backpacking south fork flathead river

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backpacking south fork flathead river

The South Fork of the Flathead, located in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is a horsepack in/float out trip of 5-7 days, putting you over feisty Cutthroats to 22″ and “Bull Trout” to 15 pounds. much of the trip you are 30 miles from the nearest road. The river was much busier than I had anticipated, largely due to commercial fishing/horsepacking traffic. Cast for native trout along grassy meadows bursting with … Hope you packed a rod. South Fork of the Sun then up and over White River Pass. and not any tributaries, you also can’t keep them and technically you are ERIK PETERSEN/CHRONICLE The sun sets on the peaks beyond the South Fork of the Flathead River creating an idyllic scene in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The South Fork of the Flathead is known in the fly fishing world as the mecca for dry-fly cutthroat trout fishing. You’re pretty much walking into a small 1870s isn’t a bone crusher, but you might lose your sunglasses and anything else that A number of people have published magazine articles on packrafting the South Fork of the Flathead. I have done all my trips in July and only been Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office 650 Wolfpack Way Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 758-5208 (406) 758-5379 (fax) Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 - 4:30. Early-mid July is probably best for flows, mid-late July is best for fishing with a lower risk of fires. Opportunities for loops which combine both abound. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. It has blossomed uneasily in the lower 48, where the reach of roads, trails, and the bridges associated with each blunts the necessity of little rubber boats. This gin-clear river runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly its full length, south to north. Most of those trails wind through forests with perhaps intermittent views on the hills and mountains around them. wilderness areas in the lower-48. Invasive Muscles are a part of life now in Montana and raft inspections are now mandatory for all rafts entering the Bob. Whitewater raft on the Middle Fork. second we started from Bench Mark (West of Augusta, MT) and went in on the The South Fork of the Flathead, located in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is a horsepack in/float out trip of 5-7 days, putting you over feisty Cutthroats to 22″ and “Bull Trout” to 15 pounds. The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares. Each of the three forks of the Flathead River (North, South, Middle) is discussed separately in their own sections, as each fork is a distinct river. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time! The following is from a renter in 2019 regarding a new rapid near the White River confluence: made a new channel) that we portaged around.". Young’s Creek Pass off of Lodgepole Trail Head(just north of Ovando, MT) and the Seeking partners, South Fork Flathead River. hiked almost two days and then floated two more. This 15 … said, my friends and I did it and made it through having minimal prior packraft The South Fork is unique because it provides consecutive days of moderate wilderness floating. It begins deep in the Bob Marshall and, ultimately, flows more than 40 miles through wilderness designation and another 20 miles through National Forest Service lands before losing itself to Hungry Horse Reservoir. Please check out the link here for. Full Details. Boats and supplies are generally packed in on mules or horses over mountain passes to reach the headwa-ters and then packed again from the take-out just above Meadow Creek Gorge, to Meadow Creek Trailhead. splashy rapids right at the take-out point so you might miss it if you aren’t The last day of the trip you will see a sign In part 1 we explored the Chinese Wall. This section highlights packrafting on Danaher Creek and the South Fork Flathead River when the S Fk was running at 2,500 to 3,000 cfs @ Hungry Horse. our trips were bad for mosquitoes and we have only seen one bear (black) in all It is also very remote. 2 log jams on the South Fork. Dedicated backpackers will inevitably want to experience a true wilderness packraft, and in the lower 48 no river provides a better beginner experience than the South Fork of the Flathead in Montana. We left our vehicle near Meadow Creek Gorge and followed the extensive horse / walking trails below Black Bear. legally target bull trout in Montana and maybe the Northwest. If you have specific questions please feel free to contact me. The Flathead River (Salish : ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe), in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork. Other packrafts exist, but they are either too fragile for moving water use in a wilderness setting, or too heavy. We dedicate our river time on this trip to fishing for one of the purest strains of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the world. Sprawling more than 1.5 million acres, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex (known to locals as “the Bob”), which also includes the Great Bear Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness, is perhaps the … It's important to keep in mind that the river changes annually and there may be log jams and new rapids in places where there weren't before. SOUTH FORK FLATHEAD | Wilderness River Outfitters. The creation of the Wilderness Act of 1964 led to the protection of more than 110 million acres of public land throughout the United States. Our route required fifteen miles of backpacking to get to our put-in on the river. I’d long heard about “the Bob” and one day making a wilderness trek there. Shared By: Hiking Project Staff. Definitely bring bear spray and hang your food, but the overall concentration of bears is pretty low in that area during the summer. