Montana Canoeing

CANOEING MONTANA’S UPPER MISSOURI RIVER

Montana $2,200 (inclusive*) • May 22-29, 2021

LaBarge RockNorth-central Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is a spectacular landscape of sandstone cliffs, rolling sagebrush-grassland hills, colorful “badlands,” and verdant riverside patches of willow and cottonwoods. The upper Missouri is a big but gentle river, flowing mostly through a wilderness environment little changed from the days of Lewis & Clark. Unlike Lewis & Clark, though, we will float and paddle downstream, and we’ll cover 110 river miles. The diversity of bird life is amazing; it is a bird-watchers’ paradise! Deer, bighorn sheep, and other native species also abound, and we usually see lots of wildlife. Springtime weather is quite variable, from hot sun to sudden rain or even snow. The trip varies from easy to fairly strenuous, depending upon wind and weather. The trip base is Great Falls, Montana.

This odyssey will take us from Coal Banks Landing, an hour east of Great Falls, to the Kipp Recreation Area, where U.S. Highway 191 crosses “Big Mo”, deep in the prairies and breaks of north-central Montana. Don’t miss this great opportunity to camp where Lewis & Clark camped, to explore the same ridges and coulees, and to paddle the same waters! This stretch of the Missouri is loaded with history and historic relics, and most of the area remains unspoiled. It was Lewis & Clark’s gateway into the Rocky Mountains.

Downriver from Hole in the Wall

TRIP BASE: O’Haire Motor Inn, 7th Street and 1st Avenue South, Great Falls, Montana, 800-332-9819. Call motel in advance for airport shuttles. There is major airline service to Great Falls.

MEETING TIME: Pre-trip orientation including food and gear handout plus safety talk at 6 PM the evening prior to the first day of the trip. For example, if the trip is the 16th-23rd, we meet at 6 PM on the 15th in the O’Haire lobby.

TRIP DIFFICULTY: Generally mellow with the river current doing much of the work, but canoeing can be strenuous into a head wind. There will be opportunities to day hike, and moving gear from canoes to tent sites requires physical labor, too. There are no whitewater rapids, but there are a few riffles that are easy to negotiate. No canoeing experience is required. Please inform us if you do not know how to swim!

Relaxed CanoeingWEATHER: Spring in north-central Montana is fickle. Sudden radical weather changes occur. A hot sunny day can quickly become cold and rainy; it may even snow. Thunderstorms are typically brief but intense. Usually, the weather is nice with daytime temperatures in the 60’s, but be prepared! Click here for the National Weather Service forecast.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A unique chance to experience real northern Great Plains wilderness, with cottonwood trees along the river and pines on the slopes and in the draws. Plenty of very scenic buttes and cliffs. Deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, coyote, beaver and other native species abound. Great bird watching for waterfowl, raptors, migratory and nesting songbirds and more! A few roads, mostly dirt, wind down to the river, but most of this 110-mile trip is roadless wilderness. When it rains, the famous Missouri River “gumbo” (clay) will stick to your shoes. Visit landmarks “discovered” by Lewis and Clark; camp where they camped!

Badlands CanoeistSPECIAL TIPS: If your hands aren’t callused, bring some paddling gloves. Sunscreen and good sunglasses are essential! Rattlesnakes will be out in warm weather. Bring comfortable lightweight hiking boots for day hiking. Good binoculars will aid greatly in viewing birds and other wildlife.

STATUS: Most of the trip is on the designated Wild Missouri National River within the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, managed by the BLM, with a few private scattered ranch parcels. The last section is within the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Most of Federal lands are eligible to be added to the National Wilderness Preservation system. montana-canoe tours

ITINERARY: We’ll have one, possible two layovers, depending upon our progress. At the end of the trip, a pre-arranged vehicle shuttle back to the put-in will take about 4 hours. On the river, there’s no rigid itinerary; we will, literally and figuratively, go with the flow.

*Trip price includes equipment (canoe/paddles/life jackets, tent, sleeping bag and pad, eating utensils), food and cooking (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, transportation from town to and from the trailheads, and our professional guide/naturalist staff. There is a $300 discount if you bring your own tent, sleeping bag & pad, and cup/bowl/spoon).

