With fifteen miles ahead of us, we would be hiking all day. The fishing is good. It is about a 20 mile round trip so start early and bring lots of water. 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. Full transparency: I own a packraft rental company. 2 log jams on the South Fork. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. Bears- customers ask fairly frequently about bears and how to prepare for them....I honestly haven't heard of anyone encountering a grizzly on the main trail or on the river. The White River trip was supposed to involve Luckily we encountered no waterfalls. Sometimes a preoccupation with gear can get in the way of adventure. The wood was soaked from the recent rain, but we got a fire going and were finally able to dry out our gear. The ranger wouldn't budge, or call in to verify his license. and the second time via the White River. We bumped our way through a section of a narrow gorge with several miles of rapids. splashy rapids right at the take-out point so you might miss it if you aren’t Packrafting Montana's South Fork Flathead River Listen to the River, from Wild Confluence Films, is the story of a classic summertime river adventure gone awry. You can easily hike It was imperative I find ways to cut weight and bulk. of Young’s Creek). legally target bull trout in Montana and maybe the Northwest. On the third trip we went up to Haystack mountain and from it you can see the famed Chinese Wall. There will be another sign shortly, but the river increases in speed and In this July 24, 2014 photo, Jared White paddles his packraft through a rapid on the South Fork Flathead River.in Mont. 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.". isn’t a bone crusher, but you might lose your sunglasses and anything else that 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. Even the calm sections had enough power to pick you up and take you away. 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. This pristine wilderness is remote, beautiful, and difficult to explore without the assistance of either pack animals or packrafts. I was a ball of nerves when we first put in to the river. Huckleberry Patch and the Elk Horn Grill. Faced with a lot of river miles ahead of us, plus a 7-mile hike, we woke up at 6:30. The South Fork of the Flathead runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, just south of Glacier National Park. Music from Hands Upon Black Earth (to reflect the dark, cold, wet periods of the trek) and Chris Cunningham (to reflect the cheery, sunny, warm periods of the trek). At the moment Alpacka packrafts are the only game in town. If Look Our route required fifteen miles of backpacking to get to our put-in on the river. Our fourth night on the river, we pulled off on a rocky beach and made camp right next to the river. I didnât want the adventure to end. Definitely bring bear spray and hang your food, but the overall concentration of bears is pretty low in that area during the summer. Drink some tang and have an Oreo. first few miles of the South Fork of the Flathead often have log jams. 2. Eric Hanson is a photographer, filmmaker, adventurer, and host of Backpacking TV. There is no restaurant in Hungry Horse that has all three of the magic I stared through the mesh of the tent and watched the stars pass overhead. thank God you are a packrafter, because you can easily get out of the pool The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. The South Fork of the Flathead runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, just south of Glacier National Park. Big our trips were bad for mosquitoes and we have only seen one bear (black) in all The Middle Fork of the Flathead had never been on my radar before, but a quick Google revealed a gem of a river that actually inspired the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act back in 1968. Sweet side-trips that we have done include: Mud Not as good as the first time I fished it 5+ years ago, in my pre-packraft days, but still good. It is hard to see coming up but if you pay attention to the elevation the fence which is pretty cool. We hiked the last five miles under a steady rain. 7:00. It is located in one of the largest The South Fork the Flathead River, a great wilderness float and home to some sublime under-river cobbles. For I felt thankful and blessed to be in such a beautiful and untouched landscape. Packrafting opened up a world of adventure for me. of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up much of the trip you are 30 miles from the nearest road. Seven of us left with Steve “Doom” Fassbinder, an experienced packrafter and guide, to run the North Fork Flathead for thirteen miles to the confluence of the Middle Fork downstream. and paddle hard through the rapid. I heard a roar of whitewater as we rounded the bend. Packrafting the South Fork of the Flathead. Rafting with Montana Raft and Glacier Guides on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River ... 3:34. I only had a week off to attempt the trip, but a small crew … The following days, more drainages fed the creek and the volume of river grew significantly. The South Fork of the Flathead River in Montana is one of those classic packrafting trips my husband and I had been scheming about for years. 406-329-3814 or the Spotted Bear Ranger District. 7. I've heard there was some significant blow down on the pass in 2019 and I'm not sure how much of it got cleared on the trail by the end of the season. The South Fork of the Flathead River begins deep in the heart of Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, one of the nations largest designated wilderness areas. White River trip was prettier but demoralizing because we floated (on the Sun River) and then have several days of wet gear). you don’t see til you’re almost there you can probably skirt it to the right if We had camped at the confluence that forms the South Fork and as we ate fish tacos and smoked pipes, we pondered what might lie down-river. I’ve heard Other packrafts exist, but they are either too fragile for moving water use in a wilderness setting, or too heavy. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. said, my friends and I did it and made it through having minimal prior packraft He kept one, and released the rest. I have done it three times now and have had numerous customers do it and listened to their feedback on different routes. Rain jacket, bear spray and bug spray! After debating whether we were at the right spot, we unpacked our rafts and set out on the river. With no roads for miles around, anyone within fifty miles of me was there because they had worked for it. 49 miles hiking and 19 miles floating the South Fork of the Flathead River through the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana. If you go in over Young’s Creek Pass start as early as settlement due to the restrictions on technology in wilderness areas. Not cutting other boats off or paddling through fishing holes that people are fishing, 7. That night, we ate the most delicious trout Iâve ever had in my life. The volume of water was large now and the emerald waters transported us effortlessly. Our route required fifteen miles of backpacking to get to our put-in on the river. But after a few miles of negotiating through small rapids and narrow passages in the river, I started to get the hang of it. overwhelming if you’ve never packrafted before. I also had 3 renters get fined $80/person in the Bob because they didn't have life jackets in their boats. 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