Youngs Creek (gorge) and Flathead SF (now)


New post, longtime reader of great posts on here.

We’re headed to the Bob/Youngs creek in a few weeks… last year we went at the end of July (1000CFS). This year the gauge currently stands at 7k CFS. Any suggestions as to how much this will increase the difficulty? Should we stay away from the Youngs Creek gorge (last year we put in before it and had a blast)? Will the rapid classes go up from last year–with more water? What other hazards should we watch out for at 7k CFS vs 1000k CFS on the South Fork Flathead? Should we bring helmets?



Hey Cedarleaf,

We are heading out there ourselves in a few weeks (hiking in July 19th and 20th).
Don’t have any experience with that river to answer your questions but here is how I see it:

  • It appears that the flow has been coming down ~500 cfs per day (Twin Cr. gauge…way downstream by Spotted Bear) and as of today (June 29th) is only ~380 cfs above average for this time of year.
  • The average for July 20th (date I expect to reach where-ever we may launch) is 1920 cfs.
    -Of course, this can change based on weather, but my guess is that the flow will be about average (1920 cfs Twin Cr. gauge) by July 20th.
    What that means in terms of difficulty for the Young’s Creek Gorge or for the rest of the river for that matter, I really don’t know…but that’s where packrafts shine isn’t it.

As to helmets, probably never a bad idea but I am curious as to what others may say.
If you don’t have thigh straps (I don’t in my packrafts), you will probably fall out before your boat has even finished tipping over.

Say “Hi” if you see us. There will be three adults and one 15 YO girl in our group.


Hey Steve!

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately, we’ll be in sooner than you. July 7-15th. When I get out I’ll post how it went, conditions, etc. Hope you have a great trip.



Cool, have a great time.

FYI, I just got off the phone with the ranger at Spotted Bear and he suggested going in over Pyramid Pass to avoid heavy blow-down on the North side of Young’s Pass. Looks to me like it would add about 3.5 miles to the hike in.


We are heading in in 2 days ,July 3rd-8th Over Youngs but we are not planning on running Youngs creek much if any ( wife is new to packrafting ).
Current Flows are around 4600 and I anticipate 4000-4500 for most of our trip at Twin Creek gauge. I’d love to run Youngs from Hahn but I don’t think she will like it much so planning on Hiking to the confluences to put in on Wednsday the 4th. I won’t get out in time to post a report for you Cedarleaf but i’ll post up when I get back about what we do float.

Have a great time grimm!


I got a confirmation on the blow-down on Young’s pass today. There is an ~3/4 mile stretch of trail on the N. side of the pass with a thick tangle of of green fir blow-down. It is scheduled for clearing starting on July 20th. The ranger at Spotted Bear strongly suggested going in over Pyramid Pass. If you (or anyone else for that matter) goes in over Young’s pass, I sure would love to hear what you find.

Have fun and leave some water for us.

Thanks Boatbender,

We also spoke to the Ranger today and we’ve switched to Pyramid as an entry point.

Anyone have any ideas how busy Pyramid Lake will be on weekends? we’re not putting in until 6pm and we’re thinking we might camp at the lake, but not if its packed with people.

I look forward to hearing how it went.

For those doing this, or other, trails in the Bob Marshall Wilderness this map shows current??? conditions:


I’ll provide a post and video after we exit.

What I’m most interested in right now is, what Young’s Creek Canyon will be like… is it passable-- will scout and hope to run it!

We just got out. I’ll post some more details in a bit.

Young’s pass was not an issue. The blow down was huge trees and roots just past the old trapped cabin on the north side. Easyish high side route that took about 20 minutes to navigate and about 150yrds and that was it. Otherwise smooth sailing
I heard from a group that went in Pyramid theat it was miles of of blowdown that had not been cleared as of the 4th when they went through. I’d rather deal with youngs.
Both areas were burnt to shreds and nothing but charcoal till Hahn and even then was still burnt to the confluence.

Young’s canyon looked beyond my comfort zone from what I could see from the trail. I did not see any obvious trees across it but it looked technical. We were glad we did not try it but we are novice packrafters

Once on the s fork there was one log jam within the first 2-3 miles that require portage.
The burnt park sweeper is gone.
Miles 8-11 had the first set of rapids which posed no real danger just bigger than we expected.
Big Salmon area same thing.
Black bear bridge rapid was again bigger than we expected at these flows but not really hard just suprisingly big.
I dumped at last rapid before mid creek takeout about 3/4 above it. It was really a surprisingly big I would say class III rapid. Dumped into a Deep pool with little consequence.


Thanks for the great information.
I sure hope Cedarleaf gets a chance to read it before he goes in.

Where did you put-in at and could you have put-in above the gorge (i.e.; was there enough water) if you had wanted to?


We put in about 1/2 mike above confluence on Young’s where the trail meets back up with the river.
Yes I think you could have put in above the gorge at Hahn for sure and probably Cabin creek. It was a little boney but there was an obvious channel that was deeper (respectively)as far as I could see.

Every crossing of Young’s was knee deep or more at least at some point.


Just got back.

Youngs Creek Canyon was a perfect water level, ran the whole thing and had a fantastic day–no dragging and nothing too technical…just big water, lots of rollers. No log jams, nothing too dangerous, just point the boat straight, paddle hard and have fun. – have some great videos of the canyon…will post later.

We came in over Pyramid Pass. Tough hike to Youngs/Babcock confluence–due to total scorched earth from last Fall’s fire. One great thing is, literally TONS of morels along the hike (some fist-sized!!). No shade and that made it brutal, the hike. We argued if we should have put in a Jenny/Youngs confluence and probably could have with just a few take-outs around log jams and rapids… just floating for 3-4 miles would have given us a breather to finish the hike around the Youngs Creek waterfall…alas, we still made it an had a great time floating from Babcock down to Middle Creek. One pro-tip, stay up on Youngs creek until Tuesday so most of the other weekend groups pass ahead of you, then you’ll spend most days on the river seeing no one–if that’s your thing.

Great trip. fast water. great fishing. wish we would have gotten to run the white river too. not this year… next time.

Also, can confirm, Tommy from “Four Rivers Shuttle” was great and did exactly what he said he would on time and with no hassles. – great shuttle service! – Thanks