This photo needs editing.
Difficulty V
Length 10.3 Miles
Gauge M F Flathead River near West Glacier MT
Flow Range 1200 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 353 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 03/21/2018 2:08 pm

River Description


McDonald Creek an easily accessed creek run in Glacier National Park. The run is characterized by a handful of challenging Class V bedrock drops separated by Class I/II sections offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. At least one drop may require portaging. Clear blue water and wildlife viewing opportunities add to the creek's special experience, as do spectators gathered at overlooks. All major rapids can be seen from overlooks on the Going to the Sun Road.

NOTE: McDonald Creek is CLOSED TO BOATING from April 1 to September 30 to protect harlequin duck nesting habitat. The road is also noted as 'closed winters'. These closures make catching the creek with suitable water levels extremely difficult. Please follow this Park rule, and boat with the utmost care for natural resources and the experience of other visitors when enjoying rivers and streams in any National Park. Check out Paddlers Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species from American Whitewater on Vimeo.

In addition, All streams in Glacier National Park require paddlers to first visit an invasive mussel check station. These stations are currently (2017) open only May 15 - October 31, so paddlers may not paddle in Glacier outside of these timeframes. This, in combo with the duck closure, means that McDonald Creek is currently only legal to paddle in October. Check here before visiting. 

Rapid Descriptions

Sacred Dancing Cascade

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

McDonald Falls

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Comments

Gauge Description


The Middle Fork Flathead gage appears to be a good gage to estimate flows in McDonald Creek, as well as other Middle Fork tributaries.  

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Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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No Accident Reports

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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Rob