Montana is famous for its national parks, rugged mountain terrain, alpine lakes and intriguing wildlife. One of best ways to escape the crowds and explore Big Sky Country is by kayak. Home to some truly fantastic kayaking, you’ll find easy floats, crystal-clear waters and even Class IV whitewater rapids in Montana.
Best Places to Kayak in Montana
Enjoy a summer paddle at one of these top kayaking destinations in the wild and beautiful state of Montana.
Glacier National Park Lakes
West Glacier, MT
A showcase of melting glaciers, alpine meadows, carved valleys, and spectacular lakes, Glacier National Park is a paradise for adventure seekers. There are over 700 lakes within the park. The most popular and easiest to access include Two Medicine Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, Saint Mary Lake and Lake McDonald. The alpine terrain and glacier-fed streams and lakes make an extremely picturesque backdrop for a kayaking adventure.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
Three Forks, MT
This scenic park and National Historic Landmark is where the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers merge to form the 2,300 mile Missouri River. Travel along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail or camp the shores where they stayed on their epic journey. The park preserves the area’s abundant wildlife, lush vegetation and scenic beauty. There are many dams and reservoirs along the upper river, making long paddles more difficult. Below the dams at Great Falls, however, the river flows for 200 miles before entering Fort Peck Lake.
Flathead Lake State Park
Big Arm, MT
Kayak among mature ponderosa pines, juniper trees and spectacular views of the Mission Mountains on largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. The 28-mile long, 15-mile wide lake offers numerous kayaking opportunities. A favorite is Big Arm Bay, along the west side of Flathead Lake where you can paddle out to Wild Horse Island. Enjoy the abundant wildlife, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and picnicking.
The Kootenai River starts in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park in Canada before flowing 485 miles into northwest Montana, through the towns of Libby and Troy. From there it flows into northern Idaho and eventually back into Canada to form the Kootenay Lake. Near Libby, Montana, the river offers one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls and numerous whitewater kayaking options. These include the China Rapids, a 30-foot waterfall and a gorge offering several areas of Class III and IV rapids. Surrounded by rugged, mountainous terrain and thick forests, it’s as stunning as it is challenging.
The Milk River originates in Browning, Montana near Glacier National Park. It is a 729-mile-long tributary of the Missouri River and it’s named for its unique milky color. It is an excellent choice for a secluded paddle and offers a much different backdrop than the rest of Montana. The easy flowing river meanders through flat prairies and Montana’s badlands, giving paddlers a different view of Montana than the usual mountains and cliffs.
Montana Kayak Storage Racks
Exploring Montana’s diverse terrain that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains by kayak gives a whole new perspective to Big Sky. Make sure your kayak is ready for the many alpine lakes and mighty rivers crisscrossing the state with a proper place to store it. Log Kayak Rack offers cedar log kayak and canoe storage racks that are as beautiful as they are practical. They safely store kayaks and neatly organize shorelines, backyards, parks and rental facilities. Shop our kayak racks online now or contact us for a custom kayak storage solution to meet your Montana kayak storage needs.