Flathead, Middle Fork - 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek


Flathead, Middle Fork, Montana, US

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1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek (Upper Middle Fork of the Flathead)

Usual Difficulty I-IV (for normal flows)
Length 26 Miles
Avg. Gradient 35 fpm

MF Flathead


MF Flathead
Photo by Randy Clark

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
M F Flathead River near West Glacier MT
usgs-12358500 1000 - 20000 cfs I-IV 00h51m 387 cfs (too low)


River Description

This is the multi-day Wilderness run of the Flathead River National Wild and Scenic River. It begins in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, traverses the Great Bear Wilderness, and the take-out is on the southern border of Glacier National Park. Quite the pedigree - and it is more than deserving.  

While most visitors choose to fly into Schafer Meadows, kayakers and packrafters routinely hike or paddle down Granite Creek 8 miles to enjoy the final 18 miles or so of the Middle Fork.  It is a spectacular run with gin clear water, grizzly bears, and eagles.  It often feels like snorkelling from a boat because there are so many fish and the water is so clear. 

Check out this low water video of the run below Granite Creek: Wild and Scenic Montana, Episode 3: Middle Fork Flathead River from American Whitewater on Vimeo.

Note: the putin lat/longitude coordinates listed above are at Schafer Meadows (no auto access; horse or plane only); this would be the Upper West Fork Flathead.

Photo courtesy of, and copyright by, Randy Clark.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-06-18 20:06:08

Editors


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 21 2014 (1550 days ago)
soulyman (156729)
I just posted a bunch of new pictures with captions for this river. I couldn't find the most
reliable info for this section and wanted to update what was here. We started at Shafer running at
8200 and ended at Essex at around 6400 and I thought being a class IV boater that it was perfect!
Check out the pics and enjoy. Feel free to contact me at jgras@sailingscubaadventures.com for more,
Thanks to Glacier Whitewater and Mike from Helena for all the great info!
July 21 2014 (1550 days ago)
soulyman (156729)
There is a log jam just below Cy Creek tributary (river MM 65+) and is not navigable on river left
by rafts from 5000K and above. It is in the picture files for this river but is very runnable river
right after catching a large eddy above the rock.
May 23 2009 (3435 days ago)
x (1)
High Water the upper stretch is very dangerous use extreme caution
July 27 2007 (4101 days ago)
x (1)
new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out!
www.montanaeddyhop.blogspot.com


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Documents

  • Wild River

    Letter from John Craighead on the issue of dams and the need for wild rivers.