Summer 2013 trip to the Bob Marshall in Montana

I am putting together a packraft trip for this summer into the Bob Marshall and I am looking for one or more partners to share in the adventure. The timeframe will be this June or July, something like five days.

I am focusing on the Bob Marshall Wilderness area given its long rivers and unbroken stretches of wilderness, but I am open to other places. I have done four hiking trips into the Bob in years past. A quick glance at the map suggests that good routes with many options can be found on the Middle and South Forks of the Flathead river. There are three ways into the wilderness – hike, pack horse, or fly.

After reading the posts in the forum on the Bob, I am liking doing the South Fork. I am looking to do a floating trip and am not so thrilled about gonzo hiking as I used to be, especially with a boat on my back. So as lame as it is, I would be open to a horse ride in, or part way in, perhaps just to the top of a pass leading into the South Fork drainage. I once arranged a 15 mile ride into the Bob for $75 per person – but I’ve seen much higher rates. if hiking 20 miles is what we need to do, that works, too.

If you’re interested in a trip like this, to the Bob or somewhere else, please contact me.

Dana (male)

Hey Dana,
If you schedule it over a weekend, I would love to join in. Ive heard you can get flights in for pretty cheap, but I have never done any looking into it. If we can fly or ride part of the way in, Im definitely for it. Look forward to seeing this trip come together, and probably have at least 1 more, maybe 2 that would be interested.

MT, Thanks for your reply. I have not done any further planning for this trip since my post so plans are still wide open, so a weekend trip is possible.

I’ll be coming from Wisconsin so I am thinking of a longer total trip, say 5 days. Depending on final plans and who’s going we may be able to combine a shorter trip that you can come on with a longer trip for me and others.

I’ll keep you posted.

How in the world did you find someone to pack you and your gear in for $75? I tried to find someone last year to pack me and my pack in, and the cheapest I could find was close to $400 a person.

We got the low rate for the horse ride in by joining another party’s trip. We had to go on their route and on their date. The outfitter’s logic as she explained it to me was that she was incurring no additional costs as the horses we rode, if they didn’t go on the trip, would just be left in the corral. She also did not supply us with the lunch given to the other party. The horse ride took us up and over the first mountain range and to outfitter’s camp at the Sun River. We then had to hike another 8 miles or so to our destination.

So we got this rate by asking for such an arrangement and being flexible with our dates, and I suppose also due to the attitude of this particular outfitter. She also offered to give us a ride back out for free when we ran into her a few days later when everyone was ordered to leave the area by the FS due to the forest fires; we opted to hike. The downside of all this was being obligated to help the outfitter out by helping the 4 ft tall, 4 ft. around greenhorn to get into the saddle by pushing on her butt!

Hi Dana, I am interested. I was in the Bob late last summer for a 120 mile hiking/rafting trip and would love to get back there again. A float down the South Fork sounds great - I can get my hiking miles in anytime as I live in NW Montana. I am originally from Minnesota and my wife is from Wisconsin, so we should get along okay :wink: Also, since I live here we could do a shuttle and perhaps not have to get in/out by horseback if we find the right starting point to the south. I’ll look into it.

FredK, Thanks for responding! The route I have been looking at is to go in at Monture Creek TH in the south, up Monture Creek and over Hahn Creek Pass, down Hahn Creek to Youngs Creek. If that is paddle-able, then paddle to the South Fork, otherwise walk. That is something like 28 miles of hiking and 2,600 ft of up. Then paddle 30-50 miles back to the car.

I am not wed to this route, nor have I closely studied it yet, so I am open to alternatives. This seemed to have the least hiking mileage. The dates I have been thinking about are the last week of June or the second week of July. I have some flexibility with getting off work.

Likewise I am originally from MN and my wife is from WI - but! I am total Packers convert! If this trip looks good, send me a private message with your contact info and we can talk.

Hi Dana,

I tried sending a private message, but got the following:

“We are sorry, but you are not authorised to use this feature. You may have just registered here and may need to participate more to be able to use this feature.”

If you contact me at I will reply with my personal email address.

Meanwhile I will contact an administrator to see if they can enable private messaging for me.

On your trip, I think your tentative route looks good. I’ve been thinking about something similar, but like you I haven’t closely studied it yet.

Also, while I’ve had my place in NW MT since 2008, I just moved here permanently last September so I’m learning the area myself.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Hey, I am in Great Falls, and I have a packrafting partner who lives here also. Depending on when you go we would be game to go with. Last summer we hiked over red mountain into the BOB and hitched a ride along the blackfoot. We are also planning a 5 day trip in July and we have a few more rafters flying in for that one. Not sure on what route we will be taking for that one though.

Hi Dana, Can you contact me at Thanks, Fred

Looks like there are two of set for this trip so far. We are looking for a third person to join us.

We are planning on meeting at the trail head on Friday 7/5. We will start at Monture Creek or one of the other trail heads on the South, South West side, go up over a pass into Young’s or Danaher Creek, then paddle or hike to the start of the South Fork depending on water conditions. Then we paddle out. We’ll probably go to Spotted Bear and take out there. This seems like a 5 or 6 day trip to us. If we get out early, we could always do a day run up Spotted Bear Creak and paddle down that.

Looks like we’ve got the car ferry thing worked out too.

Contact me if you’d like join the trip.

Hope the trip went well! How’d it go?

I’ve actually got July 26 - Aug 4 off and I’m thinking of heading in. If anyone’s interested in joining me send me a pm and we can work out a plan!

Hi raised2b, FredK and I went last week. We’ll get a full trip report in later - here’s the skinny report:
we hiked in at Lodgepole TH north of Ovando, went up 1,700 ft, over the pass - not too bad of a climb, then down to Youngs Creek and along that to the confluence of Youngs & Danaher, the start of the South Fork - 25 miles. That was 1½ days.

We then paddled for 3½ days to Spotted Bear - 52 miles, including the five mile ‘portage’ around the gorge. We took out at Mid-Creek Take Out (poor signs , keep your eyes open on the right side), and put back in at Cedar Flats.

The water levels were good, the rapids awesome, fishing good, and the end-of-the-trip beer (Two Oceans IPA) at Desert Mountain Microbrewery in Columbia Falls tasted like the ambrosia of the gods!

The only real log jams came in the first 5 miles on a horseshoe bend. It was a great trip. Enjoy your trip

For our trip report, see