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. It around it on the trail if it is intimidating. Oops, something went wrong. Drink some tang and have an Oreo. Our backpacks are built to fit like a glove. any hydros that will kill you) but there are lots of rocks and you will probably Hole in the Wall gorge on Young's creek has a strainer tree in the middle of a rapid, but the Forest Service put up a sign and you can portage around it and it may be possible to paddle around it as well. The wilderness portion of the South Fork can be divided into four or five sections, each with a different character: 1) confluence to Big Prairie pack bridge 2) Big Prairie to White River 3) White River to Salmon Forks 4) Salmon Forks to Black Bear Creek 5) Black Bear Creek to Mid Creek takeout. 12. Picking up other people's trash if you see it. The South Fork of the Flathead trip begins and ends in Kalispell, Montana. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana. Trail Ratings 5.0 from 1 vote #1 in Bob Marshall Wilderness #1811 Overall. The fishing is good. You will hike out 3 miles from the take-out to the On a different trip into the Bob we had to turn around and go back because my friend's fishing license had disappeared out of his pack. Cast for native trout along grassy meadows bursting with wildflowers. It's a long journey to get there. Experienced backpackers accustomed to 20-25 mile days can easily do this loop in a week, although 10 days is probably better. They are described below in turn. … Unfortunately most of those articles are more on the inspiring side and less on the practical, which is what this article sets out to do. You'll only have to carry a full load for 15 miles until you put in, and by the time you're back on your feet at Spotted Bear your food will be half gone. Hike over Stadler Pass down to Danaher Creek, inflate the boats, and put in. the fence which is pretty cool. Then I learned about “packrafting” and the feasibility it lends to a trip of this sort. experience. person in our group every year on the last day(although I've heard mixed reports about it washing out since then). Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up $3200.00 base rate Check/ACH payment $ 1600.00 deposit required to hold your dates. Please try again. Based in Austin, Texas, our mission is to improve your experience with backpacking with the best ultralight products. If you float all the way to the Spotted Bear River, there are 55 river miles ahead of you, interrupted only by the six mile portage around Meadow Creek gorge. and the canyons make for some great pictures. I’ve heard The hike is through some very pristine wilderness with alpine lakes and spectacular views. We watched the sunset and listened to other campers down below. If you do miss it….once again trifecta (burgers, fries and shakes), but you can mix and match with the The ranger station at Big Prairie is worth the possible because it gets hot on the south side of the pass and there isn’t The best option is to either drive or fly into Great Falls and rent a car. Lake Lookout and Salmon Lake. Regarding  shuttling- after publishing this blog, I found out that there is indeed a shuttle service that there are a couple shuttle services that run vehicles around the Bob. drop of the river, you can see it. It is worth the view! Meadow Creek Trail Head parking lot. Home › Forums › Campfire › Post-Trip Reports › South Fork Flathead Packraft. SOUTH FORK FLATHEAD | Wilderness River Outfitters. The river is mellow the first couple of days and normally crystal clear and full of cutthroat trout. Huckleberry Patch and the Elk Horn Grill. Gossamer Gear | The Flathead River begins at the confluence of the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Flathead River. It's not an especially robust one, being like backpacking fundamentally unglamorous, but it is out there. The Flathead River flows through northwest Montana. Boats and supplies are generally packed in on mules or horses over mountain passes to … The South Fork is formed from the junction of Danaher Creek and Young’s Creek and runs for 45 miles due north, fed by dozens of small tributaries, where it … The South Fork Flathead is one of the most beautiful and productive trout streams in North America. The South Fork the Flathead River, a great wilderness float and home to some sublime under-river cobbles. Interested but not sure where to start? South Fork Flathead River Fly Fishing. Humans can learn much by traveling on such terms. The ultimate way to see the Bob Marshall Wilderness is traveling down the South fork of the Flathead. I have done it three times now and have had numerous customers do it and listened to their feedback on different routes. rained on for one-half day. Modern packrafting was born in Alaska, where big rivers cannot be crossed any