Blackfoot, North Fork - Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In)


Blackfoot, North Fork, Montana, US

Disclaimer

Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In)

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles

Nice Upper Rapid


Nice Upper Rapid
Photo of Michael Fiebig by Kevin Colburn taken 06/24/16 @ 440 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
NF Blackfoot R ab Dry Gulch nr Ovando MT
usgs-12338300 350 - 2500 cfs IV 00h28m 179 cfs (too low)


River Description

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.

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-12-12 15:21:23

Moe on the North Fork Blackfoot

Detail Trip Report  Moe on the North Fork Blackfoot  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(7.23MB .jpeg)

Ben Whaley dropping 7-10

Detail Trip Report  Ben Whaley dropping 7-10  Blackfoot, North Fork, MT(84.10KB .jpeg)

N.F. of the Blackfoot...

Detail Trip Report  N.F. of the Blackfoot...  Blackfoot, North Fork, MT(587.64KB .jpeg)

N.F. of the Blackfoot...

Detail Trip Report  N.F. of the Blackfoot...  Blackfoot, North Fork, MT(468.97KB .jpeg)

Entering Six Pin

Detail Trip Report  Entering Six Pin  N. Fork Blackfoot, MT(78.37KB .jpeg)

DDD entering Six Pin

Detail Trip Report  DDD entering Six Pin  N. Fork Blackfoot, MT(110.56KB .jpeg)

Six Pin

Detail Trip Report  Six Pin  N. Fork Blackfoot, MT(93.61KB .jpeg)

N. Fk Blackfoot above bridge

Detail Trip Report  N. Fk Blackfoot above bridge  Blackfoot, North Fork, MT(39.37KB .jpeg)

Six Pin

Detail Trip Report  Six Pin  Blackfoot, North Fork, MT(109.95KB .jpeg)

Stunning NF Blackfoot Scenery

Detail Trip Report  Stunning NF Blackfoot Scenery  @Blackfoot, North Fork Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R., MT(2.84MB .jpeg)

Calving Avalanche Chutes

Detail Trip Report  Calving Avalanche Chutes  @Blackfoot, North Fork Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R., MT(2.94MB .jpeg)

Lower Canyon

Detail Trip Report  Lower Canyon  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(11.86MB .jpeg)

Nice Upper Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Nice Upper Rapid  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(6.30MB .jpeg)

Low Water North Fork

Detail Trip Report  Low Water North Fork  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(12.39MB .jpeg)

North Fork BeeBop

Detail Trip Report  North Fork BeeBop  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(6.27MB .jpeg)

North Fork Blackfoot at 2200 - Boom'in!

Detail Trip Report  North Fork Blackfoot at 2200 - Boom'in!  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(2.87MB .jpeg)

NF Blackfoot Near the Takeout

Detail Trip Report  NF Blackfoot Near the Takeout  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), MT(2.81MB .jpeg)

Lower Canyon

Detail Trip Report  Lower Canyon  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), (6.06MB .jpeg)

Great class III

Detail Trip Report  Great class III  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), (6.28MB .jpeg)

Open up top

Detail Trip Report  Open up top  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), (6.82MB .jpeg)

Susan and Adam

Detail Trip Report  Susan and Adam  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), (6.30MB .jpeg)

Upper rapids

Detail Trip Report  Upper rapids  @Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), (6.96MB .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
NF Blackfoot R ab Dry Gulch nr Ovando MT
usgs-12338300 350 - 2500 cfs IV 00h28m 179 cfs (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
350 -2500 cfs barely runnable-high runnable IV

