Kayaking Spots in Montana
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Montana is a state full of beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams for kayaking enthusiasts. Sparkling alpine lakes, wide-flowing rivers, and mountain ponds are available here.

In Montana, the options for kayaking are nearly endless. From whitewater and flatwater kayaking to whitewater rafting, paddling enthusiasts of all levels can find something to enjoy.

10 Popular Kayaking Spots in Montana From Lakes To Rivers

Whether it’s a leisurely trip around a lake or an extreme whitewater run, the rivers, streams, and lakes of Montana provide the perfect opportunity for an unforgettable kayaking experience.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake offers the ultimate outdoor adventure. The largest natural lake in the West, it is a popular spot for wildlife observation, with deer, moose, and birds of various species dotting its shoreline. Its pristine waters are inviting to swimmers and boaters alike, providing a crystal-clear glimpse of the lake’s depths.

Explore the Largest Natural Lake in the West

Stepping away from the bustling shorelines of the city, one can find solace in the stunning beauty of Flathead Lake. Located in Montana, Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake in the western United States, covering over 200 square miles of pristine waters. From the towering forested mountains that line the shore to the serene waters, Flathead Lake is a nature lover’s paradise.

The lake is home to a variety of species, from bald eagles soaring above to the lake trout swimming below. Visitors can explore the hills and meadows near the lake and spot various wildlife, such as deer, moose, and elk.

In the summer months, the lake is alive with activity, as kayakers and paddle boarders make their way through the clear waters, and fishermen and fisherwomen from near and far come to try their luck in the lake’s depths. With its vast beauty and abundance of wildlife, Flathead Lake is a perfect destination for anyone looking for a peaceful escape.

Spot Wildlife Along the Shores

Transitioning from the majestic landscape surrounding Flathead Lake to the wildlife that calls it home, visitors can spot an array of wildlife along the shores of the lake. The lake is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the area, making it a great spot for wildlife-seekers.

From majestic bald eagles to inquisitive beavers, the shores of Flathead Lake are full of life. Nature enthusiasts can also spot deer and elk, as well as smaller critters like squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons.

Birders can find a variety of waterfowl, including ducks, geese, herons, and even the occasional swan. With so much wildlife to observe, the lake is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to get close to nature.

Enjoy the Crystal Clear Waters

Nestled in the northwest corner of Montana is Flathead Lake, the largest natural lake in the western United States. Its crystal clear waters provide adventurers with spectacular views of the nearby mountains and the vibrant aquatic life living in the lake.

Visitors to the lake are treated to a visual feast of blues and greens as the sun reflects off the water. The lake is known for its incredibly clear waters, with visibility as deep as 70 feet.

This makes it an excellent location for swimming, fishing, and other aquatic activities. The lake is a haven for local wildlife, including osprey, bald eagles, and even the occasional moose. Whether from the shore or on a boat, it is definitely worth a visit.

Flathead Lake offers a unique experience to anyone looking to explore the great outdoors. Its beautiful, crystal clear waters are a sight to behold, and the abundant wildlife makes it the perfect spot for a day of relaxation and exploration.

Missouri River

Missouri River

Discover the beauty of the Missouri River by taking a multi-day tour through the magnificent gorge. Marvel at its stunning waterfalls, and feel the rush of its wild rapids. Experience the grandeur of this majestic river and create lasting memories.

Take a Multi-Day Tour Through the Gorge

From the vast expanse of Flathead Lake, the Missouri River begins its journey east, winding through the stunning mountain ranges of Montana. To experience the beauty and grandeur of this river, a multi-day tour through the gorge can be taken.

As you traverse the river, you’ll be surrounded by towering granite cliffs and lush evergreen forests. The rapids will be your constant companion as you make your way through the narrow canyon, providing a thrilling yet peaceful experience.

You’ll be able to view the riverbanks from a unique perspective as if you were a part of the landscape rather than an observer. In the evening, you’ll be able to take in the stars from the middle of the river, before setting up camp for the night.

Each day of the tour will be packed with stunning views and exciting experiences. Whether you decide to take a break and relax on the riverbank or speed through the wild rapids, you’ll be sure to have a memorable journey.

Explore the Stunning Waterfalls

From the peaceful shores of Flathead Lake, the journey continues further eastward where the Missouri River winds its way through the majestic Missouri River Gorge. Exploring the stunning waterfalls of the gorge is an experience like no other.

