Difficulty III+
Length 7 Miles
Gauge M F Flathead River near West Glacier MT
Flow Range 1000 - 8000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 22 minutes ago 571 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/23/2019 3:44 pm

River Description

This section of the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River boasts a long season, great moderate whitewater, and beautiful scenery and water quality. It can be paddled spring through fall, and except at May-June high flows is an outstanding intermediate whitewater run. River right is Glacier National Park, and river left is the Flathead National Forest. Commercial rafting opportunities are available based out of West Glacier.

Named rapids on the run are, in order: Tunnel, Bonecrusher, Washboard, Big Squeeze, Jaws, Pinball, Repeater, The Notch, and Pumphouse. Expect swirly eddies, some fun surf waves, and good pools between rapids.  

Put in at the well-signed Moccasin Creek access area along Highway 2. To reach the Take Out turn off of Highway 2 to enter West Glacier, and take the first righthand turn after you go under the railroad (about 1/4 mile). That small road will lead upstream along river left and shortly end at the historic Belton Bridge. If you are rafting you'll want to find another take-out as it is a short but steep trail to your car. If you are running the Middle Fork as a multi-day, camping and privacy are better in other reaches. 

As with all rivers, please clean, drain and dry your boat before paddling the Middle Fork to protect its outstanding water quality from aquatic invasive species. 

Paddlers Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species from American Whitewater on Vimeo.

Rapid Descriptions


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12 years ago

new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out! www.montanaeddyhop.blogspot.com

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

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Date Flow Result Factor  
2012-06-24 n/a Fatality Other Read More
2002-06-19 High Fatality Cold Water Read More



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Draft Flathead River Management Plan Released for Comment (MT)

Kevin Colburn

The Forest Service has released a Proposed Action which is essentially a partial draft management plan the forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River. The Proposed Action is available for public review and comment through September 13, 2019. The Forest Service proposed a number of management actions that would be triggered by encounter limits being reached, including new permit systems. We encourage Flathead River paddlers to give the agency some feedback on the encounter thresholds they propose, the proposed management actions, and the Proposed Action as a whole.

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Appeal Challenging Montana Navigability Is Denied

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!

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!

Kevin Colburn


Thomas O'Keefe


David Boger


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1213517 08/23/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1206723 07/14/16 Kevin Colburn length
1207130 01/05/17 Thomas O'Keefe minor updates
1209093 03/21/18 Kevin Colburn AIS film
1197366 03/07/10 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1193564 07/16/02 David Boger n/a
1206724 07/14/16 Kevin Colburn new Description