Custom Search

Smith River

Back from the Smith River! For those of you that haven’t traveled the sixty miles of this premier Montana river, it is an incredible journey. For more than 45 miles of the journey you are humbled by the 1,000 foot high limestone cliffs that tower over you on one or the other side of the river. The water is pristine and gives you the feeling you are floating on a giant aquarium as you watch trout swimming beneath you. At one point we startled a group of beavers and watched them swim beneath us. The river canyon is a bird sanctuary. You are awakened each morning at the first light by a cacophony of song birds. Waterfowl are everywhere. You can't turn a bend without passing a flock of Canadian geese or Merganser ducks followed by their brood. They pretty much ignore you as you float within yards of them. We lost count of the number of eagles we saw sitting on branches or soaring overhead. The adobe hut clusters of cliff swallow nests hung everywhere on the cliff sides. Deer visited the edge of our campsite oblivious to us while feeding on the shrubbery. We watched as a river otter played hide and seek with us behind a rock in the stream.

Insider tip: You have to designate your campsites before putting in. All have open air latrines out of sight of the campsite. All have fire rings but no cooking grates. There are no picnic tables or anything to sit on. Take a camp chair. A few of the best campsites: Canyon Depth, Upper Table Rock, and Lower Ridge Top.

Insider tip: The ranger tells me the best time to go is late August or early September. Water levels tend to rise somewhat and the river is void of outfitters and floaters. Fishing is at its best then also. Permits are available to anyone who wants to float then too.

Copyright © 2003 Michael Dougherty. Use of this material for radio and television programs, printed media, webcasting, and any other source of mass dissemination is prohibited without permission of the publisher.

Home | Free Brochures | Bookstore | Visit Montana | Live in Montana | Montana Communities | Search
Copyright © 2012 New Times Media Corporation - All Rights Reserved