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Gallatin River

Gallatin River


Draining snowmelt from northwestern Yellowstone National Park and the Gallatin Range, the Gallatin River features some of the most exhilarating and easily accessible whitewater in the state of Montana. Along its boatable length, the Gallatin is flanked by Gallatin Canyon Road. The Gallatin is packed with rushing intermediate level rapids and is located only minutes of Big Sky Resort and within an hour drive from Bozeman.

Not long after leaving its headwaters, the Gallatin begins its course through Gallatin Canyon, starting off as a winding scenic waterway and quickly picking up speed as the canyon steepens and narrows. Two sections of the Gallatin are commercially run, ranging in difficulty from carefree and bubbly beginner level rapids to crashing intermediate level whitewater choked with boulders.

Upper Gallatin
Along the Upper Gallatin there are plenty of bubbly riffles and wave trains to excite beginner to intermediate level whitewater enthusiasts with scenery to please anyone. The river flows by forested banks interrupted by juts of limestone soaring to over a thousand foot high.

The season on the Upper Gallatin spans from mid spring to mid summer, fed by snowmelt and a few springs along its length. The Upper Gallatin is typically run as either a half day or in combination with the lower stretch as a full day trip.

Lower Gallatin
As Gallatin Canyon tightens its squeeze on the Gallatin River, the rapids quickly intensify. Limestone cliffs along the banks give way to intrusions of igneous granite, and large granite boulders choke the waterway. The rapids along the Lower Gallatin are technical and demanding, especially at higher flows. One section along the Lower Gallatin, known as ‘the Mad Mile’, features over a mile of continuous intermediate-advanced level rapids.

The lower Gallatin is usually boatable from mid spring to mid summer, fed exclusively by springs and snowmelt from the Gallatin Range. Typically run as a half day trip, a trip down the Lower Gallatin can be combined with the Upper Gallatin for a fun full day adventure

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