Thompson River - Little Thompson River to Clark Fork Confluence

Thompson River, Montana, US


Little Thompson River to Clark Fork Confluence

Usual Difficulty I-III (varies with level)
Length 17.5 Miles

1300 cfs

1300 cfs
Photo taken 05/25/12

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Thompson River near Thompson Falls MT
usgs-12389500 500 - 2500 cfs I-III 01h15m 130 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Thompson is a beautiful roadside river with several short interesting sections of easy whitewater separated by realtively long sections of flat moving water. The rapids are generally located near the confluence with the Clark Fork, and upstream about 3-4 miles in an obvious section of rapids. Rapids are comparable in difficulty to the Blackfoot River, with a bit more complexity and structure. The river begins up near Highway 2 in "Thompson Lakes," and flows south through Plumb Creek Timber Co. and Lolo National Forest service lands. Although the biggest whitewater may be near the end, good paddling starts near the Little Thompson River confluence.

There are two roads paralleling the river. Thompson River Road is the main highway and runs along the west (river right) side of the river.  The river-left road is smaller and provides ample river access and scouting opportunities.  Bridges connect the two roads only at Little Thompson River and near Clark Fork.

Getting there:  The Thompson River is located in the northwest corner of Montana. It flows into the Clark Fork just east of Thompson Falls, which is west of Plains, MT along Hwy. 200.  

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-05-28 16:40:57

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
10.9West Fork Thompson confluenceN/A

Rapid Descriptions

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 25 2012 (2428 days ago)
southpawcanoo (154428)
I'm over in this neck of the woods quite often. During higher flows the water remains relatively
clear; however, I would venture to class sections of this river as as threesy-foursy during Spring
runoff, soley because of a section just upstream from Snider that contains numerous submerged snags
between large boulder gardens (similar to the dalles on rock creek). The deadfall and strainers
only become visible during low water conditions. This would be a VERY dangerous place to swim.
However, there are some reaches upstream that harbor some beautiful wave trains and pool drop runs.
April 26 2008 (3918 days ago)
x (1)
You should see it at 1,200 or even 2,000 it gets even more fun. I think that around 2,000 it
warants a class IV, and is much faster and pushier with a few log jams to avoid. It is a blast, and
one of my favorite rivers in western MT. Also it can be a great warmup for Prospect Creek which is
just the other side of T Falls.