The roar of the river echoes off the towering canyon walls as the cascading waterfalls roar over the rocky cliffs, creating an unforgettable sight. The air is full of mist from the thundering waterfalls as they plunge into the river below.

As the sun moves across the sky, the light changes, and the waterfalls become transformed, creating a unique sight to behold as the shadows play against the rushing waters.

The clear water is icy cold but its breathtaking beauty is worth the chill. Those looking to take a break from the sights can find cozy spots to rest and admire the masterfully crafted landscape. With its unique landscape and impressive waterfalls, the Missouri River Gorge is a must-see spot for any outdoor enthusiasts.

Enjoy the Wild Rapids

Moving from the serenity of Flathead Lake to the dynamic Missouri River, a multi-day tour through the gorge offers an adventurous experience for those willing to explore it. No trip down the Missouri River is complete without experiencing the wild rapids.

The surging water in the rapids creates a powerful yet beautiful display of nature’s strength. The sound of the wild rapids echoes through the gorge, creating a symphony of nature that will captivate all who witness it. The water rushes with a great power, creating massive waves that jolt and swirl around the rocks. The blue-green waters constantly change and move, creating a dynamic landscape in the gorge.

The wild rapids are a thrilling experience for those brave enough to take the plunge and experience them. With experienced guides, visitors can feel safe and secure while navigating the rapids, and take in the astounding beauty of the gorge.

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is a must-see for nature lovers, providing opportunities to spot wildlife along its shores, take in stunning views, and enjoy its gentle rapids. Its serene beauty is only enhanced by the presence of majestic bald eagles, elk, and bighorn sheep that can be seen lounging lazily in the meadows and along the river bank. The river’s stunning panorama of meadows, mountain peaks, and rocky bluffs creates an awe-inspiring sight for all visitors to revel in.

Spot Wildlife Along the Shores

After the Missouri River, we move onto the majestic Yellowstone River. As one of the longest undammed rivers in the continental United States, the Yellowstone River is teeming with life. Those who look to spot wildlife along the shores of this river will not be disappointed.

Visitors to the Yellowstone River can observe bald eagles, osprey, deer, beaver, elk, and other species of birds. In the early mornings and evenings, the river banks come alive with activity. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as you explore the river banks.

The river is a great habitat for both plant and animal life, making it a great location for nature lovers. Keep an eye out for the many different species, as the river provides a safe haven for them to live and reproduce. With a keen eye and patience, you can observe some of the most fascinating animals in their natural environment.

The Yellowstone River also provides a great opportunity to get up close and personal with nature. Take a stroll along the river banks and admire the beauty of the river in its untouched state. Enjoy the peacefulness of being surrounded by nature and the majestic beauty of the river. The sights and sounds of the wild will be a joy to experience.

Take in the Stunning Views

Leaving behind the Missouri River, the Yellowstone River takes center stage. Its waters sparkle in the sunlight, inviting visitors to take in the stunning views. The river winds through the countryside, dotted with wildflowers and tall grasses. To the east, the Grand Teton mountains stand majestically, their snow-capped peaks a reminder of the beauty that surrounds them.

Along the river’s banks, one can spot deer, elk, and even bison meandering through the grasslands, while hawks soar in the sky above. The reflections of the sky, clouds, and trees in the river create a beautiful mirrored effect, making it hard to look away. The sound of the gentle rapids adds to the magical atmosphere, creating a peaceful, calming environment that beckons travelers to stay a while.

Enjoy the Gentle Rapids

Having left the Missouri River behind, the next leg of the journey leads to the Yellowstone River. One of the most enjoyable experiences along the Yellowstone River is enjoying the gentle rapids. As the river runs through the rocky landscape, it begins to pick up speed, creating a thrilling but mild ride.

Every now and then, a wave of water rises up and carries the boat along in its current. The cool mist created by the rushing water refreshes the passengers and creates an overall pleasant atmosphere.

The gentle rapids of the Yellowstone River are the perfect way to take in the surrounding scenery. While navigating through the river, visitors can take in the beauty of the lush green trees, the rocky hills, and the wide open sky above. All of this can be seen while staying safe and having fun in the calm waters. The rapids are the perfect way for adventurers to explore the river and connect with nature.

Gallatin River

Gallatin River

The Gallatin River offers an incredible variety of experiences for anglers and rafters alike. Cast a line in its cascading waters and you might just find yourself reelin’ in a trout. For an adrenaline rush, tackle the rapids and feel the thrill of the powerful current. Finally, explore its remote areas and marvel in its majestic beauty.