Report - Reports of Blackfoot, North Fork Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In) 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.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Blackfoot, North Fork [MT] Ben Whaley dropping 7-10 low medium Ben Clack
286d16h34m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. Lower Canyon 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
286d16h34m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. Great class III 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
286d16h34m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. Open up top 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
286d16h34m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. Susan and Adam 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
286d16h34m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. Upper rapids 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
1y19d16h35m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Moe on the North Fork Blackfoot n/a Kevin Colburn
2y93d10h07m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] North Fork BeeBop 440 cfs Kevin Colburn
2y93d10h07m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Lower Canyon 440 cfs Kevin Colburn
2y93d10h07m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Nice Upper Rapid 440 cfs Kevin Colburn
2y93d10h07m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Low Water North Fork 440 cfs Kevin Colburn
7y132d12h47m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Calving Avalanche Chutes 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
7y132d12h47m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] NF Blackfoot Near the Takeout n/a Kevin Colburn
7y132d13h01m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] North Fork Blackfoot at 2200 - Boom'in! 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
7y132d13h01m /Blackfoot, North Fork-Wilderness Boundary to Blackfoot R. [MT] Stunning NF Blackfoot Scenery 0 cfs Kevin Colburn
> 10 years N. Fork Blackfoot [MT] DDD entering Six Pin 1100 Steve Rodgers
> 10 years Blackfoot, North Fork [MT] Six Pin n/a Steve Rodgers
> 10 years Blackfoot, North Fork [MT] N.F. of the Blackfoot... 1700 cfs Brian Mattingly
> 10 years Blackfoot, North Fork [MT] N. Fk Blackfoot above bridge n/a Steve Rodgers

WXPort

News





User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 9 2018 (78 days ago)
caarma01 (154316)
Ran the upper stretch on 7/4/18 at 325 CFS; it was low, but still plenty of water and lots of fun
with a creeky feel. Ran again on 7/7/18 at about 255 on the DNRC gauge; still lots of fun and
enough water, but not sure I would want to go much lower.
May 23 2018 (125 days ago)
twomed (158246)
Has anybody been up to look at the river this year? With this new gauge and the statement that it
can be run at 210 I am wondering how the new gauge correlates to the old. Any Beta would be
appreciated.
May 14 2012 (2325 days ago)
Brian FrenchDetails
Ran the upper stretch on 5/12/2012 at 1300 cfs or so. Six Pin has some new wood (at least new to
me) stacked up above the crux on the river right side that significantly restricts the line. It's
still runnable, but basically zero room for any error going into the crux move at the end of the
rapid and the wood hangs out right where the flow pushes you off the right bank. It wouldn't be as
big of an issue at lower flows - say around 1000 cfs or below. The log jam mentioned below a ways
down from Six Pin is still there, but has an open line on the left side that you can't see until
you're right on top of it - we verified it's wide open after portaging though.
June 3 2008 (3766 days ago)
x (1)
There is a very large log jam about a mile and a half up from the take-out (bridge) . I could see
it being a problem above 3000 cfs. Keep your eyes peeled(there is a sneak route around the left
side.) There is a route through everything (except for a riverwide strainer below 6 pin) but lots
of sketchy wood.
June 2 2008 (3767 days ago)
x (1)
Just ran the NF from above the bridge all the way down, only significant wood was a riverwide log
about 1/4 mile below six pin... hard to see comming up, but eddy out on left. 2200 CFS... great
ride!
May 12 2008 (3788 days ago)
x (1)
Were you in the Subaru, New hampshire plates? I was there on the 11th too. I hiked in at least
4-miles past the trailhead (which still has snow slides blocking the last 1/2 mile of the road
leading to the trailhead). True, there is wood scattered about, but nothing out of the ordinary for
this run. The lines are still clear--just don't swim! I saw big cat tracks off the beaten path.
February 3 2006 (4617 days ago)
Ben ClackDetails
The upper run is very much worth your while. Don't be put off by the "I-III" rating, as
that only applies to the lower reaches several miles below the campground. Hike in above campground
about 3miles or so to about a 1/4mile past the bridge. You will be rewarded with several class IV
drops, and one V-, depending on flows of course. Flows above 650 or so are OK, but I prefer around
900 or so for a creeky feel, big water feel anything above 1200 or so. WATCH FOR WOOD, also be
aware this is Grizzly country.

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Join_or_Renew_Logo-200px

Join or Renew


Or, consider donating

Donate_Logo-200px

Donate


General Nonmember Message


 reach  
 state  
 reachlink  
 Foot Bridge to Road Bridge (Hike In), Blackfoot, North Fork Montana, US (mobile)