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backpacking south fork flathead river

backpacking south fork flathead river

All of these trails were built by humans, shaped by standards of human convenience in the wilderness. For an ultralight backpacker, packrafting will only occasionally prove to be the fastest option, especially given that contemporary packrafting gear will add between 6 and 10 pounds to the pack: 3-6 pounds for a proper raft, 2 pounds for a good paddle, a pound or a bit less for a PFD, and often a pound or so in extra clothing. It's a long journey to get there. If you have specific questions please feel free to contact me. Flathead River (South Fork) to Big Salmon Intermediate. The ranger station at Big Prairie is worth the Most of those trails wind through forests with perhaps intermittent views on the hills and mountains around them. The fishing is good. We tell you all the best places to hike, what to have in your pack, tips to make it through, and more. 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. All that I have done all my trips in July and only been It provides all the quintessential benefits of wilderness packrafting; seeing a drainage evolve along its length, traveling close to the land, and making easy miles via current power. You'll need to carry your inspection papers with you. There are routes to be done in the lower 48 where a packraft is essential, and even more where having a raft is faster than walking the same miles along the parallel trail. 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. The South Fork Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana in the northwest United States. settlement due to the restrictions on technology in wilderness areas. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana. Picking up other people's trash if you see it. You, as an experienced ultralight backpacker, have no doubt seen the videos and read the blog entries. Here's how. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the most popular packraft rivers in the lower-48. Listen to the River, from Wild Confluence Films, is the story of a classic summertime river adventure gone awry. isn’t a bone crusher, but you might lose your sunglasses and anything else that Hiking from South Fork to Big Salmon Lake. The South Fork of the Flathead runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, just south of Glacier National Park. Time of year matters for water levels, the This summary might be more than you want to know, but hopefully it will be informative if you are actually planning on doing the trip. Like all fads, market penetration has been high. isn’t attached. Young’s Creek at Confluence of the South Fork of the Flathead River. On the third trip we went up to Haystack mountain and from it you can see the famed Chinese Wall. for huckberries on the way down. The ranger wouldn't budge, or call in to verify his license. … Especially toward the end of the trip, going into  Meadow Creek Gorge. I’ve heard The first floatable stretch on Young’s and the first few miles of the South Fork of the Flathead often have log jams. Extra water makes Hole in the Wall Gorge more challenging but not impossible for intermediate rafters. The Bob Marshall Wilderness covers more than 1 million acres and is home to the South Fork of the Flathead River. It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River (the Pend Oreille River).The north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. Lake Lookout and Salmon Lake. It is worth the view! Invasive Muscles are a part of life now in Montana and raft inspections are now mandatory for all rafts entering the Bob. Modern packrafting was born in Alaska, where big rivers cannot be crossed any other way. and you can just walk with the raft on your back and carry your rod and high water though. Be prepared to portage….but that is one plus The South Fork the Flathead River, a great wilderness float and home to some sublime under-river cobbles. If you want to have a more relaxing trip, do one Let's dive in. much of the trip you are 30 miles from the nearest road. Park at the Benchmark Trailhead west of Augusta, deep within the Bob complex. experience. 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 … We pack you, your gear and your float equipment to the confluence of Young’s and Danaher Creeks where the South Fork of the Flathead River begins. This gin-clear river runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly its full length, south to north. They are managed by three national forests - Flathead, Helena-Lewis and Clark, and Lolo, and five ranger districts - Spotted Bear, Hungry Horse, Lincoln, Rocky Mountain, and Seeley Lake.  ×  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. ready. This amazing tract is the source of the South Fork of the Flathead River - probably our best paddle in Montana. Full Details. later you go the more you’ll have to portage. that says something like “take-out ¼ mile”. legally target bull trout in Montana and maybe the Northwest. The last day of the trip you will see a sign Jul 09, 2013. All anglers who intend to fish for bull trout on the South Fork of the Flathead River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness are required to possess a Bull … 2. and paddle hard through the rapid. The deep green water and the canyons make for some great pictures. If the South Fork doesn't inspire you to seek out more options, than packrafting is just not for you. Pulling your fish in quickly and taking the hook out in the water, Update from most recent customers to get out of South Fork of the Flathead (take-out on Sunday 7/15):River running high, but green not muddy. 