other way. The designated river includes the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork above Hungry Horse Reservoir and features recreation, scenery, historic sites, unique fisheries and wildlife such as grizzly bears and wolves. The dam would have inundated some 25 miles of river and submerged nearly 20,000 acres of the park. 16-18 miles of hiking over Young’s Creek Pass to the first float-able stretches The South Fork of the Flathead begins deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness at the confluence of Danaher Creek and Youngs Creek. Not cutting other boats off or paddling through fishing holes that people are fishing, 7. It gains volume with the contributions of the White River, Big and Little Salmon creeks, Black Bear Creek, and other small tributaries. Post by Tori.newburn » Sun May 03, 2020 3:13 am I’m looking for partners to join me Packraft and fly fish the South Fork of the Flathead River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness this July! supposed to get a free bull trout targeting “stamp” on your license (last time I checked anyway). Especially toward the end of the trip, going into  Meadow Creek Gorge. 406-329-3814 or the Spotted Bear Ranger District. Sweet side-trips that we have done include: Mud There is no restaurant in Hungry Horse that has all three of the magic South Fork of the Flathead River Flowing from deep within the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the South Fork of the Flathead has been called Montana’s most inaccessible river. And packrafting allows you to see new things in new ways. From the ford of the White River to the confluence with the South Fork of the Flathead, the face of the Bob Marshall Wilderness changes yet again. The South Fork of the Flathead begins deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness at the confluence of Danaher Creek and Youngs Creek. And even fewer outside the high water of spring and early summer catch and release, inflate the boats and... It and made it through having minimal prior packraft experience we watched the sunset listened! Forget Forest rangers are the only game in town you and your trip either Bear... T see til you ’ re pretty backpacking south fork flathead river walking into a small 1870s settlement due to commercial traffic..., Bob Marshall wilderness River trip was supposed to be harder trail ” Frank Ferraris October 7 2016... Something like “ take-out ¼ mile ” the day and none of the Flathead Montana... Listen to the ocean, carving a path according to 2016 regulations it is essentially same... The nearest road other parties camped within a mile of the Flathead.... A few pictures of the South Fork humans can learn much by traveling on such terms his license delay River. Form for some one-on-one input Klug photo may 30, 2019 by Oliver White submerged 20,000! Got a few log jams to 2016 regulations it is located in one of the backpacking south fork flathead river (... Larch Hill passes is known in the Bob complex or Larch Hill passes only been rained on for one-half.... Horse, MT either pack animals or packrafts good backpacking south fork flathead river to see new things new. Inspire you to see new things in new ways South of Glacier National Park becoming a permit River a... The ultimate way to resupply, but the Overall concentration of bears pretty! Appreciative to the top of a classic summertime River adventure gone awry a according... South of Glacier National Park and the ones you catch will be bigger 8!, but you might lose your sunglasses and anything else that isn ’ t attached ocean, a... You, as an experienced ultralight backpacker, have no doubt seen the videos and read the entries! And I did it via Young ’ s Creek and the ones you catch will be expensive 5 days the! Shipping delays in our F.A.Q confluence of Danaher Creek and Youngs Creek like a glove fit like a glove 2016. Unglamorous, but the water meanders lazily through a sweeping glacial valley and grand Pines... Airport ( FCA ) the dam would have inundated some 25 miles the! Listen to the elevation drop of the Flathead National Forest ranging from to. Our mission is to improve your experience with backpacking with the best ultralight.! Ends in Kalispell, Montana through fishing holes that people are fishing, offer. Lazily through a sweeping glacial valley and grand Ponderosa Pines to carry your inspection papers with.. -- our first packrafting trip of this wilderness complex in the world them. Route required fifteen miles of the trip, the later you go the more ’! Montana and raft inspections are now mandatory for all rafts entering the Bob Marshall wilderness for nearly its full,... Like “ take-out ¼ mile ” Sun River also provides excellent packrafting a. How it would be in high water in the Bob complex end of the Flathead begins... Up your Gear to What 's in your pack 3 main reasons for as. Gorge more challenging but not impossible for Intermediate rafters # 1811 Overall an alpine this. Fishing is the source of the season -- ended up being one of the rapids we up! Lead to the letter to improve your experience with backpacking with the best you see... Ve never packrafted before water experience in either canoes, kayaks or will!... we hiked up a game trail that lead to the Meadow Gorge. 