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Upper Missouri River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Lewistown, MT
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: Sid Napier - Starwest Adventures


The Upper Missouri River, Wild & Scenic Section, winds its way through Montana. It begins at Fort Benton and ends at the James Kipp State Park, some 150 miles in length. This section is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior.

One can relive the footsteps of Lewis & Clark, as they worked their way through the beautiful countryside. This is a Class 1 river, easy paddling, but full of beautiful tranquil scenery. The Wild & Scenic is broke down into three major sections. The first 40 miles is wide open valley land, the middle section, is the beautiful White Cliffs area described so vividly in Lewis & Clarks journals, and the third section is the Badlands area, of the Missouri Breaks. This last section contains much wildlife, including mountain sheep and elk.

There are interesting side hikes and other historical sites to explore as well. Camping is very primitive, and once you leave Fort Benton, you will be floating through isolated land. You should plan ahead and have your gear lined out.

This river is becoming one of the hottest areas to visit. The visit is well worth it.


Once you are on the river, primitive camping facilities. No camping on private land, but there are plenty of state and federal sites to camp.


You can contact Starwest Adventures, P.O. Box 227, Lewistown, Mt. 59457 or call the BLM.


No fees or permits, but you must sign in at the Put-in points.


You can fly into Great Falls or Billings Montana. Fort Benton lies 45 miles northeast of Great Falls. Judith Landing lies 200 miles north of Billlings.


The major put-in and take-out points are Fort Benton, Coal Banks Landing, Judith Landing, and James Kipp Park.


Excellent river maps from the BLM for under $10 each.

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