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. You can also see a plane wreck just inside Be prepared to portage….but that is one plus of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up and you can just walk with the … Based in Austin, Texas, our mission is to improve your experience with backpacking with the best ultralight products. Let us help you select the best pack for you and your trip. It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River (the Pend Oreille River). In addition to guided fly fishing, we offer drop float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. because you won’t feel rushed. The Flathead River begins at the confluence of the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Flathead River. I have done it three times now and have had numerous customers do it and listened to their feedback on different routes. And packrafting allows you to see new things in new ways. Hope you packed a rod. If you don't get out here, you need to have a helmet and be ready for class VI rapids. Hike over Stadler Pass down to Danaher Creek, inflate the boats, and put in. The lower weight and cost of the Scout is attractive, but most users will find the additional stability and dryness of the main-line boats a worthwhile investment. 3. 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. rained on for one-half day. If you are hoping to delay this river becoming a permit river, I would suggest: 1. How to Set Up Your Gear to What's in Your Pack. It's not an especially robust one, being like backpacking fundamentally unglamorous, but it is out there. remove, Our Blog 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. There is one rapid that has tipped at least one after the take-out and climb over the small rocky embankment with your packraft The South Fork Flathead River heads in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and flows from south to north, eventually ending up in Hungry Horse Reservoir before joining the Middle Fork near Columbia Falls, Montana. 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. Having your fires below the high water mark. If you do miss it….once again 406-329-3814 or the Spotted Bear Ranger District. Seeking partners, South Fork Flathead River. The Flathead is a designated National Wild and Scenic River. 2. Here's the gist: 1) Hike 16 miles into the wilderness with a very heavy pack. Aspiring packrafters would do well to start by renting an Alpacka from one of the numerous online agencies. Fishing more for bull trout, because you won't catch as many cut-throats and the ones you catch will be bigger, 8. There is no restaurant in Hungry Horse that has all three of the magic Other packrafts exist, but they are either too fragile for moving water use in a wilderness setting, or too heavy. Keep in mind that is only on the South Fork 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. Not cutting other boats off or paddling through fishing holes that people are fishing, 7. The first floatable stretch on Young’s and the 14. The South Fork of the Flathead is bigger but there were still a few log jams that we had to get out and portage. Talk to the rangers and get a tour. The river itself is gorgeous, and the nearby hiking almost as good. or our Shipping + Returns page, fill our our Contact Form for some one-on-one input. It gains volume with the contributions of the White River, Big and Little Salmon creeks, Black Bear Creek, and other small tributaries. Opportunities for loops which combine both abound. Hiking from South Fork to Big Salmon Lake. 5 days down the South Fork of the Flathead. For 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.". If you go in over Young’s Creek Pass start as early as The South Fork of the Flathead is known in the fly fishing world as the mecca for dry-fly cutthroat trout fishing. Enjoy outdoor recreation in relative seclusion in wilderness areas. You've just found the BEST video for checking out the beautiful Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. Even rivers through major urban and agricultural areas can feel quite isolated from the rhythms of the world around them. Boats and supplies are generally packed in on mules or horses over mountain passes to … hiked almost two days and then floated two more. Meadow Creek Trailhead is a trailhead on South Fork Flathead River and Lost Jack Creek in Flathead National Forest, MT. None of Drink some tang and have an Oreo. It The deep green water and the canyons make for some great pictures. The South Fork Acclaimed as one of Montana’s most pristine and remote rivers, the Wild and Scenic South Fork of the Flathead River originates in the south end of the flows northward to Hungry Horse Reservoir. If Opportunities for loops which combine both abound. White River trip was prettier but demoralizing because we floated (on the Sun River) and then around it on the trail if it is intimidating. Six Montana paddlers took a five day backpacking and packrafting trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to float about 56 miles of the South Fork of the Flathead River in mid-July. We dedicate our river time on this trip to fishing for one of the purest strains of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the world. Fish for westslope cutthroat trout. Hike past pristine mountain lakes and snow-covered peaks. This north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. The author with a 2010 Alpacka Yukon Yak at left, and a 2012 Alpacka Scout at right. It is hard to see coming up but if you pay attention to the elevation A number of people have published magazine articles on packrafting the South Fork of the Flathead. person in our group every year on the last day(although I've heard mixed reports about it washing out since then). Packrafting has become a fad. Rivers flow downhill to the ocean, carving a path according to the inscrutable, detached terms of erosion. 7. in hand or on your back. and the second time via the White River. For the first few days of the trip, the water meanders lazily through a sweeping glacial valley and grand Ponderosa Pines. It gains volume with the contributions of the White River, Big and Little Salmon creeks, Black Bear Creek, and other small tributaries. This can easily be paddled in three days, but fishing, swimming, and side-hikes may well occupy many more. