FLOATING THE BLACKFOOT RIVER WITH KIDS

FLOATING THE BLACKFOOT RIVER WITH KIDS

This past summer, we found ourselves floating the Blackfoot River more than previous summers. There are so many things I love about the Blackfoot River. I consider the upper stretches to be the “bread and butter” of this river. I think Russell Gates down is the most remote and scenic section of the river, but myself and our staff really fell in love with the less popular roadside section of the lower Blackfoot.

I have always valued time but I never quite understood how valuable it was until I hada toddler. With the town section of the Clark Fork River being so popular, we decided our go-to float late summer was from Angevine Fishing Access Site (FAS) to Weigh Station FAS. The float is less than five miles long, is close to Missoula, the shuttle is easy, and it has some fun, splashy, technical water at low water flows. Our guests loved it too!

Some tips and things you want to consider when floating this section with kids:

  1. Angevine does not have a boat ramp. You have to carry/drag the boat a short distance to get down to the river. Weigh Station take out has a boat ramp and is an easy take out.
  2. When floating with kids, especially under 5, you want a short trip and short day. It’s hard to keep kids entertained for too long and they have a short attention span.
  3. Take lots of breaks! My son has more fun playing around the river, in sand and dirt than he does in the raft. This section has some great beaches you can stop at along the way.
  4. Be prepared for cold and hot weather. The weather can change quickly here in western Montana. Bring sun protection, warm synthetic clothing, and plenty of sunscreen.
  5. Be super cautious near the water and on the raft with kids. Always wear a PFD that fits correctly.
  6. Bring plenty of snacks, water and a few beers for the adults.
  7. Time the float to go before or after your kid’s routine nap time (or your nap time for that matter).