Past Meetup

Jefferson River Canoe Trip

This Meetup is past

8 people went

Needs a location


The Jefferson River Canoe Trail retraces by water an essential segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail along the entire length of the Jefferson River in southwest Montana. The Lewis and Clark Expedition towed dugout canoes up the Jefferson River in 1805 in search of a navigable water route to the Pacific. Most present-day travelers prefer to follow the trail in reverse, floating down the Jefferson River in search of fun and fishing. The entire length of the river is Class I water, suitable for beginning paddlers, except during runoff season in spring. The Canoe Trail includes a network of multipurpose backcountry campsites on public lands on the Jefferson River. The public may float into these sites for primitive camping along the river. At each camp there are opportunities for such activities as bird watching, mushrooming, hiking, and fishing.

For 2018 we will do a two-day float from Hells Canyon to Point of Rocks, staying overnight at Lost Tomahawk, celebrating this newest campsite on the Jefferson River Canoe Trail. Please come equipped for camping, cooking, and canoeing. We do have a limited number of canoes available to loan. Let us know in advance if you need one.

This canoe trip is not a formal class, but rather a fun adventure that is open to friends and family, members of the Jefferson River Canoe Trail, all Green University students, members of the Bozeman Kayaking and Canoeing Meetup Group and anyone else with basic camping skills who would like to come along. In lieu of a fee for the float trip, we would be grateful for generous donations to the Jefferson River Canoe Trail to support our work to secure additional public campsites along this segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Trip Details:
We'll meet at Hells Canyon at 8 a.m. on Saturday July 7th and to paddle to Lost Tomahawk, camp overnight, then paddle out to Point of Rocks the following day.

Logistics: Bring lunch, water, hat, sunscreen, etc. in the canoes. Leave camping gear in your vehicles. We will meet at Hells Canyon and launch right away. We'll have one vehicle at Lost Tomahawk to shuttle drivers back up in the afternoon to retrieve cars and camping gear. That will be easier than packing gear in the canoes and then portaging it all around the diversion dam into Lost Tomahawk. Please come prepared for mosquitoes at Lost Tomahawk, and anytime we are on land near the Jefferson.

We'll enjoy an evening fire at Lost Tomahawk and share a potluck dinner. There are presently cows in the pasture to mow the grass and reduce fire danger. They should present no problem to campers, aside from slippery land mines here and there. We do need to pull some knapweed, so bring gloves for that. We have a large group, so 30 minutes of weed-pulling ought to finish off the knapweed.

The paddle out to Point of Rocks on Sunday is only about five miles, so that will be a short trip. Anyone is welcome to independently continue downstream to Kountz Bridge. I'm just not comfortable leading a group through the Parrot Castle diversion dam without thoroughly scouting or paddling it ahead of time.

Paddlers include myself and 10 others from this Meetup group, plus about 9 more from the Jefferson River Canoe Trail. See you at the river!

PS—Let me know if anyone needs a canoe!