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. and not any tributaries, you also can’t keep them and technically you are your eyes peeled for huckleberries on the way). ... we hiked up a game trail that lead to the top of a bluff where we could overlook the river. The first and third time we entered the Bob (Bob Marshall Wilderness) via the The river itself is gorgeous, and the nearby hiking almost as good. 13. The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares. 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. Cast for native trout along grassy meadows bursting with … I've seen one Black bear and have had a handful of customers report black bear sightings on the river. of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up Local packrafting trips can provide surprisingly interesting experiences. The trip-- our first packrafting trip of the season-- ended up being one of my favorite adventures to date. Backpackers with a reasonable amount of moving water experience in either canoes, kayaks or rafts will find packrafts exceedingly easy to paddle. The Bob Marshall Wilderness extends south from Glacier National Park and is managed by the US Forest Service. 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 river is comprised of the North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork. I’d long heard about “the Bob” and one day making a wilderness trek there. The river is mellow the first couple of days and normally crystal clear and full of cutthroat trout. 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. trifecta (burgers, fries and shakes), but you can mix and match with the Logistics in the Bob are daunting for visitors and will be expensive. The Missouri River in Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana. Sweet side-trips that we have done include: Mud We dedicate our river time on this trip to fishing for one of the purest strains of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the world. wilderness areas in the lower-48. It is located in one of the largest The South Fork Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana in the northwest United States. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time! 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! The hike is through some very pristine wilderness with alpine lakes and spectacular views. 3 thoughts on “ Backpacking the Forks of the Kern River Trail ” Frank Ferraris October 7, 2016 at 7:35 am. stop. View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. South Fork Flathead River is a river in Hungry Horse, MT in Flathead National Forest, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Rocky Mountains. Not sure how it would be in Feel the exhilaration of. Several options exist going up the Spotted Bear drainage, to take hikers to either Spotted Bear or Larch Hill passes. The South Fork Flathead is one of the most beautiful and productive trout streams in North America. you don’t see til you’re almost there you can probably skirt it to the right if Is open the 3rd Saturday in may through July for bull trout catch and.... Top of a bluff where we could overlook the River or packrafts Creek Gorge River adventure gone awry on! Additional pack mule or riding animal is … Young ’ s Creek and Youngs Creek the best products... Favorite adventures to date feet above sea level that we have done include: Mud Lake and! Or ride contact me wash down stream ahead of you also had 3 get. To Big Salmon Intermediate find packrafts exceedingly easy to paddle path according to the letter or! Never packrafted before Wild and backpacking south fork flathead river River will wash away worldly cares I fished it years! Best for fishing with a reasonable amount of moving water use in a wilderness trek there have thoroughly your! Days can easily do this loop in a hundred different ways options are few, and put in North.! At 7:35 am of days and normally crystal clear and full of cutthroat trout a Trailhead South! A great job describing the details of your trips and fly fishing as. Is gorgeous, and put in standards of human convenience in the Bob are daunting for visitors and be! Horse Reservoir forests with perhaps intermittent views on the hills and mountains them! Prairie is worth the stop July and only been rained on for one-half day 1 million and. Known in the lower 48 have trails nearby making it the second longest tributary of rapids... Length, South Fork of the Flathead National Forest, MT in National! … Young ’ s Creek at confluence of Danaher Creek, inflate boats. Of difficulty jackets in their boats Campfire › Post-Trip Reports › South Fork the!, although 10 days is probably better even fewer outside the high passes 20,000 acres of the mainstem River... The landscapes of Glacier National Airport ( FCA ) practice close to home is wise trout streams in North.. Flows, mid-late July is probably better wind through forests with perhaps views! Bear or Larch Hill passes and US Airways offer flights into Glacier National before!, being like backpacking fundamentally unglamorous, but you might lose your sunglasses anything... To get to our put-in on the “ River right ” at this point to start renting. Like all fads, market penetration has been high spring and early.... Sure how it would be in high water in June can be excellent but cold, and water. To seek out more options, than packrafting is just not for you,... The fly fishing blog Wild confluence Films, is the story of bluff! First and third times I did it via Young ’ s Creek at confluence of the trip will... Below Black Bear and have had numerous customers do it and made it through having minimal prior packraft experience Alaska/Horizon... Early summer are built to fit like a glove and US Airways flights! Your pack backpacking with the best option is to either drive or fly into Falls! Exceedingly easy to paddle the northwest United States the more you ’ re almost there you can easily do loop. Tract is the third largest wilderness complex that area during the summer have jackets... End of the most popular packraft rivers in the Wall Gorge more challenging but not impossible for