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Difficulty II-III
Length 3.4 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range N/A
Flow Rate as of: 1 second ago N/A
Reach Info Last Updated 12/12/2017 3:15 pm

River Description


Rattlesnake Creek at medium and high flows offers Missoulians a zoomy and splashy paddling trip through the neighborhoods and parks of the Rattlesnake valley.  There are no rapids to speak of, just non-stop Class II wavetrains.  The ever-present possibility (and likelihood) of strainers in combination with a lack of eddies however makes this run a poor choice for less skilled whitewater paddlers.

Currently, there are no less than nine river-wide strainers between the Duncan put-in and the Clark Fork confluence. Six occurr above the Lolo street bridge, and three occur between the Lolo Street Bridge and the Greenough Park trailhead.

Some of the upper strainers are marked upstream with large cairns, however most are not. The city of Missoula has no interest in removing the wood, so please be advised and proceed with caution.

There are also a number of braided channels and tight corners that pose a challenge to paddlers. While not without its challenges, Rattlesnake Creek offers a rare opportunity to paddle an often beautiful creek through a town, with an easy bike shuttle. 

Track flows here: http://data.mbmg.mtech.edu/swamp/reports/GageReport.asp?SiteId=3897474&agency=mbmg&reqby=M&

 

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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J. Sky Cova
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1 year ago

As of 2017, there were just 2 river-wide logs across the stream from Duncan to the Clark Fork; one just below the Mountain View Bridge Pedestrian Bridge, the other just below the Alder St Bridge. The most reliable run was to stay right at every fork. Reading the gauges at the upper Greenough Park pedestrian bridge next to City Drive, good floating is from ~80 cm to ~40 cm. Above 85 the creek may run hazardously fast if strainers are encountered. Below 45 cm the creek starts to get bony.

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J. Sky Cova
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1 year ago

The reason for putting in at Duncan Drive (and not above) is a river-wide hazardous dam structure that usually acts as a strainer. Water flows under the dam, through a metal grate, usually clogged with logs. You could easily lose a paddler to this structure. The section between Sawmill Gulch Road Bridge and Duncan Drive is not recommended. If you want to link, exit left above the first concrete structure encountered and portage the 1/4 mile to put in below the dam.

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Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description


There are a number of access points to Rattlesnake Creek including the end of Duncan Drive, the PEAS Farm, Greenough Park, and Brennans Wave on the Clark Fork can serve as a nice takeout.  Please respect private lands that border much of the river.  Also note that there is a dam just below the main Rattlesnake Recreation Area Trailhead (and upstream of the Duncan Drive Put In) that is very difficult to portage, making a trip from the trailhead unpleasant.

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Alerts

News

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Flathead River Tributaries Get Protection for Christmas (MT)

2019-01-11 14:45:00-05
Kevin Colburn

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. 

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Appeal Challenging Montana Navigability Is Denied

2003-07-28 00:00:00-04
Jason Robertson

On May 28 the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by Mountain States Legal Foundation who filed a lawsuit in June 2001 alleging the 1985 Montana Stream Access Law violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution to regulate who floated over their land.

The decision thereby protects Montana's Stream access law and public rights of navigation throughout the State.

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River Recreationists Win Big in Montana!

2001-01-09 00:00:00-05
Jason Robertson

The Missoulian newspaper reported on January 5th, 2001 that U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell dismissed a case brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation challenging public recreational rights on Montana’s rivers and streams. This is a huge win for boaters and fishermen!
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Kevin Colburn

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clinton begley