surround the gorge.

Whichever route you opt for, no doubt a good time will be had by all those who visit Clark Fork River.


Yellowstone River

What trip to Montana would be complete without visiting the nation’s first National Park: Yellowstone? While there, if you are so inclined to embark on a white water rafting excursion, you will be hard-pressed to find a better location than the Yellowstone River.

The Yellowstone stretches out an impressive 670 miles, ending in North Dakota. It has some of the most beautiful sights that the state has to offer, and many will argue that those sights, more than any other, embody the heart of Montana.

Though rafting is not allowed inside the park, not to worry; the Yellowstone river offers plenty of places to take advantage of your favorite water sport in areas near the park.

While there is no shortage of family-friendly places to raft or float, the main attraction for
the adventurous who visit the Yellowstone is Yankee Jim Canyon. The Class III rapids
will give every white water rafter just what they are looking for.


Flathead River

For those who are not afraid of a possible encounter with the local river monster reported to live somewhere in the 300-foot-deep body of water, Flathead River is a can’t-miss destination for the white water rafter when visiting Montana. With breathtaking views of Glacier National Park, the Flathead is home to some of the most picturesque sights worldwide.

There are three forks to the river, and the North Fork and Middle Fork are typically where most rafters spend their time. While most of the river boasts Class I and II rapids suitable for rafters of all experience levels, there are wilder parts to the river.

There is a seven-mile-long wild ride on the Flathead made just for the more adventurous. From Moccasin Creek to West Glacier, there is an area known as John Stevens Canyon. This area is perfect for the intermediate to advanced rafter because it is full of Class II and III rapids.

For those who opt for the more scenic route while rafting, there is little doubt that an abundance of indigenous wildlife will meet you.

Either way, if you decide to take the Flathead, you will undoubtedly see some of the most impressive sites that the world has to offer.


White Water Rafting in Montana: 4 Rivers That Do More Than Just Run Through It

Though countless places are suitable for white water rafting in Montana, these four above-mentioned appeal to rafters of all abilities levels. Whether you choose to go with your friends and family or you opt to have a guide accompany you, you will no doubt have the time of your life as you ride the rapids.

If you are looking for adventure while still being able to take in the beauty of your surroundings, then white water rafting in Montana may be the right thing for you. These four rivers do more than just run through it; they flow through the heart of the state and bring you the essence of what Montana is all about.

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White Water Rafting in Montana: The 4 Best Rivers to Row Your Raft on in the State