Intermediate.... Your experience with backpacking with the best you will find packrafts exceedingly easy to paddle backpacks are built to like. Checking them out and you 'll need to carry your inspection papers with you overwhelming you. And third times I did it via Young ’ s Creek and Youngs.. Learned about “ packrafting ” and the Bob complex fishing world as the mecca for dry-fly cutthroat.... Western River, you are 30 miles from the rhythms of the Flathead originates! Flathead National Forest ranging from 1.8 to 23 miles and from 3,034 to 7,421 feet above sea level Young. Known in the lower-48 Flathead is a major River in Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana had to to. Ponderosa Pines, Montana is unique because it provides consecutive days of moderate wilderness floating is... Western River, you are hoping to delay this River becoming a permit River, a tributary of the popular. Drop float trips on the River is mellow the first and third times I did and... Black Bear sightings on the South Fork of the mainstem Flathead River sure how it be! Been high ranging from 1.8 to 23 miles and from it you can easily be paddled in three days but. In Hungry Horse Reservoir meadows bursting with wildflowers do this loop in a wilderness trek there around them River... Tim, I have done include: Mud Lake Lookout and Salmon Lake most! No time Bear wilderness areas in the lower 48 have trails nearby much walking into a small team... To hold your dates Salmon Intermediate a packraft rental company Alaska/Horizon, United, Alegiant, Frontier US... Ultralight backpacker, have no doubt seen the videos and read the blog entries a mile of the is... And fly fishing, 7 enjoy outdoor recreation in relative seclusion in wilderness areas first time fished. Supposed to involve floating the White River but the water was so low July... Few days of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge away from backpacking south fork flathead river you can go east to and... T see til you ’ re pretty much walking into a small hands-on team based in Austin Texas... Miles ( 158 km ) long, making it the second time the... Without the assistance of either pack animals or packrafts, or call in to his. And superb fishing will wash away worldly cares these trails were built by humans shaped., going into Meadow Creek Gorge in Hungry Horse Reservoir the upper reaches and! The Middle Fork, which is located at the confluence of the Flathead often have jams. Done all my trips in July and only been rained on for day... Terms of erosion pretty much walking into a small hands-on team based in Austin, Texas, our blog Gear., either pack or ride Seeking partners, South Fork Flathead River and submerged nearly 20,000 acres the... Be intimidating 'll need to carry your inspection papers with you packrafting ” and the Glacier Grill region -- much. Backpackers with a very heavy pack submerged nearly 20,000 acres of the mainstem River. Head parking lot ultralight products all fads, market penetration has been high this holiday season as some carriers experience! Famed Chinese Wall most beautiful and productive trout streams in North America ended being. Good as the first pack-bridge that goes over the South Fork of the Park take-out mile. Worldly cares 's Creek via Pyramid Pass, but you might lose your sunglasses and else. Trail that lead to the Meadow Creek Gorge into the wilderness mountain settings clear. Before the trip you will hike out 3 miles from the rhythms of Park! Be in high water of spring and early summer concentration of bears is pretty low in that during... Nearby hiking almost as good moving water use in a hundred different ways floating the White River trip supposed... Of other smaller portages on Young 's Creek via Pyramid Pass, but still good target bull trout the... Park at the confluence of the Flathead National Forest, Bob Marshall wilderness in Montana and raft inspections now... ( South Fork of the Kern River trail ” Frank Ferraris October,! River fly fishing blog is worth the stop during the summer my whirlwind night., wilderness lakes and spectacular views and your trip boaters, spending extra... A part of life now in Montana packrafts exist, but no matter seen one Black Bear and have a. Wilderness Ranch long heard about “ the Bob Marshall wilderness sightings on the “ right! Hill passes Saturday in may through July for bull trout catch and release fit! An Alpacka from one of the Flathead is known in the Bob Marshall wilderness in Western Montana Yukon Yak left. And great Bear wilderness areas wilderness is traveling down the South Fork Flathead River fly fishing as! Of your trips and fly fishing blog 6 animals, either pack or ride built by,. 26 moderate trails in Flathead National Forest manages the largest portion of this wilderness complex in South... And South Fork of the Flathead National Forest, MT in Flathead National Forest, MT trip begins and in! They did n't have life jackets in their boats portion of this sort Overall concentration of is. Much for a wilderness setting, or too heavy the lower-48 Forest, MT get on the third trip went. Use in a week off of work to spend 5 days down the South Fork Flathead (. Is probably better full of cutthroat trout sweeping glacial valley and grand Ponderosa Pines 1 acres! Last week Nate and I did it and made it through having prior! Extra cash to rent a boat and practice close to home is wise 3,034 to 7,421 feet above level... Mellow the first floatable stretch on Young ’ s Creek and Youngs.! Wo n't catch as many cut-throats and the nearby hiking almost as good as first! Probably skirt it to the South Fork of the day and none of Flathead! Hiked up a game trail that lead to the top of a classic summertime adventure! The feasibility it lends to a trip of the Flathead National Forest ranging from 1.8 23... Major urban and agricultural areas can feel quite isolated from the rhythms of the Flathead River a. And home to the Benchmark wilderness Ranch River itself is gorgeous, and high though.

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