Best time to visit Montana

Whitewater River Rafting in Montana

With friends, family, or even solo—rafting in Montana is a remarkable outdoor activity

Best time: April–September

Whitewater River Rafting
Whitewater River Rafting
Rafting on Middle Fork of the Flathead River
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Montana is well-known for its multiple parks, lush forests, glaciers, and recreation areas. And what could be better than discovering these gems from the rapid streams? Depending on the location, the regular rafting season in Montana usually starts in April and ends in September.

Flathead River

Fed by a glacier, the Flathead River flows in both Canada and the USA. It's perfect for whitewater rafting, with its season lasting from May through September. Spring rafting is full of awoke nature and intense waters. By July, Flathead River turns into a family-friendly playground: the stream is calmer, and nights become warm enough to camp. In September, the air temperature drops, so the rafting season near Glacier Park comes to an end. West Glacier Village is where companies start their tours on Flathead River.

Yellowstone River

As one of the longest rivers in the USA, the Yellowstone River provides excellent whitewater conditions. In Montana, the water river adventures start outside the Gardiner National Park, all along to the Paradise Valley. It's also considered as one of the best fly-fishing destinations in the whole state.

Companies offer full-day or half-day rafting trips, dinner rafting trips, and even multi-day trips with camping under the stars. For those who want to enjoy solitude or connect with nature, there are self-guided trips.

Practical info

What is the best time of year for whitewater rafting in Montana?

Montana's peak season for whitewater rafting is from April to September, depending on the location. Yellowstone River is best rafted in June and July, while Flathead River is calmer and more family-friendly from July to August. May to June are for more challenging and adventurous experiences due to melting snow and high water levels. The season varies from one location to another. Show more

Where are the best places for whitewater rafting in Montana?

Montana is home to many prime locations for whitewater rafting, with Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, Flathead River, and Clark Fork River topping the list. Yellowstone River has different sections with varying degrees of difficulty, while Flathead River is admired for its stunning views. Clark Fork River offers challenges to skilled rafters, while Gallatin River is highly popular with daring adventurers. Show more

Can beginners go whitewater rafting on Flathead River?

Rafting trips on Flathead River are perfectly safe for beginners to experience from July until August. The river has many calm stretches where one can relax and admire the picturesque views. A knowledgeable and experienced guide offers safety tips and rafting techniques to make the adventure a memorable one. Group tours, including meals, equipment, and transport rental, are also available for beginners. Show more

When is the peak season for whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River?

The peak season for whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River is from June until August. Rafters love this season as the river level allows for consistent and safe rafting. The summer weather is warm and sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities for the entire family. The water could be low after mid-August, so visiting in June or September is a good option. Visitors can escape the number of crowds and enjoy cooler air. Show more

Are there any additional outdoor activities offered by the rafting companies in Montana?

Apart from whitewater rafting, Montana's rafting companies also provide other outdoor activities like fishing, camping, hiking, horse riding, and much more. Montana's lakes and rivers are home to various fish species like salmon, trout, and more, making it perfect for enthusiastic fishers. Availability of campsites and hiking trails at different locations provides ample opportunities to explore the surrounding landscape. Guests can customize their outdoor activities based on their preferences and needs to ensure their adventurous experience is memorable. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva