Monday, March 4th, 2013

Trip of the Week: Great Bear Wilderness Rafting

We’re getting pretty excited about the upcoming summer and want to share our excitement with you. Every week until our season starts, we’ll share one of our river trips with you. So be sure to tune into our blog each week to find out about each of our trips and find the perfect one for you and your friends or family!

Our third trip is Great Bear Wilderness Whitewater Rafting:

If the idea of paddling through rapids and camping in beautiful backcountry makes your heart beat faster, then do we ever have a trip for you! Join us on a Great Bear Wilderness adventure this summer. You’ll see magnificent scenery, dine on gourmet meals, and enjoy sitting around a campfire under a blanket of twinkling stars.

The Great Bear Wilderness Area was established as a corridor linking the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park. Together, these two remote parts of Northwest Montana form the largest tract of wilderness lands in the lower contiguous United States. Flowing through the heart of this rugged and awe-inspiring landscape, the Upper Middle Fork of the Flathead River carves its way through glacial valleys and lush forests. This upper section of the river is one of the most protected and pristine waterways in the United States. We are proud to be the only Montana outfitter permitted to operate float trips on this portion of the Upper Middle Fork.

What to expect

Until the winter snowpack clears (usually around July 10th), we fly in by commuter plane. We take you on a panoramic flight over the wilderness and then land at Schafer Meadows, a remote airstrip along the headwaters of the Flathead River. As the days heat up and the river recedes near the headwaters, we access the Great Bear Wilderness at a point where it is navigable via an easy trail. This scenic 2-hour hike takes you through the gorgeous Granite Creek Valley. If you prefer not to hike in, we can arrange to have a horse take you in for an additional fee.

The next 3½ days are spent paddle rafting and camping along the Upper Middle Fork. You’ll experience exciting whitewater and terrific fishing. The rapids of “Spruce Park Gorge”, “Lunch Creek” and “25-Mile Creek” make this a real adventure.  The whitewater here is still exciting though more moderate and technical. We use smaller rafts with everyone paddling.

Wildlife, wildflowers, wild everything  

The Upper Middle Fork has a bounty of native Westslope cutthroat trout as do the high mountain lakes in this area. Wildlife is all around you here. You may see mountain goats perched precariously on rock cliffs, bald eagles soaring overhead, a mother deer and her fawn drinking from a stream, and blooming wildflowers in meadows along the river.

Please keep in mind this is mainly a river rafting trip and not a fishing trip, although there are opportunities to fish in camp and during lunch stops. If you’re interested in an exclusive fishing trip, we can customize the trip for your group. We’ll focus on what your interests are – whether it be rafting, fishing, hiking, or exploring the great natural wonder of the Montana wilderness. Our agenda is subject to change due to trail conditions, weather, water levels and group interests.

Mother Nature is calling

You’ll love the thrill and excitement of the rapids and you’ll appreciate the serenity of the calm stretches of river amid Mother Nature and all her splendor. It should not be forgotten that this is a “wild” river, and as its classification implies it should not be taken lightly. We recommend you be in good physical condition for this trip.

Trip meets at 8:30 am at the Glacier Outdoor Center.  Time varies depending on hike/flight schedule.

Due to the constraints involved with wilderness travel, we ask that you limit your baggage to 40 pounds per person. This trip is limited to adults over 16 years of age only prior to July 1 and 12 years of age after July 1.

Trip Length: 4 days
Departure Dates: Daily, early June through early August
River Rating: Class III-V
River Miles: 22-32 (32 in June high water when access is from Schafer Meadows; 22 later in the season when access is from Granite Creek)
Recognized Rapids Multiple series
Age Limit: 16 in June high water; mature 12 rest of season
(dependent on weather and water conditions)
Rates: Adult & Youth : $1495 *
*prices do not include 7% service fee
License: Montana fishing license is required if fishing and available at Glacier Outdoor Center:
$25.00 for 2-day license (includes required Montana Conservation License and State Lands License).
$15 for additional 2- day license.
$70 for season license

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