Fish for Trout in the Gorge

After marveling at the beauty of the Yellowstone River, it’s time to explore the Gallatin River. Home to some of the best trout fishing in Montana, fly-fishing the Gallatin is an exciting experience. Nestled in the Gallatin Gorge, anglers can find a variety of trout, including rainbow, brown, and cutthroat.

The river is teeming with life, and the fishing is as good as it gets. With its crystal clear waters, the area is made for fly fishing. The narrow, rocky canyon walls provide a perfect backdrop for a peaceful day of fishing. The calm pools near the gorge offer a perfect spot to cast your line and enjoy the scenic views. As the water churns and winds through the rapids, it brings along a bounty of trout.

The Gallatin Gorge is a great place to try your luck at catching some trout. With its breathtaking views and tranquil atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The Gallatin River is an angler’s paradise, and every season brings a new opportunity to explore new areas and catch some of the best trout in Montana.

Enjoy the Thrilling Rapids

Leaving the tranquil waters of Yellowstone behind, the Gallatin River offers a much more thrilling experience. Ready for an adrenaline rush? Then look no further than the Gallatin River Gorge! Here, rapids cascade over boulders and drop down steep canyons, creating an exciting experience for whitewater rafting and kayaking.

The Gallatin is well-known for its technical rapids filled with waves, whirlpools, and tricky corners. Experienced rafters and kayakers will find plenty of challenges, while those just starting out can still enjoy the thrill of the rapids while navigating the easier sections. Along the way, take in the stunning views of the canyon walls, sculpted by centuries of erosion. You may even spot some wildlife, from river otters to ospreys, along the way. In short, a journey down the Gallatin River Gorge is an unforgettable experience!

Explore the Remote Areas

After the breathtaking views of the Yellowstone River, the Gallatin River beckons those adventurers who seek the thrill of exploration and the mystery of discovering hidden spots. For those brave enough to explore the remote areas of the Gallatin River, the journey will be one to remember.

The winding course of the Gallatin River cuts through the wild beauty of Montana, carving its path through the jagged mountains and lush forests. With its remote canyons, secluded coves, and cascading waterfalls,

the Gallatin River offers a unique and thrilling experience for those with a sense of adventure. The journey begins with a hike through winding trails, where one can find a variety of native wildlife, including moose, beavers, deer, and the occasional bear.

As one navigates the remote areas of the Gallatin River, the breathtaking scenery of towering mountains, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls will leave the explorer in awe. The river itself provides a unique experience, with its deep pools, narrow gorges, and rushing rapids.

If one is lucky, they may even find a few secret fishing spots, where they can cast their line and try to catch some of the native trout. Exploring the remote areas of the Gallatin River is an adventure to be remembered.

Madison River

Madison River

The Madison River is home to stunning views and rich wildlife. Surrounded by towering mountains and lush valleys, travelers are often captivated by the beauty of the river’s landscape. Along the riverbanks, visitors can take pleasure in the sights of native birds and animals, such as bald eagles, beavers, otters, and deer. For the adventurous, the gentle rapids of the Madison River provide a thrilling experience while afloat on a raft.

Enjoy the Scenic Views

The Gallatin River may be known for its exciting rapids, but the Madison River offers a more serene experience. The Madison River is host to some of the most stunning views in the area, and it is a great spot to take in the sights.

The river winds through the banks of several small towns, each with its own unique character. The banks are lined with towering cliffs and vibrant wildflowers, with the occasional glimpse of a deer or an eagle soaring overhead. The waters sparkle with the sun’s rays and the reflections of the surrounding trees create a lovely image to enjoy.

As the river flows, it passes by a variety of local landmarks. From the old mining town of Virginia City to the mysterious Madison Cave, the Madison River is a great place to enjoy the scenery.

A great spot to take in the views is the West Fork, where you can sit and admire the beauty of the river and the surrounding landscape. No matter where you go on the Madison River, you will be sure to find great views and plenty of scenic memories.

Spot Wildlife Along the Shores

Leaving the wild whitewater of the Gallatin River behind, the next destination is the Madison River. Its shoreline is teeming with wildlife, begging to be explored. The river winds slowly through the Madison Valley, with a calm current that allows for closer examination of the river’s banks.

The Madison River is a haven for a variety of wildlife, both on the shoreline and in the river itself. Deer, elk, and antelope can often be seen grazing on the lush grasses of the valley. The river’s banks are lined with a variety of birds, including ospreys, geese, and ducks.

