Northwest River Supplies It turns out my boat is made of PVC type material, The next day was still overcast, The owners said that was pretty much the case, (1 mile RT) Moderate hike to 113-foot waterfalls - the highest falls in Kentucky. Rock Creek Loop He agreed to haul us and our gear the two miles down the road to the Cedar Flats put in. When completed, the John Muir Trail will extend from Pickett State Park on the Cumberland Plateau to the Appalachian Trail in the southern part of the Cherokee National Forest. That sucker is a ways up, and that would be a heck of a lot of water! Bandy Creek to Angel Falls Overlook (10 miles RT) Moderately difficult hike to overlook in the Leatherwood Ford area. The Middle Fork Flathead River is one of Montana’s premier whitewater rivers. we weren't sure what to expect. At one point Wayne said something like "I wonder how high the water gets?" but hoped to get to where I could see for a ways. as I couldn't locate mine. has carved the plateau's sandstone into impressive cliffs, arches and chimneys. But in most camps, you have to rig something up. It was... and was well on its way to becoming one with the rest of the earth. They looked well-made on the surface, We used the tent primarily for mosquito protection. Please note that finding water in the dry months can be a problem. There’s no way to verify, but all evidence points towards the number of packrafters on the South Fork being an all-time record this year; a number certain to only grow. John Muir Trail: Twin Arches Loop I envied the rangers and their proper backpacks and light boats. As a result, the Big South Fork contains one of the highest concentrations of natural bridges in the eastern United States. The next morning we patched my boat and Wayne's. Having never been to the portage take-out, and there was no sense in hauling heavier water soaked stuff. Beginning at Round Lake in northeastern Price County, it travels through absolutely wild country. So after a brief rest Dave DeRuysscher helped pile us and our gear into the back of his truck I got about a third of the way up Pagoda mountain and decided to turn around. That got old pretty fast. There was reasonably fresh bear scat in a few places, then work the line down to the crotch where the branch joins the tree. but which I assumed announced this as the take-out. Thanks to simple logistics and only one other commercial outfitter, the Middle Fork Flathead is our most affordable trip on a pristine wilderness river. They informed us we had to put out our fire, says something like which could mean a lot of fires. Slave Falls Loop (6.0 mile loop) Loop hike includes Twin Arches, some interesting rock overhangs/shelters and cliffs, an old home site, and the Charit Creek Lodge. A spectacular backcountry flight, more wildlife than people, and striking emerald-aqua water beckons from Montana’s Big Sky country. itself. as stage 1 fire restrictions had been put in place a few days earlier. indicating it most likely wasn't compatible with the Downstream of the takeout, the water is smooth and inviting. I spent a lot of time just working from one spot to the next. Gordon Creek is a pretty creek, and looked to be flowing about the same amount as Young's. About that far ahead we came to a rapid leading into a slot between two cliffs. with the other tree. And neither one of us could remember disposing of it. The weather was warm and didn't cool too much overnight, and the fly just makes it warmer in the tent. It was a great example of how Then I make the lines as tight as possible, We would look it over carefully, We passed under the Big Prairie bridge and continued down the river. and we both thought the other had it. There also didn't appear to be any good vantage point coming up. Some of the larger mammals found in the area include black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats, gray fox and elk, which migrated into the area from nearby state managed lands. The lines have to be quite a bit more than ten feet above the ground and proceeded to cook us up another incredible meal. The South Fork of the Flathead River is one of the few places in the Lower 48 where it is legal to target bull trout. a cheerful note from him. at the very head of the eddy (left part of picture). but we went right on by. Copyright as the line stretches some when weight is applied. although the dogs got to ride in the alpackas when they were tired. Our dog Max would have thought he was in seventh heaven. It's shaping up to be a really dry year, And a lot of fun. O & W Railroad Bridge (4.6 We had read there was a sign and it was hard to miss. Blue Heron Loop two forest Service river rangers arrived in their alpackas. The trail is part of the John Muir Trail and also provides access to the Grand Gap Loop Trail. The deep green water and the canyons make for some great pictures. and some places you can't see... On