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.
new online whitewater guide for montana area paddling - check it out!
Letter from John Craighead on the issue of dams and the need for wild rivers.
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Typical Swirly Rapid
Belton Bridge Take Out
Typical MF Flathead Rapid
Surfing on the Middle Fork
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
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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