Smith River Rafting
Rafting: Smith River, Montana
Smith River, Montana (Lonnie Ball)
Smith River Rafting at a Glance
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: I-III
Trip in Miles: 60 miles
Trip Duration: 5 days
Season: May-July
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: Camp Baker to Eden Bridge
Nearby Towns: White Sulphur Springs (MT)
Gateway City: White Sulphur Springs (MT)
Driving Times: Helena (MT): 1.5 hours; Great Falls (MT): 2 hours; Missoula (MT): 3 hours

Most multiday rafting trips on the Smith River put in from the Camp Baker Access Site, north of White Sulphur Springs. From here, it’s a languid 60-mile adventure through a scenic limestone canyon in Montana‘s Big Belt Mountains (which range in elevation from 4,000 to 9,000 feet). The Smith River is the only river in Montana where all river travelers must have a permit, and for good reason. The scenery, fishing, birding, archeology, geology, and history are some of the best in the lower 48. So while the whitewater here will rarely go above a riffling Class II, this stretch of river is a paradise for birders, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts (the surrounding terrain is home to mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, beavers, belted kingfishers, dippers, killdeer, American yellow warblers, hawks, owls, hummingbirds, and more). The best month for floating the Smith is June, when water flows are generally dependable with the spring runoff. Water conditions in the earlier months can be a little muddy and cool, while water levels subside with diminished runoff and increased irrigation demands in the summer months.

Published: 4 May 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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