Whitewater Rafting Near Missoula

Whitewater Rafting Near Missoula

A family is on an orange zoo town surfers raft enjoying whitewater rafting near missoula on the alberton gorge river.

Vacation in Missoula, whoo-hoo! Welcome! We are so glad you’re here. Whether you are trekking to Missoula for the first time, make a yearly trip, or are a long-time local, we have a trip that will fit every group and every adventure level. Whitewater rafting is guaranteed to make your stay more enjoyable, especially on the hottest of days! Rafting in Missoula is one of the absolute best activities you can do on vacation. Read on to get the insider scoop on options for whitewater rafting near Missoula.

Zoo Town Surfers’ River Trips

Zoo Town Surfers has a variety of river trips for all skill levels. If you want something with a bit less adrenaline, we have some fantastic options for you to float through some incredible scenery and experience the area in a new way. Our Scenic and Town Floats provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the area from its incredible rivers.

Missoula Whitewater Rafting & Floats

There is no shortage of whitewater rafting near Missoula! Whether you want a fun adventure for the whole family, a whitewater experience close to Missoula, or an action-packed thrill ride, we have incredible options for you! The Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River has big, fun, splashy waves, plenty of spaces to swim and relax, and unforgettable scenery. Now that the water level is dropping the Alberton Gorge becomes the picturesque Montana adventure that every family dreams about. The cool thing is that your raft guide can “pick their line” and customize the trip for your family’s adventure level preferences. What we mean by this is that we can either minimize the rapids experience for you or ramp it up if you want to get an adrenaline rush or two.

Do you already know that you prefer a higher level of adventure? We highly suggest you raft with us in early spring on the Lochsa! The Lochsa River in Idaho is just a bit further south, about two hours, and it will not leave you disappointed. Come prepared to paddle, eat fantastic homemade BBQ, and experience the paddle of a lifetime on one of America’s best roadside whitewater day trips. The Lochsa features Class III & IV rapids, which is the highlight of the trip. A close second? The absolutely delicious homemade BBQ lunch we feed you! No joke, it’s often mentioned by guests as a reason to come back. 

Rafting Adventures Near Missoula

The Alberton Gorge

Rafting with kids? Newer to rafting? Bachelor Party? Unsure if whitewater is right for you? The Alberton Gorge on the Clark Fork River is a fantastic place to start! There is a lot of adventure to this river, but what makes it so great is that we can customize the experience for you. During the summer months the Gorge, as we call it, the water levels go down and the fun factor ramps up! This means that you get to enjoy sunshine & splashy rapids with lower intensity. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss your group’s needs with your guide so that they can pick lines that match with your adventure preferences.

For context, The Alberton Gorge on the Clark Fork River (near Missoula) features Class II and Class III rapids.This means:

  • Class II (Novice): These rapids have straightforward, clear channels and wide, clear passages. They might have some medium-sized waves but are generally easy to navigate with basic paddling skills. You have a raft guide which helps a lot, too!
  • Class III (Intermediate): These rapids are more challenging, with moderate, irregular waves which makes for an exciting, rollercoaster-like experience. They often have eddies and stronger currents, demanding better boat control and some experience in whitewater rafting. Eddy is the calm area by the way!

Overall, the Alberton Gorge provides an exciting but manageable rafting experience suitable for intermediate rafters and adventurous beginners with some guidance.

Alberton Gorge Trip Facts

The Alberton Gorge is known as a pool-and-drop, so you will have plenty of time between the rapids to swim and relax in the sun. In rafting, ‘pool and drop’ is a term used to describe a river characterized by a repeating pattern of calm, deep pools followed by short, steep drops or rapids. This pattern makes for a great rafting experience!

  1. Pool: The pool is a calm, slow-moving, and deep section of the river. These areas allow for a moment of rest, making them ideal for regrouping and preparing for the next set of rapids. Pools are generally safe and provide an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and revel in the excitement of the previous rapid. This is also where you can take photos and laugh with your loved ones.
  2. Drop: The drop refers to the steep, fast-moving section of the river where the water cascades down over rocks and creates rapids. Drops can vary in difficulty from mild to very challenging, depending on the gradient of the riverbed and the volume of water. Your guide will use skillful navigation on the rapids and they are often the most exciting parts of the rafting trip.