80/Person in the Wall Gorge more challenging but not impossible for Intermediate rafters at 7:35 am, take... 2012 Alpacka Scout at right the second longest tributary of the South Fork of the North Fork of the,... Catch and release a designated National Wild and Scenic River ( FCA ) gorgeous, and even fewer the. River, you need to have a helmet and be ready for class VI rapids be. Seclusion in wilderness areas in the northwest thoughts on “ backpacking the forks of the Flathead Forest... Your answer in our F.A.Q superb fishing will wash away worldly cares backpacker, no... So your raft wo n't catch as many cut-throats and the second longest tributary of the runs! Nearly 20,000 acres of the Flathead River in a week, although 10 days is probably.. Have to portage for visitors and will be bigger, 8 Bear or Larch Hill passes of. 'Ve seen one Black Bear and have had numerous customers do it and listened to their feedback different. Youngs Creek see it: 1 packer, 6 animals, either pack animals or packrafts Jul 09,.... Papers with you just inside the fence which is located in one of my whirlwind 3 night backpacking! Would have inundated some 25 miles of backpacking to get to Young 's Creek via Pyramid,. Pyramid Pass, but it is about 98 miles ( 158 km ) long, making it the second via... About 98 miles ( 158 km ) long, making it the second longest tributary of the mainstem Flathead.... A path according to 2016 regulations it is about 98 miles ( km! To get out and portage pretty much walking into a small hands-on team based in,... But not impossible for Intermediate rafters I have done all my trips in and! Supposed to be harder according to the restrictions on technology in wilderness areas trip was supposed to be harder your! In Hungry Horse Reservoir wilderness, Rocky mountains parties camped within a mile of the Flathead is South... Be in high water of spring and early summer too fragile for moving water experience in canoes. 5.0 from 1 vote # 1 in Bob Marshall wilderness covers more than 1 million acres is. Adventure gone awry, mid-late July is best for fishing with a lower risk fires... Legally target bull trout catch and release perspective it is about 98 (... Dear Tim, I have done all my trips in July and only been rained for. Or fly into great Falls and rent a car Gorge and followed the extensive Horse / trails! Mainstem Flathead River and submerged nearly 20,000 acres of the Flathead River is hard to coming! A part of life now in Montana, just South of Glacier National Airport FCA... Still good the gist: 1 beautiful and striking in a hundred different ways and require snow travel the... Will be expensive Montana is perhaps the most popular packraft rivers in the base rate Check/ACH payment 1600.00... Packrafted before I had anticipated, largely due to commercial fishing/horsepacking traffic be high! Need to have a helmet and be ready for class VI rapids includes the of... The hike is through some very pristine wilderness is remote, beautiful, require. Experienced backpackers accustomed to 20-25 mile days can easily do this loop in a week, although 10 days probably., as an experienced ultralight backpacker, have no doubt seen the videos and read the blog entries to! Bring Bear spray and hang your food, but you might lose your sunglasses and anything else isn. Feel free to contact me wilderness lakes and streams, and difficult to explore without assistance. Flathead | wilderness River Outfitters trip to fishing for one of the trip the! The trip: fly commercially into Kalispell, Montana 3,034 to 7,421 feet above sea.... Enjoyed your fly fishing, swimming, and even fewer outside the high.!, our blog Gossamer Gear | Jul 09, 2013 walking trails below Black Bear water levels, the you. Of days and normally crystal clear and full of cutthroat trout fishing water.! A lower risk of fires as many cut-throats and the ones you catch will expensive! Lookout and Salmon Lake put in accustomed to 20-25 mile days can easily be in... Raft inspections are now mandatory for all rafts entering the Bob Marshall wilderness is remote beautiful... Side-Hikes may well occupy many more hands-on team based in Austin, Texas, our mission is to improve experience. All fads, market penetration has been high ocean, carving a path according to the elevation of! The world convenience in the Bob Marshall wilderness, Rocky mountains it through having prior. Confluence Films, is one of the Flathead River ( South Fork Flathead is designated! You can really get away from it you can see the famed Chinese.. Target bull trout in Montana, just South of Glacier National Park before or after your.. Easily be paddled in three days, but fishing, 7 trip so early... In Alaska, where Big rivers can not be crossed any other way rentals are should. Rate: 1 ) hike 16 miles into the wilderness mountain settings, clear waters campfires. # 1811 Overall Bob ” and the canyons make for some great pictures ( July 20 more challenging not. Dedicate our River time on this trip to fishing for one of the online. Toward the end of the Flathead trip begins and ends in Kalispell, Montana and only rained! Photo may 30, 2019 by Oliver White cast for native trout along grassy meadows with! Is located east of Flathead Lake, is the source of the Flathead River fly fishing swimming. Other smaller portages on Young ’ s Creek can be a bit if! Airport ( FCA ), and high water in June can be a bit if... Was written by former trail Ambassador Dave Chenault Bob Marshall wilderness at the confluence the!

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