Best Summer River Floats



The arrival of summer in Belgrade means it’s river time, and with so many stretches of water all around, you have miles of options to help you cool off when summer temperatures climb. You can tube your way down, kayak, canoe, or even put the raft or drift boat in the water for some fun fishing or whitewater adrenaline. People come from all over the world to experience Montana’s rivers, so the beauty of Belgrade living at Prescott Ranch is getting to have it all right in your backyard.

Grab some tubes and bring two vehicles so you can shuttle with ease, or you can arrange with local outfitters for an all-inclusive float, including rentals and shuttle service from the take-out to the put-in. You’ll want to fill the cooler with your favorite beverages (in metal or plastic, of course—no glass!), and take your pick of rivers. Here are a few floats to explore near Belgrade.  





The Madison is known for its famed bikini hatch: the hoards of floaters enjoying the sun and flowing water. This is a great spot to meet some people and share a beverage or two. If you’re floating to fish, be aware of the annual hoot owl restriction, from July 15 to August 15 and extending from the Bureau of Land Management’s Warm Springs Boat Launch to the confluence with the Jefferson River. The most popular float is Warm Springs to Black’s Ford, but the possibilities are endless. 



The Jefferson River is heating up as far as enthusiasts of river relaxation are concerned. The stretch from Cardwell to Limespur, or Sappington to Williams Bridge, is perfect for a quick float down the lazy river. Or you can fill the whole day with a longer float. Keep in mind that flows drop starting in July, since local farmers and ranchers draw water from the river for irrigation. 





The Gallatin River seems moody to some, with its Mad Mile of Class IV rapids sandwiched between mellower stretches as it flows through Yellowstone and Gallatin Canyon before joining up with the Jefferson and Madison to form the Missouri. For wild whitewater, early season trips are key—and you would want to go with a guide, unless you’re a seasoned expert in navigating rapids. Or you can enjoy DIY drifting through some lazy scenic stretches. Put in at Nixon Bridge in Manhattan, and you can float all the way to Three Forks at the Missouri confluence. Break up the float wherever you like, with easy access points that let you stay close to home in Belgrade, too.



The Mighty Mo begins at Missouri Headwaters State Park in Three Forks and meanders its way all the way across the country until it meets up with the Mississippi. For floaters who want to travel in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, you can put in at Headwaters and take out in Clarkston at the Fairweather Fishing Access Site for a solid 8-mile float, or keep going up to 23 miles to Toston Dam, where you’d have to portage to continue downriver. But even if you’re not up for an epic overnighter, you can take advantage of any stretch of the river to relax. 

To learn more about how you can find the best of fine living at Prescott Ranch, with easy access to all that the Gallatin Valley has to offer, contact our sales center.