Blackfoot, North Fork, Montana, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|NF Blackfoot R ab Dry Gulch nr Ovando MT|
|usgs-12338300||350 - 2500 cfs||IV||216d09h14m||150 cfs (too low)|
The North Fork of the Blackfoot is a Missoula area creeking staple for those willing to hike. It offers kayakers and packrafters a long season, excellent whitewater and scenery, and a character that changes dramatically with flows. At low flows (350-650) it offers really nice Class III/IV creek boating and ideal advanced packrafting. At medium flows (650-1200) The North Fork is creeky but powerful class IV with one V-. Flows over 1,200 result in a big water feel and it becomes a big fast wave train with some vital hole and wood dodging.
Hike as far as you want upstream on a good trail and paddle back out to the bridge a mile or so downstream from the trailhead. For the full package, hike to about 1/4 mile upstream of the foot bridge, but beyond that the river is extremely steep and generally unrunnable. Scout for wood from the trail and while on the water, and bring your bear spray!
With the USGS gage unplugged, use this DNRC gage, and look for 210 as a minimum, creeky, but still fun flow.
Thanks to Ben Clack for contributing to this description.