A patient observer might even catch a glimpse of a beaver building its dam or a muskrat under the surface, swimming gracefully through the water. Watching the wildlife of the Madison River can be an incredibly rewarding experience, as they often go about their daily lives in close proximity to visitors.

Experience the Gentle Rapids

Leaving the Gallatin River behind, the Madison River awaits adventurers ready to experience its gentle rapids. Its crystal-clear waters sparkle in the sunlight, inviting visitors to explore its depths. Everywhere, the sound of the rapids can be heard, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

The rapids provide an exciting challenge to kayakers and canoers alike. For those who are just beginning, the gentle currents make for a perfect introduction to the sport. Experienced paddlers can have fun navigating their way through the rocks and rapids. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the rapids on the Madison River provide a wonderful experience.

Bighorn River

Bighorn River

The Bighorn River, a majestic river of Montana, provides heart-pounding rapids and winding canyons perfect for floating and fishing. Enjoy a peaceful float through deep canyons, fish for trout in the gorge, and experience the thrilling rapids of the Bighorn River. Make memories that will last a lifetime.

Float Through the Canons

Following the Madison River downstream, we come across the Bighorn River. This river has its own impressive set of unique features and opportunities for visitors to explore. One such experience is to float through the canyons.

As you make your way downstream, you will be embraced by the towering canyon walls. These walls are made of sandstone, and they are inscribed with ancient petroglyphs. The peaceful and calm waters will guide your raft as you take in the beauty of the landscape. You’ll marvel at the abundance of wildlife and the variety of wildflowers.

The sun will shine down on you, and the sound of the river lapping against the raft will be your soundtrack. You may even catch sight of some bighorn sheep perched high on the cliffs. This is a serene and tranquil experience and one that you will never forget.

Fish for Trout in the Gorge

Leaving the Madison River behind, adventurers seeking another thrilling experience can turn their attention to the Bighorn River. This river is renowned for its thrilling rapids, but experienced anglers know that it is also possible to fish for trout in the gorge. The fast-flowing waters here are full of brown and rainbow trout, and the magnificent canyon walls offer a stunning backdrop for a day of fishing.

The best time to go trout fishing in the Bighorn River gorge is during the warmer months of the year when the trout are most active. At this time, the trout can be found near the surface, and anglers can cast their lines into the cool waters to catch these prized fish.

The gorge provides an ideal environment for trout fishing, with plenty of rocky outcroppings and eddies for the trout to hide. The key to success is to use the right bait and techniques to bring the trout in. With the right knowledge and a careful approach, anglers will be rewarded with a plentiful haul of trout.

Enjoy the Thrilling Rapids

The Bighorn River offers a rapid-filled adventure filled with thrilling rides that will keep you on your toes. From the rushing water of the Greybull River to the curves of the Bighorn Canyon, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more exciting float trip.

The rapids will provide an exhilarating rush through the gorgeous canyon walls. As the river twists and turns, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs and towering canyons. Every turn of the river brings new landscapes to take in and new thrilling moments. You’ll be tested to keep your craft upright and racing through the raging waters.

But the reward is a feeling of unbeatable accomplishment. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, you’ll never forget the incredible energy of the rapids.

Clark Fork River

Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork River is a captivating place to explore, with breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and thrilling rapids. Visitors can admire the sweeping landscapes from the riverbank while keeping an eye out for local creatures such as bald eagles and ospreys in the skies. The rapids provide a thrilling ride, with waves and eddies perfect for a memorable whitewater rafting experience.

Take in the Stunning Views

Leaving the winding waters of the Bighorn River behind, the Clark Fork River dazzles with its enchanting views. Towering mountains, covered in a blanket of trees, offer a breathtaking backdrop for its crystal-clear waters.

Along the way, visitors can take in the majestic beauty of the lush valleys and rolling hills that are scattered throughout. The sun-dappled riverbank beckons, inviting visitors to relax and take in the stunning views.

The wild banks of the Clark Fork River are home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, and deer. Taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, visitors can spot these animals as they forage in the meadows or take flight from the treetops.

The ever-changing scenery of the river is a delight for the senses, with the sound of the rushing river, the sweet smell of the wildflowers, and the sights of the surrounding forests. All of these combine to create a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. From the scenic views to the abundance of wildlife, the Clark Fork River offers a unique experience that will never be forgotten.