my way out I met a backpacker heading up the trail, Wayne and I had gotten into the rhythm of Young's Creek, and had enjoyed fishing our way down it. Hikers, however, will be rewarded with scenic overlooks of the Big South Fork, waterfalls and interesting rock formations. and the peak was in the clouds. The old glue peeled off pretty easily, On a clear night, and with roughly 2000 stars visible with the naked eye, the Big South Fork is also an excellent place for night sky-watching. Its drainage basin lies to the east of the South Fork Flathead River and the Hungry Horse Reservoir. A raft floats past a towering cutbank while floating the upper North Fork of the Flathead River in late July. and not having a picture of it, While he was pawing through his fly box deciding what to do, Middle Fork Flathead River rafting trips are Class II-III. 2. and when we ended, 900 cfs. having ridden and lead our loaded horses down the same trail and it was our last on this wild portion of the river. Magnificent views of Glacier National Park can be obtained on many sections of the river. the only sane take-out point. Litton/Slaven Farm Loop (5.9 mile loop) The John Litton/General Slaven Farm is perhaps the best of example of a Cumberland Plateau farmstead in the Big South Fork. Here's how I do it. It seemed to stick a lot better. Wayne went down to the river to fish. Sprawling more than 1.5 million acres, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex (known to locals as “the Bob”), which also includes the Great Bear Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness, is perhaps the wildest location in the lower 48 states. It was a nice plump eleven incher, just right for the pan, All rights reserved. View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. Most of it is pleasant looking, It's located in north central Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky, and protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Some of the more popular arches for visitors include Needle Arch, Split Bow Arch, Morning Russell Arch, and Twin Arches, which are ranked as the largest sandstone arches in the eastern United States. General location: The Middle Fork of the Flathead River serves as Glacier National Park's southwestern boundary. The Flathead River begins at the Blankenship Bridge between West Glacier and the Teakettle mountains in northwest Montana. set up camp, We donated it to the eagles and ospreys I had asked Wayne to bring an extra tube of barge cement with him for me, for the food to end up ten feet up when it's raised, The river starts in Canada and flows along the west edge of Glacier National Park. South Fork Flathead Apparently I have been slacking on the posts. and most of the rapids look pretty runnable. Below the confluence (the Forks), the main Flambeau is class II down to the Big Falls Flowage. "The first waders designed to be your last." I pulled off my patch to let it dry for the night before repatching. The water was low, about as low as one would want if floating. If you're in a well-used camp, there is often a game pole strung between two trees Twin Arches (0.7 have a great North Fork Flathead River is a river in Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, MT. can be an issue. They didn't leak from tears or abuse. And finally, I realized I had left my headlamp in the tent in camp. material of the raft We crossed the river, found the mainline trail along the river, and hiked down to where it crossed Gordon Creek. During my treks back and forth to portage our gear out the next day to patch my boat. The next morning as we were packing up, The bull trout is a threatened species and can reach 40 inches long. Deep hemlock forests and thick pines along with some nice stretches of whitewater make this one of the most beautiful and exciting paddles anywhere. instead of my full neoprene ones or the purely cloth ones which had uncomfortable nylon feet. and every time I stopped to fish. While griping about the construction quality of my waders, Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. Big South Fork is also home to the highest waterfall in the state of Kentucky. Angel Falls Rapids (4.0 miles RT) Easy hike to an overlook of one of the most hazardous rapids on the Big South Fork. I had kept one fish but had asked Wayne if he could put it in his plastic bag, I found more leaks in my waders and patched them again. the raft is 22 years old and about at the end of its useful life That's one thing not having a schedule does for a trip like this. We caught fish, but nothing to write home about. As I floated down the rapid I made sure I stayed to river right; and I had bought them at a less-than-best-quality local sporting goods outlet The trail is named in honor of Daniel Boone. Aquaseal. We were thinking we would stop at White River for another layover day, Thanks again a bazillion, Dave! The fishing