Rattlesnake Creek - Duncan Drive to Clark Fork

Rattlesnake Creek, Montana, US


Duncan Drive to Clark Fork

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 3.4 Miles

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&


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-12-12 15:15:40


Stream team editor

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 1 2017 (565 days ago)
skycova (159304)
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
July 1 2017 (565 days ago)
skycova (159304)
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.