Beartrap Canyon is a highly scenic whitewater run through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness with a reasonable road shuttle. The run features some great technical Class II and III rapids leading up to Kitchen Sink, a standout powerful class IV rapid that may be class V at high flows located approximately halfway down the 10 mile run. Below Kitchen sink more fun rapids await before the gradient eases and the takeout is reached.
The run begins immediately downstream of the dam that forms Ennis Lake. During times of high inflows the section between the dam and the powerhouse contain some great Class III technical rapids, including a double drop rapid in a relatively narrow pinch that might be class IV at high flows. When flows drop the dam is capable of rendering this section too low to paddle. Below the powerhouse flows are more likely to be found, but the dam does pulse flows so be aware that flows may change dramatically.
new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out!
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Big Boof at the bottom of Kitchen Sink
Adam Elliott near the put in
The dam and diversion pipe from the upper put in.
Big canyon views in Beartrap.
Susan finishing Double Drop in the bypassed reach.
Looking downstream at Kitchen Sink at 1900cfs.
Looking upstream from the bottom of Kitchen Sink at 1900
Pelicans on Beartrap Canyon
Adam Elliott in Kitchen Sink at 1900cfs.
Beartrap Canyon of the Madison (MT)
Kitchen Sink at 2400 cfs
Double Drop - 1st drop
Navigating down Kitchen Sink
Awesome views on Bear Trap Canyon
Bear Trap Canyon put-in
Windy Day in Bear Trap Canyon
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
PPL Montana will reopen the road that provides access to its Madison Dam and public recreation areas immediately downstream in the Bear Trap Canyon for the Labor Day weekend. The road was closed after equipment atop the west side of the dam was damaged by a falling boulder from the wall of BearTrapCanyon early Monday (8/30)
The Custer-Gallatin National Forest has proposed new protections for 18 outstanding streams in Montana through their forest planning process. The Forests propose to manage these streams as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation, along with 12 other rivers and streams previously determined to be eligible. The Forests’ analysis is solid in our view and merits appreciation from paddlers, though there is room for a bit of improvement. They are accepting comments through August 12, 2017.
Wild rivers and their enthusiasts got some good news with the release of the new 15-20 year Forest plan for the Flathead National Forest. The decision newly protects 22 streams as eligible for Wild and Scenic designation, based in large part on the advocacy of American Whitewater and our awesome partners and members in Montana. These protections will serve as a vital steppingstone to the designation of some of our Nation’s most outstanding headwater streams.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!