Oct 15, 2015

Packrafting the Yellowstone River

We had two weeks to play with after Kirk picked me up at the Canadian border when I finished the CDT. We spent most of the first week in Glacier, and after the forecast looked rainy for the rest of the week, decided to head down to the Bozeman area and paddle some of the Yellowstone River.

The Yellowstone River, while closed to paddling within the National Park, (important legislation is on the docket to open up the river!) is open to boaters after the north-flowing river passes Gardiner, MT.

Friends Tom and Laurie have boated many sections of the Yellowstone and they assured us there would be enough water to packraft a large section (about 1,500cfs at Livingston), so a bright and warm Sunday afternoon found us on the shores of the river in town, packing up our boats for a 5 day, 60ish mile float.

Much of the river contains Class I and II riffles, but the short section of the river in Gardiner has some bigger rapids at high water, and the Yankee Jim Canyon, about 14 miles above town, has some notable rapids. Because we were paddling in the fall at lower water levels, the normally large rapids were quite manageable. We did scout one rapid from the road and river-side as the large hole could easily flip a packraft.

The week was mellow and quite tranquil.

Scouting Yankee Jim Canyon from the road (photo by Tom Jungst)

Lets do this! (photo by Tom Jungst)

Laurie & Tom, the most excellent hosts

Heading down the Yellowstone through Gardiner. (Photo by Tom Jungst)

Devils Slide


Break time on the rocks

Beach camping

Is all that gonna fit in my boat?


Lovely floating

We just took it all in

On the last day it got a bit rainy

But it sure was beautiful

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