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Dayton, Montana

Kayak to Wild Horse Island

Originally added by Derek Vander Ark

The biggest island on Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island, offers great opportunities to hike, see wildlife, swim, and kayak. With several coves, trails, and easy access, this is not a location you will want to miss.

There are many boat ramps to access Flathead Lake, but the closest location to Wild Horse Island is Dayton, MT. Dayton offers easy access with only about a 1-hour paddle to the island for the novice kayakers. Unfortunately, the boat ramp in Dayton does not have room for parking, thus it is only a temporary loading and unloading zone. A Public Reserve is located in Dayton 2 blocks North and 2 Blocks East from the boat ramp.

Once in Flathead Lake, head South East towards Wild Horse Island. Enjoy the views of the Swan and Mission Mountain Range to the East. Early morning kayakers will be able to witness eagles diving for fish on the lake. Paddle past Cromwell Island and approach Skeeko Bay (Reference the attached picture which provides a map of public access points on Wild Horse Island). Skeeko Bay and Eagle Cove are located nearest to the designated hiking trails on the island. 

Once on the island, pull the kayaks on land and be sure to read the State Park guidelines, register, and pay the necessary fees. The trails lead to several parts of the island, I would suggest exploring all of them. There are a few horses left on the island, in addition to big horn sheep, mule deer, and many species of birds. 

When ready, return the way that you came.  

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Tags

Canoeing
Photography
Kayaking
Swimming
Hiking
Bathrooms
Beach
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Be careful

Wild Horse is amazing, but the lake gets rather choppy, so when you do it make sure to check the wind!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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