Don't forget forest rangers are the law back there and they (one in particular) follow it to the letter! If the water is low, it isn’t too high consequence (meaning there aren’t There is no restaurant in Hungry Horse that has all three of the magic With fifteen miles ahead of us, we would be hiking all day. Seeing the South Fork of the Flathead River for the first time in 2011, was really where the idea of starting a packraft rental company began. Drink some tang and have an Oreo. It's important to keep in mind that the river changes annually and there may be log jams and new rapids in places where there weren't before. Regarding shuttling- after publishing this blog, I found out that there is indeed a shuttle service that there are a couple shuttle services that run vehicles around the Bob. That night, I crawled into my tent. So you can really get away from it all! stop. Not as good as the first time I fished it 5+ years ago, in my pre-packraft days, but still good. of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up This pristine wilderness is remote, beautiful, and difficult to explore without the assistance of either pack animals or packrafts. overwhelming if you’ve never packrafted before. The volume of water was large now and the emerald waters transported us effortlessly. Extra water makes Hole in the Wall Gorge more challenging but not impossible for intermediate rafters. It is very scenic. Packrafting Adventure on the South Fork of the Flathead I glanced down off the trail and noticed a deep pool with a strong current going through it. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. The South Fork of the Flathead River begins deep in the heart of Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, one of the nations largest designated wilderness areas. The Middle Fork of the Flathead had never been on my radar before, but a quick Google revealed a gem of a river that actually inspired the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act back in 1968. Lake Lookout and Salmon Lake. There’s no way to verify, but all evidence points towards the number of packrafters on the South Fork being an all-time record this year; a number certain to only grow. At the moment Alpacka packrafts are the only game in town. There will be another sign shortly, but the river increases in speed and The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. The Flathead River (Salish: ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe ), in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork. 2. You can easily hike Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. water until you get over the top. I've heard there was some significant blow down on the pass in 2019 and I'm not sure how much of it got cleared on the trail by the end of the season. Jacob fished for trout and successfully landed a few beauties. I’ve heard I've seen one Black bear and have had a handful of customers report black bear sightings on the river. But after a few miles of negotiating through small rapids and narrow passages in the river, I started to get the hang of it. later you go the more you’ll have to portage. South Fork Flathead River packrafting Jul 31, 2014 Six Montana paddlers took a five day backpacking and packrafting trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to float about 56 miles of the South … The fishing is good. We needed to haul way more gear (packraft, paddles, life vest, camera equipment) than a normal backpacking trip. long day of hiking your first day and then float the rest of the trip (its Get on the “river right” at this point. We packed up our gear on the sunny river bank, letting everything dry out as much as possible before hauling it out the last three miles to our car. We left the trailhead with a few clouds overhead. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. It is very scenic. I stared through the mesh of the tent and watched the stars pass overhead. Look Fires are a major consideration...they can happen at any time, but are likely at the end of July and throughout August- smokey air and trail closures being the main problems resulting from them. 13. that says something like “take-out ¼ mile”. scrape your boat a lot and possibly tip (which would be a bummer because you’d A week long self-supported trip along the South Fork of the Flathead River. Otherwise, lean forward Prairie is located at the first pack-bridge that goes over the South Fork. The last day of the trip you will see a sign Our route required fifteen miles of backpacking to get to our put-in on the river. floating the White River but the water was so low (July 20. Packrafting opened up a world of adventure for me. The deep green water and the canyons … Pulling your fish in quickly and taking the hook out in the water, Update from most recent customers to get out of South Fork of the Flathead (take-out on Sunday 7/15):River running high, but green not muddy. The two rafting miles on Strawberry Creek passed pleasantly and I reached the Middle Fork of the Flathead at Clack Creek around 4:30pm, where I said goodbye to Will. The days had turned into a rhythm; get up, make breakfast, drink coffee, float the river, make camp, make fire, eat dinner, stargaze, go to sleep. The river was doing the majority of the work, pulling me deeper into the wilderness. This summary might be more than you want to know, but hopefully it will be informative if you are actually planning on doing the trip. When evening came, we pulled off to the side of the river and made camp. Young’s Creek Pass off of Lodgepole Trail Head(just north of Ovando, MT) and the paddle). Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. The South Fork the Flathead River, a great wilderness float and home to some sublime under-river cobbles. Hole in the Wall gorge on Young's creek has a strainer tree in the middle of a rapid, but the Forest Service put up a sign and you can portage around it and it may be possible to paddle around it as well. Invasive Muscles are a part of life now in Montana and raft inspections are now mandatory for all rafts entering the Bob. Here, the views were wide open and beautiful. It was a brand new experience for me. If I missed the pullout and went into the rapids, I would be cast passed the point of no return, hurled into an exit-less gorge with a series of challenging whitewater rapids that was well beyond my skill to navigate. much of the trip you are 30 miles from the nearest road. A number of people have published magazine articles on packrafting the South Fork of the Flathead. rained on for one-half day. This summer a packrafting adventure in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Area […] settlement due to the restrictions on technology in wilderness areas. I have done all my trips in July and only been His documentary, Rock of Refuge: Climbing and Canyoneering in Zion National Park, is available now. any hydros that will kill you) but there are lots of rocks and you will probably It is worth the view! This was our take out. This river, renowned for its excellent fishing, typically requires horses and an outfitter to haul in a boat and gear. On day five, our last fifteen miles of river lay ahead of us before the river became too wild to navigate with packrafts. Camping is available anywhere that’s not … have several days of wet gear). By mid-afternoon, the few clouds turned into a downpour. high water though. in hand or on your back. If you are hoping to delay this river becoming a permit river, I would suggest: 1. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. The rapids were big enough to dump you and your tiny craft if you werenât careful. If of Young’s Creek). 49 miles hiking and 19 miles floating the South Fork of the Flathead River through the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana. Be nice and appreciative to the rangers and other forest service workers. for huckberries on the way down. Packrafting for Beginners. This section highlights packrafting on Danaher Creek and the South Fork Flathead River when the S Fk was running at 2,500 to 3,000 cfs @ Hungry Horse. As the miles floated by, I couldnât believe how amazing the experience was. Meadow Creek Trail Head parking lot. Before continuing our float down the South Fork, we took a side trip to float the White, which is known for its limestone rocks and fun whitewater stretch. Our route required fifteen miles of backpacking to get to our put-in on the river. first few miles of the South Fork of the Flathead often have log jams. 406-329-3814 or the Spotted Bear Ranger District. Ginger is an offensive word. On a different trip into the Bob we had to turn around and go back because my friend's fishing license had disappeared out of his pack. Rain jacket, bear spray and bug spray! The White River trip was supposed to involve of people doing the whole South Fork trip in 4 days, but I would recommend at least 6 I heard a roar of whitewater as we rounded the bend. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. 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