A raft floats under Belton Bridge in West Glacier. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
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The River Rundown

A guide for the Flathead Valley’s rivers just outside of Glacier National Park.

By Maggie Dresser

Now that the snowcapped peaks of the Northern Rocky Mountains have melted, it’s time to enjoy the rivers of Northwest Montana. Whether you’re looking for thrilling whitewater or fishing on calm flat water, the rivers in the Flathead Valley are versatile to meet any river rat’s desires. 

Flowing between Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest, adrenaline junkies can take a guided trip down the Middle Fork’s Class III rapids through the bonecrusher, jaws and pinball rapids or the Lower Flathead River’s Class IV buffalo rapids. 

World-class fly fishing trips are offered on the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Flathead River where Westslope cutthroat trout can be found and wildlife like osprey, black bears, grizzly bears and moose can be spotted on the river banks. 

Floaters can also rent inflatable kayaks and rafts for self-guided tours from local outfitters. Don’t forget your personal flotation device and cold-water river gear for an unpredictable day out on the water. 

Here’s a roundup of the valley’s river outfitters.

Glacier Raft Company
106 Going-to-the-Sun Rd., West Glacier
(406) 888-5454


Glacier Raft Company is Montana’s longest-running Glacier National Park rafting company, offering trips since 1976. Whitewater, scenic or fishing trips include half, full and multiday trips on the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

Glacier Guides Montana Raft
11970 U.S. Hwy 2, West Glacier
(406) 387-5555


Sending folks down the river for more than 30 years, Glacier Guides offers half, full, and multiday trips on the North Fork and Middle Fork, operating at the entrance of Glacier National Park. 

Wild River Adventures
11900 U.S. Hwy 2, West Glacier
(406) 387-9453


Providing river trips since 1985, Wild River Adventures offers half, full and multiday whitewater, scenic and fishing trips. 

Backcountry Packraft Rentals
475 U.S. Hwy 89, Browning
(406) 272-6486


Rent a packraft that you can haul on your back to access backcountry rivers and creeks with Alpacka Backcountry Packrafts in Browning. 

Flathead Raft Company
50362 U.S. Hwy 93, Polson
(406) 883-5838


Explore the Lower Flathead River with Flathead Raft Company, a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal member-owned outfitter offering half, full multiday through the wild buffalo rapids in the upper canyon. 

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