June 26, 2007

Blackfoot River; Montana (II - III)

The Ledge


Sparky said...

The Blackfoot River is another quality stretch just outside Missoula. With it's close proximity to Missoula, beautiful scenery, and easy whitewater, this is a great place to learn how to paddle. If you are a more experienced boater and have friends who want to get into paddling, this is a good spot to take them. I pretty much learned how to kayak on this river, and i've been with countless others who have honed their skills on the Blackfoot.

At higher water, say 5000 cfs and above, the Blackfoot takes on a bit of a different character, with swirly eddies and some good consistent rapids. There are also a couple good playspots at this level - the Butthole and the Ledge. The Ledge is a great spot to avoid the massive crowds at Brennan's and get some endless soul surfing in. The Bassman crushed all other endurance records on the Ledge with his 45 minute throwdown in 2004 - sicky!

At lower water, below 3000 cfs or so, the water clears up and the river is good fun with a few decent rapids and beautiful swimming holes. I personally prefer to canoe it at this level; it's a great whitewater canoe stretch at most all levels. The only problem with low water is dealing with hundreds of drunken tubers (but hey, we've all been there). Please respect this beautiful river as it is getting more and more abused with the burgeoning flocks that come from Missoula.

Blackfoot logistics: Class II (III- at high flows)
Multiple stretches are possible, but the standard put in is located at Roundup off Highway 200 northeast of Missoula. The take out is at Johnsrud Park, or you can easily take out at the Ledge just upstream to avoid the Johnsrud mayhem (take 200 towards Great Falls from Bonner east of Missoula, you can't miss the Blackfoot corridor). Roundup to Johnsrud is about 18 miles, or you can easily put in at the Whitaker Bridge to cut the distance in half and access most good whitewater. This river is well worth exploring.

Anonymous said...

Aww, Sparkansas- We have all been there haven't we? Katie forwarded this site to me and it sparked (ha!)quite the string of memories for the two of us. It's great to see you are still living the high life- send my regards to the Mighty Mighty Blackfoot.

Shoot me an email sometime!