Yaak - 2. Yaak Falls to Kootenai R.

Yaak, Montana, US


2. Yaak Falls to Kootenai R.

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 6.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm
Max Gradient 85 fpm



Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Yaak River near Troy MT
usgs-12304500 4.40 - 6.50 ft IV-V 00h15m 2.97 ft (too low)

River Description

The Yaak is one of the coolest runs in Montana. Access is easy, but the canyon has a remote feel. Green, mossy canyon walls and huge trees provide a beautiful setting. After several miles, watch for a log pile on river left, just above a left turn, where the river drops out of sight. This rapid is called "Stonechess", and is the crux rapid on the run. Scout on river left. The water really hauls ass through this part. Most of the rapid can be seen from the top. Most of what appear to be holes from above, are actually holes. If you decide to portage, do so on river right. This rapid has been the scene of much carnage in the past, but most class IV boaters will love it. After Stonechess is about another mile of closed in canyon, then lets up to class II for three miles or so. When you see two large trees with broken out tops, side by side on the left bank, you are coming into the last drop, appropriately called "Good To The Last Drop". GTTLD at most levels is a fun eddy hopping class IV boulder garden. If in doubt where to be, stay right. The gauge and US 2 Hwy bridge are just below. A USFS campground is south of Hwy 2 below the bridge. There is also a small campground at the putin.
To get to the putin, go West on Hwy 2 from the takeout for several miles to Yaak River Road. Go right up the road for about eight miles to Yaak Falls (yes it has been run). Put in at the campground just below the falls. The Yaak is fun at most levels above 800 cfs, and is optimal at 2500 for most paddlers. Flood stage is 7100 cfs, and is runnable, but epic. NOTE: At levels about 6500 CFS and above, the portage at Stonechess becomes impossible on river right, and next to impossible on river left.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2006-08-01 19:15:40


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 27 2014 (1701 days ago)
1yellownomad (156551)
On Friday May 23rd, 2014 we rafted this section at 7.1 feet, ~4900cfs. 2 paddlers and 1 oarsman.
Since we were solo we stuck to the inside of all corners to stay out of the big hydraulics on the
outside of turns. We caught the last river right eddy at the top of Stone Chess, then scraped down
the right side after determining the terminal holes down the left were not worth navigating without
safety. New wood was prevalent down the right side. The run out below Stone Chess was IV+ with a 15
foot curling wave just around the corner which was missed by going left. All boulders at Good to
the Last Drop were submerged creating a series of huge waves and breaking laterals. We ran this
starting left missing the top waves then charging center right. Powerful water buried the boat on
at least 2 occasions. A missed line or angle when taking on the holes would have been devastating
as no recovery zones exist until the Yaak confluence with the Kootenai. At this level a river wide
ledge exists just below GTTLD which requires gutting. We were able to skirt the meat of the next
ledge by going far left. For pictures and video please go to oregonraftingteam.com Tim Brink
July 27 2007 (4197 days ago)
x (1)
new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out!