- Floaters and whitewater rafters love the ease and extreme of the Madison River running through Beartrap Canyon in Southwest Montana.
- Anglers can try their luck casting for rainbow and brown trout with nymphs, streamers, and grasshoppers.
- Watch for mule deer, bears, and eagles while hiking.
Whitewater rafters love the Madison River running through Beartrap Canyon in Southwest Montana. But there are other outdoor activities to entertain non-rafters and other outdoor enthusiasts through the Canyon’s 2,000-foot high granite cliffs.
From Ennis, Montana, go northeast on Highway 287 to McAllister and connect with a gravel road, continuing on it to the south access. To reach the north access, take Highway 287 east of Norris 8 miles and then continue 3 miles south of the Red Mountain Campground on the gravel Beartrap Road. Beartrap Canyon is about 35 miles from Bozeman, Montana.
Beartrap Canyon is open year-round and visitors should plan for unpredictable mountain conditions, wildlife, and weather.
Begin at the lower end of the canyon on the trailhead off of Highway 84. The trail starts out easy but gets more strenuous as it rises above the Madison River. Watch for mule deer, bears, and eagles as you hike. Bring plenty of water, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, and keep your dogs on a leash for their own protection as well as others. Remember overnight backpack camping is allowed for up to three consecutive days.
At the south end of the canyon (below Ennis Lake Dam), floaters can paddle nine-miles. Be sure to check the posted, current flow of the river before floating, sign in at the registration box (private floaters don’t need permits), and do not use watercraft shorter than 14 feet. For those more skilled or floating with experienced local guides, the float transforms into whitewater rafting, taking the courageous through the teeth-clenching, and very dangerous 'Kitchen Sink' Class IV rapid.
Anglers can try their luck casting for world-class rainbow and brown trout with nymphs, streamers, and grasshoppers.