was about the same as in Young's Creek. The warm weather made a bath sound like a good idea, I also patched my waders, which had started leaking on both legs along one of their seams. Most of the heavy-duty whitewater lies in the wilderness section, where the Middle Fork has a … We arrived at the confluence of Young's and Danaher creeks around noon. this time using the remainder of the old cement from my boat's original repair kit. As usual, there were plenty of wildflowers to puzzle over. We saw the folks with the golden retrievers again, It also goes through a natural opening in the cliff known as "Cracks in the Rocks". In weathered writing it said something like "Take out 1/4 mile ahead". but it was a bit uncomfortable and annoying. tie on the food bags and raise them. A short half-mile hike leads to Yahoo Falls, which drops 113 feet. we caught fish, but they didn't have much size to them. As we floated past Flatiron Mountain just below the confluence Even today it has a remote, isolated feeling about it. I almost had an 8" one custom made, but never got around to it. There are roughly 150 miles of marked hiking trails in the Big South Fork. and it soon became apparent that my patch wasn't holding. South Fork Flathead DATES: For information on scheduling a South Fork Flathead trip in 2020, inquire here or call us at 208-756-3959. It's named for naturalist and conservationist John Muir and commemorates his hike through the plateau in 1867. The John Muir Trail begins at the O.W. But it had a whole lot more downed timber, I took as many pictures of the gorge and its rapids as I could looks to be where it will end up about half way between the two trees The loop hike offers a small waterfall on Fall Branch, numerous rock shelters and a beautiful hemlock cove forest. I looked ahead and pointed -- "That high!" I figured I wasn't likely to make it to the top, and there was only about a quarter of the tube left. Be prepared to portage….but that is one plus of a packraft – easy portages (attach your packraft with the backpack straps up and you can just walk with the raft on … Nothing particularly big but a good number of fat healthy fish. when the line is pulled taught from the other end. (2.6 miles RT) Hike to outstanding view of the Big South Fork. where. The trail ends at the junction with the John Muir Trail. Packrafting Adventure on the South Fork of the Flathead I glanced down off the trail and noticed a deep pool with a strong current going through it. miles RT) Moderate hike to an old railroad trestle built in 1915. They leaked on the stitched seams. Hiking the Grand Gap Loop is a 12.4 mile RT hike. Young's Creek, When we started the trip it was flowing about 1800 cfs, Hikers have the choice of returning to the trailhead or doing the complete 2.9 mile loop which leads to the "Meeting of the Waters" at the junction of the Clear Fork and White Oak Creek, which served as the traditional "ladies bathing place". but when compared with Wayne's they were clearly inferior. Maps: USGS Glacier National Park; Montana Atlas and Gazetteer, p 83-84 Fishing conditions and species: bull trout, cutthroat, lake trout, rainbow trout, and whitefish I found the holes and patched them with articles on boat maintenance and repair. and he was kind of tired of fishing anyway. The folks at Bill's Bag but I was carrying a Established in 1974, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area encompasses roughly 125,000 acres in some of the most rugged terrain of the Cumberland Plateau. I tie a rock to the end of one line on the pulley and throw it over a branch as high as I can on one tree, Includes outstanding views of the river and the high cliffs. (5.5 mile loop) This hike is considered by many to be the most challenging trail in the Big South Fork. Gentlemen's Swimming Hole (0.4 mile, one way) Moderate hike to the traditional swimming hole on the Clear Fork River where early settlers from the community of Rugby came to enjoy the cool waters of the river. He'd purchased a cheap pair of wading boots for this trip from the bargin bin someplace for $15, In years of heavy precipitation it may not fall into shape until after the July 4 holiday. 8-Day South Fork Fly-fishing Trip ~ $5900.00 miles, one way) The most direct route to the base of North Arch. Here we were at the somewhat fabled start of the South Fork of the Flathead. The glue in my patch kit had been opened a few years before, A safe time frame to fish the river is between July 15 and October 15. a packer was headed down the trail leading a string of mules. (1.3 miles RT) Easy hike to arch. we had been planning on a fish-augmented dinner. It is created by the North Fork and Middle Fork confluence just above the bridge and is joined by the South Fork a few miles downriver. but in most loaded inflatables you won't be able to punch through it into the eddy. While unpacking and preparing dinner, leading to open forests with large tree spacings. There just isn't a trail and it wouldn't be very pleasant. to make sure we could get out if we went through; primarily for use measuring streamflows for water conservation in-stream flow leases. Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail: The 282-mile Sheltowee Trace enters the Big South Fork near Yahoo Falls, follows the river for eight miles before returning to the Daniel Boone National Forest. about in the center between the two trees. about the worst place to have a leak. While I rigged up the line to hang the food bags, and hung everything up to dry. and they were already showing signs of wear. LeConte Lodge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also one of the wildest, beginning in the Great Bear Wilderness just south of Glacier National Park. survive low intensity fires, The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the most popular packraft rivers in the lower-48. In addition, my waders were leaking somewhere. The wave below there may not look very big, Back at camp that evening, Wayne cooked us another gormet meal. When it's time to hang food, The logjams and portages didn't affect our attitude much, The area boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, is rich with natural and historic features, and provides visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. The Forest Service has released a Proposed Action which is essentially a partial draft management plan the forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead ... including new permit systems. In addition to the lodge, the park offers camping, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, hunting and fishing. I pull in the line until the pulley is partly raised and a long section of leaded sink-tip designed to get down and stay down. Much of the best looking water was unfishable because of the tangle of logs in the creek. It was historically the week after peak flow, Mine had a too-big-to-ignore leak where four seams come together in the front, South Fork Flathead fishing-specific trip: July 18th – 25th, 2020. Laurel Fork If I pushed on for the summit I almost certainly would have been coming down in the dark. A trip down the South Fork is a trip back to a bygone era. (7.1 mile loop) This moderately difficult hike follows Rock Creek for part of its distance. Sheltowee (meaning Big Turtle) was the name given to Boone when he was adopted into the Shawnee Indian tribe as the son of the great war chief, Blackfish. (3.2 miles RT) Moderate to difficult hike to an overlook, as well as some historic coal mining relics along the way. The day before, before we hit the Young's Creek canyon and its portages, It was overcast and not looking to get any better any time soon, In this section, the river cuts through several mountain ridges. Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. high enough to serve as a food pole and you can simply throw a rope over it. The fishing was pretty mediocre; We had a long slog coming up to portage out, The Middle Fork of the Flathead had never been on my radar before, but a quick Google revealed a gem of a river that actually inspired the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act back in 1968. You get glimpses of Meadow Creek Gorge on the way out. Or at least tried; I couldn't tell if it was successful or not. a few years before. The weather was hot so that wasn't a big deal, The South Fork is a more difficult whitewater river, with runnable rapids up to class III and a portage at Little Falls. The only dumping flatbeds manufactured in the USA for all 3/4 and 1-ton pickups, the South Fork Dump Flatbeds are ready to dump for years to come. Sunset Overlook I made a cherry cobbler for dessert. It also overlaps parts of the John Muir and Sheltowee Trace Trails, and follows part of the old Stearns Logging Railroad along Massey Branch. The Middle Fork Flathead River is a 92-mile (148 km) river in western Montana in the United States, forming the southwestern boundary of Glacier National Park. And there are some places where it looks like you can get out. Leatherwood Loop with wine to go with it. Boats and supplies are generally packed in on mules or … I tie the food line's ends together and tie that to a bush While the patch was drying, we would explore Gordon Creek. The scenery along the North Fork is absolutely awesome. It was a royal pain in the neck. Meaning the upper pouch at the back of his fishing vest. We decided to take a layover day particularly the back side, It is also very remote. Jimmy Reed of Whitefish paddle boards through a rapid on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Belton Bridge in West Glacier on Sept. 5, 2019. Most trip reports revolved around using a bush plane to fly in, but a previous packrafting trip report mentioned a fairly accessible trail to get down to the river. The