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Rafting and Boating

Wild and Tame Waters

Rafting and Boating

To be in Montana is to be on the water. With whitewater that ranges from chill to challenging, there's a raft trip for everyone. Tackle the technical rapids of the Gallatin and Stillwater rivers, run the vast expanse of the mighty Yellowstone, float the famed Madison, canoe the mellow Jefferson or play in the peaceful waters of Hyalite Reservoir. Boat the world's first national park and scan for wildlife along the shore.

Your guided trip options are many. Lengths run from a few hours to several days and adventure packages may include activities like horseback riding, ziplining and biking.

If you're traveling with your own watercraft, you'll need to get it inspected for invasive species and follow the rules of Clean. Drain. Dry.

Big Sky Area

Depending on the water level and river stretch, the Gallatin River provides a range of opportunities, from gentle, scenic floats to family-friendly rapids to hair-raising whitewater adventures on the famous Class IV “Mad Mile.”

Rafting Companies
Geyser Whitewater Expeditions
Montana Whitewater

Bozeman Area

Kayak the scenic Madison River along the old Bozeman Trail. Calm waters punctuated by small rapids make this a beginner-friendly float.

Hyalite Reservoir's incredible scenery makes it well worth the 20-mile drive from Bozeman into Hyalite Canyon. A no-wake rule makes it the perfect place to kayak or canoe.

Kayak Tours
Bozeman Kayak Co.

Big Boys Toys
Northern Lights Trading
Round House Sports

Gardiner Area

Depending on the length of trip you take, rafting the Yellowstone River from the northern border of Yellowstone National Park will deliver vastly different experiences. The first 8 miles feature fun, rolling waves. Longer trips take thrill-seekers into Yankee Jim Canyon for the largest rapids on the river and big-wave excitement.

Rafting Companies
Flying Pig Adventures

Montana Whitewater
Wild West Whitewater Rafting

Livingston Area

Take a scenic float on the Yellowstone River through the aptly named Paradise Valley. Watch for wildlife and gaze around in awe at views of the Absaroka Mountains to the east and the Gallatin range to the west.

Guided Floats
Rowdy River Guides
Rubby Ducky River Rentals

Red Lodge Area

Don't let the name "Stillwater" fool you. The Stillwater River is anything but, especially its upper stretch during runoff season in early May and June. The middle and lower sections of the Stillwater are milder, which makes them the perfect whitewater rafting experience for first-timers and families.

Rafting Companies:
Absaroka River Adventures - Absarokee
Adventure Whitewater — Absarokee

Three Forks Area

Paddle the easy-going Jefferson River up to its confluence with the Madison River in Three Forks where it forms the "Mighty" Missouri River. Choose your float distance, from a 65-mile multiday camping adventure to a short 3-miler.

Guides, Shuttles and Rentals:
The Canoeing House

West Yellowstone Area

Hebgen Lake boasts 6,500 acres of boating paradise. Fed by the Madison River and formed by Hebgen Dam, the lake is famed for being the site of a 1959 earthquake that created Quake Lake downstream. This popular recreation area allows watercraft of all sorts, from speedboats to pontoon boats to sailboats to canoes, kayaks and everything in between.

Watercraft Rentals:
Kirkwood Marina

Yellowstone National Park

Experience America's first national park by water! Boat the largest high elevation lake in North America—Yellowstone Lake. From Bridge Bay Marina, take a guided tour on the Lake Queen, rent or charter a boat, reserve a dock slip or schedule shuttle service. If you plan on bringing your own watercraft, permits and inspections are mandatory. Motorized boats are also allowed on Lewis Lake; nonmotorized boats are permitted on all lakes, with a few exceptions.

Yellowstone National Park Boating Information
Yellowstone National Park Lodges — Water Adventures

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Rafting and Boating

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