Madison River

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Montana, USA

Bear Trap Canyon – Madison River

Roughly an hour away from Bozeman, Montana lies Beartrap Canyon. Running through Beartrap Canyon is the Madison River, which pours out of Ennis Lake. This section mixes a few Class III-IV rapids with the notorious Kitchen Sink Rapid, that becomes a Class V at higher water. This short stretch of river offers wonderful scenery, great fishing, and just enough whitewater to keep you on your toes.

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Bear Trap Canyon – Class III, IV, & V

Bear Trap Canyon is a wonderful section with a few big rapids, including the Kitchen Sink Rapid, which can become Class V at certain flows. There is wonderful scenery in this area, and great fishing to be had in the many pools.

Mile 0 – Double Drop Put-in:

River Right. As the name implies, this Put-In lies right above Double Drop Rapid, which you can scout while getting ready to launch. Double Drop is considered a Class III-IV rapid.

Mile 0.04 – Double Drop Rapid:

Class III-IV. Enter right to avoid 2 large holes that form. On the bottom right of this rapid there is a rock you’ll want to avoid. Easy to scout from put-in. At late summer flows, this rapid will likely be far too low to run. If so, put in down at Powerhouse put-in.

Mile 0.40 – Powerhouse Put-In:

River Right. Put-In just above the Powerhouse if the water is too low to run Double Drop which occurs around 1,500 CFS. To avoid congestion, it is best then park your car upstream. There are rails at the put-in, which makes sliding any craft quite easy.

Mile 0.41 – Pedestrian Bridge:

Just above the Powerhouse is a small pedestrian footbridge to access river left.

Mile 0.42 – Madison Powerhouse:

River Right. Madison Powerhouse adds significant water to the Madison River, especially in the summer months. Usually, around 1,200 CFS is added to the river. During low flows, you will notice a huge increase in flows just downstream of this powerhouse. Some years, to decrease the temperature of the river, excess water will be pulled from the bottom of Ennis Lake.

Mile 1.7 – Whitehorse Rapid:

Class III+. Enter left-of-center to avoid the main boulder, then start working right. Below here is a read-and-run boulder garden. Can be scouted upstream on the left.

Mile 3.92 – Greenwave:

Class III. There are multiple lines. The easiest line is on the right. There is a sieve pile in the middle you can go right of. There’s a hole on the bottom that typically is runnable, but you may have carnage.

Mile 4.64 – Bear Trap Creek Confluence:

River Right. Bear Trap Creek enters the Madison River from the right-hand side.

Mile 8.72 – Warm Springs Take-Out:

River Left. This is the take-out for Bear Trap Canyon, and the put-In for the Warm Springs stretch, which is mostly a scenic/fishing float.