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Difficulty II(III)
Length 56 Miles
Gauge Big Hole River near Glen MT
Flow Range 2.00 - 7.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 22 minutes ago 2.47 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 07/07/2020 7:37 pm

River Description

While the Big Hole River is most notable for it's fishing, it also provides a fun short run for beginners and veteran paddlers, with lots of downriver play spots. The only whitewater on the Big Hole is known as the "canyon stretch" which is a short run between Dewey and Divide. There are several access points to the river depending on how long you want your float to be, but running the canyon stretch you put in at George Grant RAP, and takeout at the Divide Bridge RAP/ Campground. The diversion dam at the old powerhouse just upriver of the takeout had a center section of the river taken out, allowing it to be runnable. For those looking to scout or portage the dam, there is a paved pathway on river right just above the dam, which is not signed. At higher flows, the dam turns in to a large retentive hydraulic. At lower flows, the slot through the dam provides a big wave train in to a breaking wave/ hole. 

There are three main rapids above the dam, with scattered riffles in between. Scouting the rapids from shore is tricky due to the scree banks, but boat scouting should be sufficient. All three rapids are near the entrance of the run and provide features such as wave trains, holes, and strong eddy lines, making it great for those starting to pick their lines, or those wanting to get some downriver play in. 

Be aware that this run is very popular with fishing, so heads up for fishing lines, drift boats, or shoreline casts.

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

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Date Flow Result Factor  
2014-07-18 n/a Fatality Cold Water Read More
1999-05-31 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1999-05-30 Medium Fatality Other Read More
1996-06-23 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More



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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!

Dannie Keil


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1215425 07/07/20 Dannie Keil updated name
1215426 07/07/20 Dannie Keil updated stats
1215427 07/07/20 Dannie Keil updated description
1215428 07/07/20 Dannie Keil updated description
1190777 05/12/02 n/a n/a