Spot Wildlife Along the Shores

From the rushing waters of the Bighorn River, we move on to the Clark Fork River, a river of remarkable beauty. Along its shores, visitors can see a variety of wildlife, from birds and fish to deer and elk. The banks of the Clark Fork River are teeming with life, from the playful otters to the majestic bald eagles soaring overhead.

The river’s sun-dappled shores provide an excellent opportunity to spot wildlife in its natural habitat. In the evenings, one might even catch a glimpse of a beaver, busily gathering food and materials for its dam. With a little patience, a lucky observer might even observe a family of river otters swimming and playing in the water.

While the river is home to many of these animals, it also provides habitat for a variety of birds, including ducks, geese, and herons. By taking the time to really explore the banks of the Clark Fork River, one can be rewarded with some truly wonderful wildlife sightings.

Enjoy the Wild Rapids

Leaving the Bighorn River behind, the journey continues to the Clark Fork River. Here, the wild rapids provide a thrilling experience for all who dare to take them on. The river is alive with the sound of whitewater crashing against boulders, while waves of icy water burst and cascade over the rocks.

The rapids offer a rush of adrenaline that can only be found in the wild, untamed rivers of Montana. As paddlers maneuver their way through the rapids, they will need to navigate around jutting rocks and over powerful waves. The fast-moving currents provide an extra challenge, as paddlers must be quick and agile to stay in control and avoid any obstacles.

The Clark Fork River is a great place to get the full experience of a wild river adventure. With its stunning views, abundant wildlife, and powerful rapids, it is the perfect spot for experienced paddlers and adventurers alike.

Flathead River

Flathead River

The Flathead River is the perfect spot to get away from it all, with its remote areas and peaceful environment. Cast a line in the river’s gorgeous gorge for a chance to catch some trout, while admiring the spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Enjoy a day of relaxation and adventure at the Flathead River.

Enjoy the Remote Areas

The Clark Fork River, while magnificent in its own right, is just the beginning of what Montana has to offer in terms of breathtaking rivers. Stepping away from the bustling activity of the Clark Fork, the Flathead River is a secluded experience that beckons the adventurous spirit. Here, one can enjoy the remote areas of the river, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Flathead River is the perfect escape for those seeking to find solace in nature. Its winding banks and lush vegetation offer a sense of peace and tranquility that can be found nowhere else. Exploring its remote areas, visitors can take in the beauty that the river has to offer.

From lush green meadows to rocky gorges, the Flathead River’s terrain is as diverse as it is beautiful. Whether hiking, camping, or simply taking in the views, the Flathead River is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Fish for Trout in the Gorge

From the Clark Fork River to the Flathead River, adventurers are invited to explore the remote areas and fish for trout in the gorge. The Flathead River is a great spot for those looking to engage in an exciting and rewarding fishing experience. Its deep, swift-flowing waters are home to native cutthroat, rainbow, brook, and brown trout.

The gorge of the Flathead River creates a unique and beautiful landscape, with its high cliffs and deep pools. Here, fishermen can find a great deal of seclusion and peacefulness, with plenty of opportunity to catch trout.

It is not uncommon to spot an eagle, osprey, or other majestic wildlife as you cast your lure. So if you’re in search of an exciting and rewarding fishing experience, the Flathead River and its gorge are an ideal destination.

Take in the Spectacular Views

The beauty of the Flathead River extends far beyond the Clark Fork River, offering stunning views of the Montana mountains and valleys. From the banks of the river, visitors can take in the breathtaking sights of the surrounding landscape.

The towering mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the river, and the lush greenery of the valley is a perfect contrast to the rugged peaks.

The views from the riverbank are unparalleled and often take visitors’ breath away. The river winds its way through the mountains, providing a stunning and unique perspective of the landscape.

The banks of the river offer visitors a chance to take in the majestic beauty of the area, as well as the tranquility of the remote area. The experience of the Flathead River is one that will never be forgotten.


Montana is the perfect place for kayaking. With its many rivers and lakes, Montana offers a variety of kayaking options. From Flathead Lake to the Bighorn River, kayakers can explore the great outdoors and experience the beauty and serenity of Montana’s rivers.

The Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, Madison River, and Clark Fork River are all excellent choices for those seeking a more adventurous kayaking experience.

Whether you are looking for a peaceful paddle or an exciting ride, Montana has the perfect spot for you. So, grab your paddle and explore the beauty of Montana’s rivers and lakes.

Kayaking in Flathead Lake Montana