- The Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone River provide excellent opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
- Yellowstone Lake is an ideal destination for well-equipped, experienced big-water canoes and kayaks.
- Rental equipment is available at Bozeman area rafting companies and sports shops.
- Experienced guides provide you with assurance of a safe, interesting, and adventurous trip.
Pristine sandy beaches and stunning scenery are just two of the things that make canoeing or kayaking the rivers of Montana so desirable. There are small rapids and few larger ones – each offering fun, thrills and a challenge for all age groups and all experience levels. While canoeing or kayaking, you become one with your surroundings. The quiet, calm and solitude of a day or more spent canoeing or kayaking the water ways allows the individual to recoup from the stresses of daily living and to recharge.
Where to go Canoeing and/or Kayaking
Gallatin River, Madison River, and Yellowstone River - all three major rivers are within easy driving distance from Bozeman.
The Yellowstone River has several stretches of calm water, but you can encounter areas of Class II Rapids. Anyone who wishes to canoe or kayak the Yellowstone River should be comfortable in the water and have good swimming skills.
The Madison River is more remote and scenic. Here you will enjoy amazing scenery, peaceful floating and some great rapids. It is easy to walk around any Class IV Rapids. Many sections of the Madison are appropriate for all canoes and kayakers.
The Gallatin offers you the chance to take in incredible scenery and paddle through some fun, challenging and continuous whitewater.
Yellowstone Lake – Yellowstone National Park
If you are looking for a major paddling adventure close to Bozeman, then you should consider Yellowstone Lake. It is the largest lake above 7,000 feet on the continent, home to grizzly bears, cutthroat trout, breeding white pelicans, river otters, and water rats of the two-legged kind.
This lake makes an ideal destination for well-equipped, experienced big-water boaters. Suitable for canoes or sea kayaks, Yellowstone Lake offers over 100 miles of shoreline, fantastic camping and fishing, and an incredible array of wildlife.
A permit is required for all boats and can be obtained in person at most ranger stations for $10 (annual) or $5 (seven-day) for non-motorized vessels. A Coast-Guard-approved, wearable PFD is required for each person.
Rentals & Fees
Rental equipment is available at Bozeman area rafting companies and sports shops. Canoe rental rates range from roughly $35/day to $120/week. Kayak rental rates range from $20/day to $100/week. Plus, some offer the new Paddle Boards for rivers like the lower Madison.
Hire a Guide
Experienced guides provide you with assurance of a safe, interesting, and adventurous trip that will be memorable for you and your entire group. Guides specialize in each waterway’s history, geology, and ecology. Often times you can arrange to take a guided tour that includes horseback riding and or hiking to spectacular and interesting off-river locations.