During this sizzling stretch of summer, one of the best sources of cool respite is the Flathead River and its various forks.
The pristine Middle Fork, which traces the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, is a favorite among recreationists, featuring exciting whitewater, prime fishing and frequent wildlife sightings.
Boaters can launch at Bear Creek off U.S. Highway 2 and float to a variety of take-outs along the 40-mile stretch leading to West Glacier.
A simple and fun day float is the 13-mile section between Bear and Paola creeks.
Keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, especially approaching the Goat Lick Overlook.
For more experienced rafters, the 8-mile stretch between Moccasin Creek and West Glacier features epic whitewater, including a rapid known as “Jaws.”
All boaters are required to have lifejackets and obey other river and fishing regulations.
Visit waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis to check local water flows.
How to get there:
Follow U.S. Highway 2 east from West Glacier.
Several access points are located along the river and highway.
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