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Float The Madison River

Posted by Janie Greenwood on

Enjoy a relaxing half-day of floating on the beautiful Madison River, about half an hour west of Bozeman. The Madison starts in Wyoming around Yellowstone and winds into Montana where it meets with the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers to form the Missouri River. The wide lazy river floats between canyon walls and grassy embankments. As you are fishing for rainbow or brown trout or surfing on your paddle board, look out for eagles or hawks soaring high above the rocky cliffs. Stop for a picnic along the way, or float right to one of the coveted campsites and fishing accesses at Greycliff.

  •  Time from Bozeman: 40 minutes

  • Skill Level: Beginner

  • Shuttle/Parking: Self-Shuttle, Shuttle Services Available. Parking at put in and take out locations.

  • Restrooms: Available at the parking area.

  • Dog-Friendly: Yes

Parking and Shuttle:
Floating the Madison River will either require two cars for a shuttle, or a paid shuttle. Madison River Tubing Shuttle is only $10 from Bozeman. For both options, you will put in at Warm Springs boat launch, 40 minutes west of Bozeman, and take out: Blacks Ford boat launch, 6.5 miles downriver. If you plan on driving, make sure you have a designated driver. Don’t risk it!

Since the Madison is a heavily used area, pollution and overuse is becoming an issue. Pick up any trash you find along the way and bring your own bags for garbage and recycling. *Glass is NOT allowed on the river.* Check out the work by the Madison River Foundation to learn about river advocacy, stream restoration, and preservation for generations to come.
Typical weather: Beautiful! This is truly a magical place where the sun shines regularly. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water! But Montana weather can change on a dime so come prepared with warm clothes at the takeout.
Dogs allowed?
Yes! But it may be an issue if your dog is not privy to sitting in the boat or standing on your paddle board. They could run along the bank for several hours, but note that the river comes close to the highway at some points.
Food: There are no resources around, so come prepared with picnic items from town. Stop by the new Montana Provisions for some charcuterie and cheeses, or Wild Crumb for some delicious sandwiches.
Post Adventure:
If you have a designated driver, then enjoy a few cooler beers at the Black Fords take out with the other floaters. Otherwise, roll back into town and head over to The Cannery District, one of the best places to hang out on a sunny day. Sit on the back patio and enjoy kombucha (non-alcoholic or spiked) from Dean’s Zesty Booch, delicious beer and burgers from 406 Brewing, or some great sushi rolls at Seven Sushi.

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