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


Flathead, Middle Fork, Montana, US

Disclaimer

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 00h38m 416 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



Surfing on the Flathead

Detail Trip Report  Surfing on the Flathead  Middle Fork of the Flathead, MT(60.18KB .jpeg)

MF Flathead

Detail Trip Report  MF Flathead  Flathead, Middle Fork, MT(13.56KB .jpeg)

MF Flathead

Detail Trip Report  MF Flathead  Bear Creek, MT(48.27KB .jpeg)

Bear Creek, MT

Detail Trip Report  Bear Creek, MT  Bear Creek, MT(50.02KB .jpeg)

Bear Creek Close-up

Detail Trip Report  Bear Creek Close-up  Bear Creek, MT(54.82KB .jpeg)

Ledge drop on Schaffer's

Detail Trip Report  Ledge drop on Schaffer's  Flathead, Middle Fork, MT(1.82MB .bmp)

Rob on the ledge drop

Detail Trip Report  Rob on the ledge drop  Flathead, Middle Fork, MT(2.41MB .bmp)

Schaffers Meadow

Detail Trip Report  Schaffers Meadow  Flathead, Middle Fork, MT(792.92KB .jpeg)

Loaded up for Schaffers Meadow

Detail Trip Report  Loaded up for Schaffers Meadow  Flathead, Middle Fork, MT(763.33KB .jpeg)

Spruce Park low water

Detail Trip Report  Spruce Park low water  Middle Fork Flathead (from Schaffer Meadows), MT(23.21KB .jpeg)

Lower Spruce Park

Detail Trip Report  Lower Spruce Park  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(155.66KB .jpeg)

First day section

Detail Trip Report  First day section  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(158.50KB .jpeg)

Three Forks

Detail Trip Report  Three Forks  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(155.59KB .jpeg)

Upper 25 Mile

Detail Trip Report  Upper 25 Mile  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(4.09MB .jpeg)

Lower 25 mile

Detail Trip Report  Lower 25 mile  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(164.05KB .jpeg)

Cye Creek not on map

Detail Trip Report  Cye Creek not on map  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(158.59KB .jpeg)

Upper Spruce Park

Detail Trip Report  Upper Spruce Park  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(4.35MB .jpeg)

Middle Spruce Park

Detail Trip Report  Middle Spruce Park  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(182.96KB .jpeg)

Packrafting the Flathead

Detail Trip Report  Packrafting the Flathead  @Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , MT(6.07MB .jpeg)


Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

The gauge is about 60 miles downstream of this run.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
M F Flathead River near West Glacier MT
usgs-12358500 1000 - 20000 cfs I-IV 00h38m 416 cfs (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
1000 -20000 cfs barely runnable-high runnable I-IV Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

Report - Reports of Flathead, Middle Fork 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Middle Fork Flathead (from Schaffer Meadows) [MT] Spruce Park low water Low Brian French
Flathead, Middle Fork [MT] Loaded up for Schaffers Meadow n/a Joe Vesey
Flathead, Middle Fork [MT] Rob on the ledge drop n/a Whitewater Heroes LLC
Bear Creek [MT] Bear Creek Close-up n/a Stream Boy
Flathead, Middle Fork [MT] MF Flathead n/a Matt Muir
334d05h37m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] MF Flathead, 6/2017 n/a Mark McKinstry
1y359d17h25m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Packrafting the Flathead n/a Paul Wailand
4y64d00h41m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Schafer to Essex 8000 cfs JASON GRAS
4y72d00h22m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Three Forks 8100 cfs JASON GRAS
4y72d23h47m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Middle Spruce Park 7000 cfs JASON GRAS
4y73d02h52m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Lower Spruce Park 7000 cfs JASON GRAS
4y73d03h22m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Upper Spruce Park 7000 cfs JASON GRAS
4y73d23h58m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Cye Creek not on map 7800 cfs JASON GRAS
4y74d02h22m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Lower 25 mile 7800 cfs JASON GRAS
4y74d03h22m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] Upper 25 Mile 7800 cfs JASON GRAS
4y75d00h24m /Flathead, Middle Fork-1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek [MT] First day section 8100 cfs JASON GRAS
> 10 years Middle Fork of the Flathead [MT] Surfing on the Flathead 20,000 cfs BradR

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News




Journal Archive Articles

Pionnering the Flathead

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 21 2014 (1524 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 (1524 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 (3409 days ago)
x (1)
High Water the upper stretch is very dangerous use extreme caution
July 27 2007 (4075 days ago)
x (1)
new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out!
www.montanaeddyhop.blogspot.com

Rapid Descriptions

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 1. Schafer Meadows to Bear Creek , Flathead, Middle Fork Montana, US (mobile)