Paddle Middle Fork Flathead near West Glacier

Rate this Adventure Montana West Glacier Put-in

  • Activities:

    Stand Up Paddle, Fishing, Rafting, Kayaking, Swimming

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Beach
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Paddle some of the most scenic emerald water Montana has to offer with relative ease of access. At lower water, there is nothing more than class 1 or class 2 rapids.

Begin your trip at the bridge at West Glacier, there is parking in town and you can walk to the water, or just passed the bridge there are a few spots. Carry gear down to the water from the bridge (easy walking trail down to the edge). Make sure you have run or arranged a shuttle from/to Blankenship Bridge (take-out).

Begin your paddle along the border of Glacier National Park. Soon you will see McDonald Creek converge with the Middle Fork at Quarter Circle Bridge. There are plenty of sand bars and spots to stop and fish, picnic, swim, or nap. Rapids are manageable and usually not much to write home about, but be sure to scout anything before running it.

After about an hour (depending on the flow) you will enter a gorge with beautiful rocks both submerged and towering above. Excellent spot to jump off cliffs into the deep slow-moving water.

Take out is at Blankenship Bridge (you can make a longer trip if you want, but this is usually where we take out). You'll know it because it's right after the convergence of the North Fork, and it's the only other bridge you float under.

Be sure to pack out ALL trash!

Pack List

  • Water vessel: paddle board, kayak, canoe, raft
  • Personal Flotation Device (required on board)
  • Extra layers
  • Sunscreen
  • Dry bag
  • Plenty of food and snacks
  • Water filter
  • Camera (inside dry bag of course, or in underwater housing)
  • Fishing pole (fishing license required)
  • Bear spray (frequently see bears along the river)
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Noah CouserExplorer

I'm a professional photographer living and working in Whitefish, Montana. I travel as much as I can with my beautiful wife Megan, and am always scheming a new adventure, or a new way to do an old trip. My passion is the outdoors, and getting people excited about recreating outside. By day, I teach PE and health at the local middle school, by night, I fight crime in a spandex jumpsuit... not really, but I do enjoy taking lots of pictures and working for cool outdoor companies when not at school throwing dodge balls at 8th graders.

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