Top Ten Kid-Tested Rivers

Upper Missouri River, Montana
By Buck Tilton

The wild open plains of central Montana break and fall away to the lonely Upper Missouri River, the 1805 route of Lewis and Clark—and not much has changed on this section of the river since then.

From Fort Benton to the Fred Robinson Bridge on US 191, just inside the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, you'll find 150 kid-friendly miles. The current, running between three and four mph, could carry you the distance in five easy days.

You'll pass bottoms thick with cottonwoods, sandstone cliffs rising vertically from the water, and natural rock sculptures before you enter the Montana "badlands," where erosion has carved a three-dimensional tapestry. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, mule and white-tailed deer, coyotes, and pronghorn antelopes.

Campsites abound along the shores.


When: Early September provides the crispness of fall and fewer crowds. Snow often arrives by early October.

Canoe rentals are available. No permits are required.

For more info: Bureau of Land Management, River Manager, Airport Road, Lewiston, MT 59457; (406) 538-7461.


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