Over the years, I’ve snapped a lot of photos. Here’s a sampling, along with captions that I hope are helpful for planning and research. If you’re interested in licensing one or more of these (or are searching for something else), hit me up via
email. Please don’t use without permission.
The fifty-mile riffle is an apt description of the Madison River above Ennis. Mostly known as a fishing stream, the Madison offers great day and overnight options for intermediate paddlers.
The Middle Fork of the Flathead is primarily a gnarly whitewater river, but the stretch from Paola Creek to Cascadilla Creek is a great run for solid intermediates. Easy road access, good camping options and crystal clear water add to the allure. Be sure to scout the takeout, you don’t want to miss it. My write up of the Middle Fork was cut from the book for space, but I added it to the Places to Paddl e section of this site.
Cliff Lake (left and right) is a southern Madison Valley gem. Quake Lake (center) is nearby and together with Wade Lake which is right next to Cliff Lake, the three make for a great weekend of mellow paddling amidst great scenery and cool (if a bit terrifying) history. We paddled these over Labor Day weekend and stayed at the Beaver Creek Campground on the Custer-Gallatin NF. There are also campgrounds near/on Cliff Lake.
I LOVE the Blackfoot River. It’s one of the best SUP rivers anywhere. Just bouncy enough to be interesting, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. It’s a great paddle anytime of the year. Float-in campsites, booked through MT FWP, make overnight trips easy. Years ago, my friend Aaron and I did an 85-mile through paddle of the Blackfoot, starting a Cedar Flats and ending up on the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula. Read about it in my story for Big Sky Journal.
The lakes of the Seeley-Swan Valley serve up some great paddling options. From left to right: Holland Lake, Lake Alva, and Swan Lake. Each offers a different paddling experience in a gorgeous mountain setting. Forest Service campgrounds make overnights easy, if you get a reservation well in advance. Other lakes in the valley include: Salmon, Inez, Rainy, Lindbergh, and Lake Placid. Find descriptions for all of them in my guidebook.
Paddling in Yellowstone National Park is pretty amazing. My friend Aaron and I snuck in a late-season trip on Lewis Lake and Shoshone Lake in October 2019. It was cold but gorgeous.
My buddy Brian and I got worked on a mid-May Missouri River trip in 2019. We had planned to attempt the entire 150-mile Wild and Scenic section, but cold rain and brutal headwinds forced us to shorten the trip to only 50 or so miles. The more relaxed pace proved a great way to enjoy this incredible river, providing ample time for hiking, drying out gear, and enjoying the scenery, even if the paddling was still a bit of a sufferfest. Read about the trip in this story for NRS that I wrote.