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Difficulty II
Length 61 Miles
Gauge Boulder River near Boulder MT
Flow Range 200 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 20 minutes ago 330 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/27/2011 9:39 pm

River Description

Class rating from MT DFWP water_char field in rec.db

Rapid Descriptions


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1 year ago

****BOULDER WHITEWATER**** The whitewater starts above the small mining town of Basin and gives floaters a few miles of class 3 waves and holes. The difficulty increases as flows get over 800 cfs. The minimum for kayaking is around 450 cfs. The minimum for rafting is around 800 cfs. The put-in is an unmarked gravel flat reached by turning into the Merry Widow campground and turning right just after a large wooden sign. It is a couple hundred yards upstream of the campground proper and is private property. Please be extra respectful here. The take out is at an informal campground upstream of the High Ore off-ramp. A non-maintained road follows the river on the north side. The float can be extended by putting-in upstream a couple more miles near the Bernice off-ramp and taking out at the Galena Gulch campground. Caution: Watch for barbed wire strung across river under a bridge approx. 2 miles above Basin and sometimes there is an electric fence wire across river in section along town. Also, the bridges above Basin and the rapid above Merry Widow c.g. are generally the biggest wood catchers. It would be worth checking these out before floating. ****BASIN CREEK**** For those looking to step up the action, this is one of the best class 4 creek runs in central Montana. Everything can be scouted within a short walk from the road, and everything can be portaged. The run is only 1 1/2 miles in length but can be run multiple times. A usually mandatory portage around a large log occurs about 1/2 way down, but can be run when the water is high and going over the top. Wood is the biggest hazard on this run and will not get any better due to beetle kill. Scouting and cleaning is highly recommended before paddling!! Directions: Drive into Basin proper (going west), turn right on Quartz (mile 0). Follow Basin cr for 3.8 miles. The take-out is a grassy little meadow just after the cattle guard. N 46 17.712 W 112 17.647 Continue for 1.4 miles and put-in at Basin canyon camp ground. N 46 18.608 W 112 18.413 Floating above or below is not recommended due to wood and potentially hostile land owners. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL! ****BISON CREEK**** A mile long section has been paddled from the roadside waterfall down to the first meadow with road access. Class 3+ with some wood. Take-out is found by following non-maintained road from west side of Bernice off-ramp. Put-in is down hill of interstate pull out, below funky waterfall.

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

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Date Flow Result Factor  
2009-08-09 Medium Fatality Other 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!

Matt Muir


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190786 01/19/02 n/a n/a
1199941 04/27/11 Thomas O'Keefe photo added