It's absolutely beautiful, a mini-Smith River. You should watch out for a few class 3's above the canyon (which starts about the last 3rd of the float), especially at the entrance but pretty much stay center. The canyon is awesome, swift pushy water could lead to a bunch of wall collisions, but not a serious danger at lower water. I would caution about higher flows because of the hydraulics, yet we did talk to someone today who did it and they went through it fine. It'll take around 5-8 hrs, depending on flow and stops.
Also fairly close to Monarch there's a barbed-wire fence, and depending on flows you might have to portage but it's not blind. I also recommend doing the Neihart section; we did it today at real high flows in IK's and it's definitely a ride.
Belt Creek flows through Sluice Boxes State Park as well as a mix of private property. Please be respectful of private property, and follow State Park rules. Belt Creek has little to no paddling infrastructure (bathrooms, formal launches, etc), so please make every effort to leave no trace in this special river canyon.
Probably my top 3 bodies of water for whitewater in Montana. Love Belt creek! Beware of fallen trees rafters!
Quick update - there can be obstructions from Monarch put in to Sluice box state park, so be careful, especially rafts with gear. Last year (early May 2019), we had to portage a couple times, as there was one fallen tree across creek.
Flow - typically 500-800 cfs is a fun ride. We ran Belt in May 2019 at 350 cfs, which is low but that is what worked for everyone. In my opinion, above 800 cfs the water gets real pushy, especially through the sluice boxes and boiling eddies. This can be difficult to navigate for the amateur paddler.
Prepare for 5-6 hour float from Monarch to Sluice box state park. We have put in at Logging creek to sluice boxes, which cuts the time to about 2-3 hours depending on flow. Logging creek road can be rough though.
looks like MT FWP removed the logjam in the canyon on Aug 6 2010. Was up there last weekend in August and took a short hike up. At home saw these posts and then investigated further. See full article here: http://www.kxlh.com/news/logjam-removed-belt-creek-open-again/
Gauge information. There was a USGS gauge at Monarch from 1951 to 1982. Historical data from that gauge is available at:
Other historical USGS gauges on Belt Creek can be found at:
The topo map shows a gauge site just upstream of Rice. USGS does not list this gauge so it may be maintained by another agency. It may or may not be currently functional.
If you are looking to put on with a raft, logging creek bridge is a good put on. From Monarch to logging creek is much less raft friendly and there are barb wire fences. From logging creek down there are not any fences and the water is deeper. There are a couple cabins on one side of the creek at logging creek, put on on the opposite side of the cabins. There is a small turn out on that side and just up river from it is a nice grassy place to walk your boats down.
Monarch to the sluice box takeout: No info on gauges, but if theres around 4-6
inches at the monarch put-in, its do able. Itll take around 5-8hrs depending on flow and stops. Its absolutely beautiful, a mini-smith river. A few class 3's above canyon (which starts about the last 3rd of the float) you should watch out for, especially at the entrance but pretty much stay center. The canyon is awesome, swift pushy water could lead to a bunch of wall collisions, but at lower water not a danger. I would caution to do it higher flows bc of the hydraulics, yet we did talk to someone today who did it and they went through it fine. Make sure to stop and throw a line in of theres a hatch. Also fairly close to monarch theres a barb-wire fence, and depending on flows you might have to portage but its not blind. I also recomend doing the neihart section, we did it today at real high flows in ik's and its definitly a ride.
Anyone got any info on this one? I am looking to run Belt creek through the Sluiceboxes and I cannot find much info. Even stage/Gauge info would be helpful, i.e. when it is too high, too low etc. Thanks in advance.
10 years ago
by Dustin Prinzing
11 years ago
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Big Sandstone wall
Into the Sluiceboxes
Sluice Box Canyon
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