North or Middle Fork of the Flathead River are good options for intermediate stand up paddle board skill levels. These waters are clear and cold, with peak water season in early June, and low water by mid-August. There are tons of put-ins and take-outs along this meandering river, which stretches from the Canadian border north of Polebridge all the way to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Grab a guide or go online and pick your float! Pack a lunch, bring friends and family and hit the water. Plan for a shuttle vehicle.
Typical Class of WaterMiddle Fork (West Glacier to Blankenship) I-II North Fork I-II
There are several good maps for the local waterways, available at local fly and rafting shops. One of our go-tos is the Flathead National Forest Three Forks of the Flathead Wild & Scenic River Float Guide from the USDA Forest Service. Their intro says "the raw power and quiet beauty of the Flathead River system humbles visitors with the grandeur of the surrounding mountains, pure water, and abundant wildlife and fish..." we couldn't agree more. We suggest picking up a copy of one of these excellent Guides for yourself (which includes tips on Leave No Trace practices, how to store food in bear country, regulations & distance, time and class designations for each waterway) and start planning YOUR adventure!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO- Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species
Glacier National Park
Some motorized use – non-motorized use permitted with inspection as per GNP requirements
Glacier National Park: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/boating.htm
Lake McDonald- Adjacent to Apgar Public Boat Ramp Inspection Station Hours (June 1 – Sept. 30)
7:00 AM –4:30 PM
*Boaters traveling to the North Fork Region will need to visit the Lake McDonald inspection station beforehand for launch permit.
Flathead Basin Commission at Kalispell Inspection Station *Check website for seasonal hours
Jesco on Hwy 93 south
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Friday
6:00 AM – 9:00 PM Saturday & Sunday
Flathead Basin Commission: flatheadbasincommission.org
Kalispell Region 1 FWP Office (Meridian Ave) Inspection Station *Check website for seasonal hours
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday - Friday
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/habitat/ais/watercraftInspection.html