The “pool and drop” pattern can make a river both enjoyable and predictable for rafters. This type of river is commonly found in mountainous regions where the riverbed has a varied gradient, leading to alternating calm and rapid sections.

Lunch Option: On the Gorge we serve our homemade Chicken Bahn Mi sandwich on locally made Le Petite Baguettes. It’s SO tasty, even more so when you’ve been paddling in the sun! Whew, I’m hungry just thinking about this!

Trip Length: We have Alberton Gorge trips ranging from 3-6 hours depending on water flows, so we can get you back to Missoula for your next adventure and fit most folks’ timeframes! You can call us to discus the perfect trip for you.  Check out our town trips if you want something in the 1-2 hour range!

Whitewater Rafting Near Missoula

Missoula Town Floats

Floating through downtown Missoula is one of the best ways to experience it. You get a snapshot of the history, culture, and above all, experience the river that is Missoula’s lifeblood. A bit of scenery, a few splashes, and a different perspective of the town make our Missoula Town Floats a wonderful way to experience the vibrancy of Missoula!

About this time of year the ‘tube hatch’ happens, which affectionately refers to a swarm of tubers leisurely floating down the “town section” of the river. While this can be a blast, it can be congested and slow moving, especially on windy. We offer a town rafting trip to help you enjoy a leisurely and scenic float, but with paddles! Your guide can paddle the raft for you and the trip can be done in 1-2 hours. Sightseeing from the river is the best! You have time to enjoy the beauty and the river.

Scenic Rafting On The Blackfoot River

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it” Norman Maclean famously said in the iconic movie A River Runs Through It. Can you guess what he was talking about!? Norman is referencing the beautiful Blackfoot River and our lovely town of Missoula. This reference says it all…

Rafting the Blackfoot River in Montana offers an exhilarating blend of scenic beauty and thrilling rapids. Renowned for its clear waters and stunning landscapes, the Blackfoot River flows through rugged canyons and dense forests, providing a picturesque backdrop for any rafting adventure.

The river features a mix of Class II and Class III rapids, making it accessible for both beginners and more experienced rafters seeking a moderate challenge. Along the way, rafters can enjoy abundant wildlife sightings, including eagles, deer, and even the occasional moose. The Blackfoot River, with its historical significance and natural charm, promises a memorable and invigorating rafting experience in the heart of Montana.

We offer a couple of different scenic float options. The Blackfoot River is our most popular, and for good reason – it is simply stunningly gorgeous. We have seen everything from bears and elk to deer and eagles. The Blackfoot is rich in stunning scenery, small, fun whitewater, history, and geology. This is a great option for anyone looking to experience Montana’s incredible scenery through one of its beautiful waterways.

The Blackfoot season is shorter and based upon water flow levels. This is typically a leisurely and scenic trip. Please call us or check our booking page for the latest info on if the Blackfoot River is in season and available for trips.

The Lochsa River

Whitewater rafting near Missoula also includes an option in Idaho, which is less than two hours away from us. The Lochsa River is a truly special place. It is very rare to have the combination of big water, towering features, stunning views, and incredible food all in one place. Be prepared for the experience of a lifetime and be prepared to want to come back to visit year after year because the Lochsa will leave you wanting more every time!

This river boasts some of the best Class III and IV rapids, offering an adrenaline-pumping adventure for thrill-seekers. The Lochsa’s clear, free-flowing waters wind through a picturesque landscape of lush forests and rugged mountains, providing stunning scenery along the way. Rafters can expect challenging rapids, sharp drops, and the excitement of navigating through powerful currents. In addition to the thrilling ride, the Lochsa River experience is complemented by delicious homemade BBQ lunches, making it a favorite destination for both adventure and culinary delights. Whether you’re an experienced rafter or looking for a high-adventure introduction to whitewater, the Lochsa River promises an unforgettable journey. Join us in late May for the trip of a lifetime!

Book A Trip: Whitewater Rafting Near Missoula

There you have it, folks! There are so many whitewater rafting trips near Missoula that to enjoy! As you can see there are so many options to enjoy whitewater rafting near Missoula. You can visit this page to book an adventure: https://www.zootownsurfers.com or call us for personalized trip planning assistance. We look forward to rafting with you! Let’s make memories that last a lifetime.