Swan, Montana, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||100 fpm|
|Max Gradient||100 fpm|
|Swan River near Bigfork, MT|
|usgs-12370000||800 - 4000 cfs||III-IV||00h45m||5050 cfs (too high)|
WOW!! This is it!! The "Wild Mile" !! Home of the Bigfork Whitewater festival held at
the end of May.
Locals get to run this as early as the first part of April, depending on snow melt. Runnout extends longer than most Montana Rivers, thanks to Swan Lake, which feeds out warm water into July most years.
If you are new to the mile, be sure to scout the "Big Drop" about a hundred yards from the putin.
For 13 miles from Swan Lake to Bigfork Dam, the Swan river is flat and lazy. But from the dam to the powerhouse, the river drops 100 feet in 1.25 miles. Past the powerhouse in Bigfork, the river enters Flathead Lake.
As flows drop in summer, scheduled opportunities are provided thanks to the advocay of American Whitewater. During the month of July and August the generators are turned off on Wednesday evenings to restore the full project flow into the river channel. These releases take place from 5 pm - 9 pm and are contingent on project inflows equal to or greater than 800 cfs at 8 am the day of the release. In most years this provides boatable flows on Wednesday evenings through the month of July but by August inflow typically drops below 800 cfs and the releases are no longer provided.
Put in: River left just below the dam.
Take out: River left, just below the powerhouse.