The Ultimate Summer Thrill: Kayaking and Whitewater Rafting in Bozeman


When was the last time stuck a paddle in the icy waters of a mountain river or lake? Have you ever been kayaking or rafting? If you fall into the response category of either "never" "not sure," or "too long ago," then something needs to change - and quick! Bozeman is the perfect spot to try kayaking or whitewater rafting. With some of the most prestine lakes and rivers you will ever find, you've got a lot of options. We've provided some insight on how and where to go kayaking or whitewater rafting in Bozeman. 

Bozeman Kayaking and Rafting

One of the great things about Bozeman when it comes to watersports is the options. Bozeman is blessed with several water hot spots that offer both locals and visitors the ability to venture the roaring or calming waters. Whether you're starting your watersports career for the first time or seeking to test your skills, there is a great place for everyone in Bozeman looking to hit the waters and go kayaking and rafting.

Where To Go - Whitewater Rafting

Gallatin River

With roughly 120 total miles, the Gallatin River was originally used as a river for logging purposes but now is used primarily for floating and fishing. The river stretches through Wyoming and Montana with portions of it being classified as a Blue Ribbon trout stream. 

Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River runs for a total of 692 miles through the states of Montana and Wyoming. It is known as one of the greatest trout streams in the world and is also classified as a Blue Ribbon stream in Montana.


River Kayaking in Montana


Where To Go - River Kayaking

River kayaking is a fun and challenging sport that can put the mental and physical attributes of an adventurer to the test. River kayaking is growing in popularity around Bozeman - for good reason! If you're stuck in the beginning stages of river kayaking, take a look at How to Choose a Kayak by REI or talk to your guide or equipment rental individuals. Below are a few ideas to consider for river kayaking.

Madison River

Flowing into the Missouri River, the Madison River is the iconic river for Bozeman locals to venture on a hot summers day. The Madison River is about 183 miles in total with each mile being a blast!

Where To Go - Lake Kayaking

Like river kayaking, lake kayaking is still an exhilarating experience but (depending on the weather) is typically on the calmer side of the kayaking spectrum. Lake kayaking offers the enjoyment and freedom to paddle to any parts of the coastline and explore at will. A few options around Bozeman are listed below for lake kayaking.

Hyalite Reservoir

Located just outside of Bozeman, Hyalite has a no-wake policy perfect for kayaking. There are also campsites around the reservoir, along with a pavilion that can be rented for larger groups.

Cliff and Wade Lakes

These two gorgeous lakes will knock your socks off with their spectacular colors and clear mountain waters. Located approximately two hours outside of Bozeman.

Ennis Lake

A quick hour's drive will take you to Ennis Lake, at the base of the Madison Mountain Range. Check the weather, this lake can sometimes be windy!


Family on a river with a guide.


Where To Hire A Guide

Taking a guide is recommended for all beginners. The local guides have the access, know-how, and equipment to properly get you out on the water and enjoy what Bozeman has to offer.

There are about two main places in Bozeman that provide a high level of quality and safety rafting and kayaking trips.

Montana Whitewater Rafting Co is a local company that takes guests on guided rafting adventures through both the Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers. The company offers river rafting experience that is great for beginners and more experienced adventurers alike. Montana Whitewater Rafting also provides tubing on the Madison River for a slower change of pace.

Geyser Whitewater Expeditions is yet another local company that strives to fulfill unique water-based experiences for floaters of all skill levels. They provide both kayaking and white water rafting guides on the Gallatin River.

Where To Rent Equipment

A list of places to rent either rafting and kayaking equipment can be found below:

Kayaking and whitewater rafting in Bozeman is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, cool off, and bond with your group of floaters. Regardless of skill level, each trip out on the water is sure to be filled with smiles and memories that won't soon be forgotten.

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