Boulder, West - above the campground

Boulder, West, Montana, US


above the campground

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 150 fpm

Barry at first big drop

Barry at first big drop
Photo of Barry Bohrer by D. Schroeder taken 6/05

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Boulder River at Big Timber MT
usgs-06200000 1400 - 2500 cfs IV-V 00h43m 171 cfs (too low)

River Description

The West Boulder is an excellent run in a wild and incredibly beautiful setting. Start hiking up the trail at the end of West Boulder Road. After a while you will come to a beautiful meadow with the river winding in wide s-curves down the center. The views from this meadow of the Absarokee Mountains are stunning and it is a great pleasure to float through them on the wind-down from the drops found upstream. Continue on for a few more miles. The two major drops (V's) are easily scouted on the way up and are just as fun as they look from the trail. If the holes in the center and river right side of the biggest drop have you biting your nails and the fun factor appears low, you should probably leave this one alone. The other smaller "s-turns" drop runs very cleanly and is a hoot. We slid in just downstream of the river wide log.
A bit further up the trail is an obvious gorged-up section. Scout this thoroughly for wood and know that the hardest part about this gorge is the drops just upstream that are difficult to scout. We put in about a half mile above this first gorge and very soon found ourselves dropping into some chunky, threatening class V. Move slowly through here.
The river is fun, pretty fast, and the gorge and the two big drops are of very high quality. There are a couple of other really fun drops laced throughout West Boulder as well. You will know 'em when you see 'em. The hike is long (6+ miles) but not overly steep and the views are excellent the whole way. Enjoy.

Lat/longitude coordinates, especially of the putin, are a rough approximation, from online maps.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-10-31 13:26:27


The Big One

Detail Trip Report  The Big One  West Boulder, MT(82.94KB .jpeg)

Barry at first big drop

Detail Trip Report  Barry at first big drop  West Boulder, MT(107.40KB .jpeg)

At Camp

Detail Trip Report  At Camp  West Boulder, MT(99.50KB .jpeg)

Gauge Information

We have no additional information about how various flows affect runnability (or playability) of this section of river. If you can provide additional information, please either directly contact the StreamTeam member for this reach, or add a 'comment' or a 'report' with your information to help out your fellow boaters.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Boulder River at Big Timber MT
usgs-06200000 1400 - 2500 cfs IV-V 00h43m 171 cfs (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
1400 -2500 cfs barely runnable-high runnable IV-V Note that this gauge is on the mainstem river in West Boulder's watershed; therefore, it should be used with caution.

Report - Reports of Boulder, West above the campground and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
West Boulder [MT] At Camp n/a David Schroeder
West Boulder [MT] The Big One low side David Schroeder



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Associated News

Montana National Forest Proposes New River Protections
July 31, 2017

 above the campground, Boulder, West Montana, US (mobile)