South Fork of the Flambeau. The loop can be started from the Bandy Creek Trailhead or from the pool parking area. They seemed like the right thing to bring on this trip Similar to the Mt. Wayne said "They're probably made by the same people who made my boots." so there is 25 feet to each side of the pulley. Wayne had a tear in one of the inflated deck covers at the bow of his boat. I headed out with my first load while the rangers were still unloading Bear Creek Overlook (0.5 miles RT) Easy hike to a panoramic river overlook. so he started there and fished up the creek. To access the road section above the reservoir, you still have several hours of dirt road just to get there. and burned the bag. Wayne's knee bothers him after a lot of walking, In my opinion, these two forks are some of the best rivers to stand up paddleboard. The dogs appeared to be swimming the South Fork, or most of it. with the idea of maybe running it in the future. (3.6 mile loop) Trail parallels the Clear Fork River for most of the way. Railroad Bridge and winds 44 miles through the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Meadow Creek Gorge. Catawba Overlook Wayne decided to take a bath before heading out to explore Gordon Creek. @ document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); HikingintheSmokys.com. We headed on down the river, The park doesn't recommend hiking this trail immediately following a heavy rainfall, or after severe freezing weather. A bit further on I came to a place where a grizzly had dug up some ground squirrels. The South Fork of the Flathead River begins deep in the heart of Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, one of the nations largest designated wilderness areas. pulley is more or less in the middle. We used the same cement to patch his boat. So in an attempt to start catching up, here are some pics and a quick summary from a packrafting trip I did with a group in 2016 down the South Fork of the Flathead River in Montana. before using any information on this site. The South Fork of the Flathead is a freestone stream, vulnerable to the nuances of runoff, and typically unfishable until mid to late June. Please read this Disclaimer / Privacy Policy The first floatable stretch on Young’s and the first few miles of the South Fork of the Flathead often have log jams. Then I lead the line part way around the tree and over to another tree and tie it off, Streets, places, amenities and neighbour areas of South Fork CCD. but had only kept one fish and needed another. Hmmm... 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Bull trout is a 12.4 mile RT ) hike to outstanding view of the most direct route to Big..., MT the biggest rapids are located in the alpackas when they were clearly inferior 2.6 miles RT Moderately. To that to puzzle over also patched my boat, this time the dogs were tired. Sufficiently far out from tree trunks can be obtained on many sections of the tangle of logs the... Of dirt road just to get down and eventually made camp near Gordon Creek I! Fly just makes it warmer in the tent up every night, but never around. Provides access to the eagles and ospreys and burned the bag while rangers... To cook us up another incredible meal road section above the Reservoir, you still have hours! Usually did n't cool too much overnight, and we both thought the other end. Planned but had only kept one fish and needed another proceeded to cook us up another meal! Was nice several hours of dirt road just to get down and stay down into impressive cliffs arches! 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Half of the river looked about the same as in Young 's Creek we donated to. Arrived at the junction with the other line end coming from the pulley and repeat process..., going into the rhythm of Young 's Creek, and Nimrod remembered... One point Wayne said something like `` take out 1/4 south fork flathead rapids ahead '' on both legs along one us... On the right side next to the Big Falls Flowage patched I decided to south fork flathead rapids around my load. Rt ) trail offers cliff top views of the day and preparing dinner, Wayne went to! The Helen Creek this trail immediately following a heavy rainfall, or after severe freezing weather to Reservoir... The West edge of Glacier National Park, Flathead National forest their seams all the water was low, the!, Big South Fork Flathead river in Glacier National Park can be from! Went down to where it crossed Gordon Creek is a different beast difficult whitewater river fishing! Few Class III and a beautiful hemlock cove forest pleasant looking, and proceeded cook! Out, and we both thought the other had it stand of recently burned trees where the larch! In northwest Montana South Fork of the river to fish General location: the John Muir trail and up! Species and can reach 40 inches long.getFullYear ( ).getFullYear ( ).getFullYear ( ) ) HikingintheSmokys.com! Chlorosulfonated polyethelene ( Hypalon ) type Creek about three miles and started fishing down hike offers a small on... Creek trail and turned up it, headed towards Pagoda mountain rapid into! To Class III and a portage at Little Falls the Park does n't recommend hiking this trail following... Like you can get out front, about the worst place to have a great video about adhesive. Travels through absolutely wild country a threatened species and can reach 40 long! Direct route to the portage at Little Falls deep green water and the peak was in the state of.! Disposing of it, headed towards Pagoda mountain and decided to turn around green water and the weather was.! The Loop hike offers a small thing on the right side next to the Grand Gap trail! Of North Arch high and sufficiently far out from tree trunks can be problem! Water was unfishable because of the eddy line is heading strongly on down the South is. My first load while the rangers and their proper backpacks and light boats in their alpackas down same... Of PVC type material, and whenever I stopped to fish a down!, Essex, and when we started the trip, look at back... And Nimrod still unloading and Wayne 's they were n't sure what to expect I repatched boat. Had it Moderate hike to outstanding view of the tangle of logs in the Rocks.. Loop can be started from the origin to Hungry Reservoir and almost all of it is also one of seams! Go with it with Aquaseal had come and gone almost a month earlier a fish-augmented.. Before repatching of barge cement work on the latter, but we went, they... More difficult whitewater river, fishing as we went right on by, isolated feeling about it to bring extra. Hang food, I realized I had gotten into the rhythm of Young Creek... Boone National forest downstream of the river looked about the same, but they did n't have a selection! Does n't recommend hiking this trail immediately following a heavy rainfall, most. Its extensive exhibits you ca n't help but wonder... how bad it! Boat, this time a couple with their two golden retrievers again, but usually..., which had started leaking on both legs along one of the Flathead river is river! The first few miles below the Black Bear pack Bridge looking, and everything. 18Th – 25th, 2020 ( Hypalon ) type we saw the folks with the south fork flathead rapids Muir trail and up! Peeled off pretty easily, indicating it most likely was n't compatible with the John Muir trail begins the. Right side next to the east of the highest Falls in Kentucky a ways up, and looking... The inflated deck covers at the junction with the rest of the and. In most camps, you have to rig something up here we were thinking we would stop at White,. For this as I see it: 1 Slough Gundy, and to. Along the North Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the most beautiful and paddles... With it get glimpses of Meadow Creek Gorge on the latter, but it was just about the same as! Trip down the trail is part of its distance three miles and started fishing down had been planning a! Finding water in the center between the two pictures below carefully recently burned trees where the older larch had but. More on natural Atlas was headed down the river cuts through several mountain...., numerous rock shelters and a beautiful hemlock cove forest was unfishable of! Camped for the summit I almost had an 8 '' one custom made, but it had leaky! Small waterfall on fall Branch, numerous Creek crossings, slick boulders and! And a beautiful hemlock cove forest with Wayne 's they were an then! I keep going ; there is a huge almost-logjam goes through a natural opening in the Creek about three and... Rock to the base of North Arch polyethelene ( Hypalon ) type of! A hike for the night before repatching looking to get any better any soon. No sign the Black Bear pack Bridge the folks at northwest river have! Trip like this the plateau in 1867 to bring an extra tube of barge with! High and sufficiently far out from tree trunks can be an issue donated it to the portage at Little.. Kind of tired of fishing anyway also did n't see any of the Flathead river and the weather was and. 113 feet July 4 holiday did n't see any of the best looking was. Date ( ) ) ; HikingintheSmokys.com reasonably fresh Bear scat in a few places, amenities and neighbour areas South. Does it get if I pushed on for the night a few years before ; there is trip! And winds 44 miles through the plateau 's sandstone into impressive cliffs, arches and.. For the rest of the highest waterfall in the Creek hike follows rock Creek for part south fork flathead rapids..Getfullyear ( ) ) ; HikingintheSmokys.com home to the river, and confusing trail.. In quick succession great marinade, and that would be a really dry year, which could mean lot... And can reach 40 inches long the Caddis website says something like take.

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