Book Your Trip!
Space is limited!
Have questions? Call (406) 823-0337

Eagle CreekersRiver Light

Cow Creek StormHideaway CampBig River Paddler


Utah Canoeing

LABYRINTH CANYON, RED ROCKS OF THE GREEN RIVER

Utah $2,000(inclusive*) • October 11-16, 2021

The wild backcountry of southern Utah in and around Canyonlands National Park is one of the most colorful and enchanting landscapes on earth. Within the heart of Canyonlands National Park two of the American West’s most iconic rivers, the Colorado and the Green, converge. Up river of the confluence the Green River meanders gently through the spectacular red sandstone cliffs of both Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons. The journey through this stretch of river is considered to be one of the premier calm water canoe trips in the USA and can be run by novice paddlers. Sheer canyon walls, mesas, arches, hidden grasslands, cool desert streams, and an unbelievable profusion of spectacular rock formations characterize this magnificent portion of the Colorado Plateau. Wildlife includes desert bighorn, puma, bobcat, coyote and golden eagle. We usually encounter and explore some fantastic and haunting rock art of ancient Puebloan cultures. This is classic red rock canyon country, absolutely beautiful and other-worldly. Though the region is high desert, the diversity of life and its adaptations to a harsh environment are truly amazing. Warm sunny days are the rule, but the high desert weather can be unpredictable. This trip is rated easy to fairly strenuous depending on wind and weather. The trip base is Moab, Utah.

Our paddle down the Green will begin at the Crystal Geyser boat launch and take us 64 river miles to our take out location at Mineral Bottom. We will follow in the footsteps of the Puebloan and Freemont cultures, the John Wesley Powel expedition of 1869, and the iconic conservationist/author Edward Abbey. Our Journey will include at least one layover day, in which we can hike and explore some of the side canyons within the park. It can be expected to float around 10-12 river miles per day. This stretch of the Green is loaded with history and historic relics, and most of the area remains unspoiled. Don’t miss the chance to experience this breathtaking canyon!

Trek Base:Moab Valley Inn, 711 South Main, Moab, UT 84532; 800-831-6622 or 435-259-4419.

Meeting Time: Pre-trip orientation including food/gear handout plus safety talk at 6 PM the evening prior to the first trip day. For example, if the trip is from the 11th to the 16th, the pre-trip meeting is 6 PM on the 10th.

Transportation:  Air service to Moab; For airport shuttle to motel call either Nomad Cab 435-260-9986 or Coyote Shuttle 435-259-8656. Alternative: fly to Salt Lake or Grand Junction and rent a car.

Trip Rating:  If ever there was an Easy way to experience beautiful wilderness, this is it. The river is gentle, mileage modest and weather is usually pleasant. There will be lots of time for day hiking and relaxation. No canoeing experience is required.

Elevations:  The river is about 4,000 feet above present day sea level.

Weather:  Usually extremely beautiful in the early mid-autumn, with lots of warm sun and high temperatures in the 70’s to low 80’s, with cool nights in the upper 40’s. Prolonged precipitation is uncommon. It’s the desert!

Special Features:  For most of the route the Green River winds through a curvy maze within a deeply-carved entrenched canyon. This is some of the most colorful and spectacular red-rock canyon country in the entire Southwest! Under the warm high desert sun, with towering red canyon walls piercing an impossibly blue sky, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven! Day hikes up side canyons are lots of fun, too.

Special tips:  If your hands aren’t callused, bring some paddling gloves. Sunscreen and good sunglasses are essential! Bring comfortable lightweight hiking boots for day hiking. Good binoculars will aid greatly in viewing birds and other wildlife.

Status:  The Bureau of Land Management controls the majority of the land surrounding this stretch of river. Most of the landscape is roadless area, with no formal protection. However, portions of our route will be within Wilderness Study Areas, which hold modest levels of temporary protection. Most of the area is eligible under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Fishing:  It’s a warm water fishery that includes catfish. Please inform us if you plan to fish, and you must purchase a Utah license, which you can get in Moab.

Itinerary:  About a 1 hour drive time from Moab,UT to the Crystal Geyser put-in. The float will be 5 nights, 6 days with one day designated as a layover. A river shuttle will be arranged to transport us to the Crystal Geyser put-in and will also meet us at the Mineral Bottom take out and shuttle us back to Moab. Drive time from Mineral Bottom to Moab,UT is approximately 1 hour.

Note: Mileages and vertical foot estimates are approximate, since we vary the route and camp locations from year to year due to changing conditions and varying group capabilities and interests.

*All trip prices include equipment (backpack, day-pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, eating utensils), food and cooking (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, transportation from town to and from the trailheads, and our professional guide/naturalist staff. There is a $300 discount if you bring your own equipment.

Book Your Trip!
Space is limited!
Have questions? Call (406) 823-0337

Annual Trip Calendar

Scheduled Montana Trips

At the link below, is information about our Montana backpacking and canoe trips, which also often include backpacking trips in Yellowstone Park.

Montana Backpacking Trips

Canoe Tour in Montana

 

Photo of Boulder Creek, from one of our Montana backpacking hikes

List prices include our complete gear package and there is a $300 discount if you bring your own (see our Canoeing List, Backpacking List, and/or Questionnaire for details – found here). Also, we offer a $300 discount for the second trip in a calendar year. Scheduled trips are for persons ages 14 and over. Exceptions to the age requirement will be made by us on a case-by-case basis.

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