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This is a very lightly used stretch of river. It flows through cottonwood bottoms through an agricultural valley with working cattle ranches. The float is away from the roads and there is little sign of human activity during the float so it has the feeling of remoteness. It is very unlikely that you would see anyone else on this trip. Wildlife is abundant. During my last float I floated right by a pair of sandhill cranes, passed a heron rookery, and saw numerous raptors including three immature great horned owls. Deer are abundant in the area also. Gamefish include rainbow and brown trout and mountain whitefish.
This is all through private land but there are lots of gravel bars below the high water mark suitable for a rest stop or lunch break.
You will have to set up your own shuttle for the trip. From the Elkhorn Bridge to the Lower Valley road bridge is about 7-1/2 miles. It took me 35 to 40 minutes to do the shuttle with a mountain bike. The stream winds enough that this gives a four hour float with a kayak.
There are a few hazards on the stream. There are 2 diversion dams in this stretch which need to be portaged (you can drag your watercraft over them), 2 places where barbed wire cattle fences cross the stream (the first of these has a cutout for floaters on river left), and some tight bends with sweepers which are easily avoided, but which occasionally cross the deepwater channel and require dragging on the inside bend. This is why I have given this a moderate rating. If the stream flow is less than 200 cfs you probably will be dragging bottom a lot, also. This is a small stream suitable for a kayak or small canoe.
Overall this is a beautiful float on a stream close to Helena and Butte, which has an easy shuttle for a delightful afternoon float.
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers