White water rafting is one of those outdoor activities that is great fun for the whole family. It offers plenty of thrill and excitement for kids and adults alike.
In fact, white water rafting in Bozeman is one of the most popular tourist activities, thanks to easy access to great water, and a variety of rapids that will excite first-timers and experienced rafters alike.
White Water Rafting in Bozeman
- 5 Best Whitewater Rafting Outfitters Near Bozeman
- Where to Whitewater Raft in Bozeman
- How Much Does It Cost to Whitewater Raft in Bozeman?
5 Best Whitewater Rafting Outfitters Near Bozeman
Most of us won’t be heading out on a whitewater rafting adventure on our own. Frankly, if you’ve never tried whitewater rafting, you’ll want to go with someone that can show you the ropes, and teach you the skills necessary to travel fast waters safely.
Whitewater rafting guides are people who have made a living by helping others have the maximum amount of fun on fast-moving water.
We would recommend that even if you’ve tried whitewater rafting on other rivers, you hire a guide to experience the whitewater around Bozeman.
Every river is different, and a guide can show you the best lines and keep you safe, so your whitewater rafting experience is amazing.
Here is our list of the five best whitewater rafting outfitters in the Bozeman, MT area.
1. Montana Whitewater
Montana Whitewater offers rafting experiences in a couple of locations around Montana and the Bozeman area.
The great thing about this outfitter is they are able to offer you a range of rafting experiences from relaxing river floats to high thrills, and challenging whitewater routes.
Whitewater experiences from Montana Whitewater are found on the Yellowstone River or the Gallatin River.
In Bozeman, they also offer tubing experiences for a more relaxed experience. Montana Whitewater offers other experiences as well including a zipline park, and guided fishing tours.
2. Geyser Whitewater Expeditions
Geyser Whitewater Expeditions is well-known for providing affordable, family-friendly rafting experiences. Geyser Whitewater Expeditions is located in Big Sky, just 40-miles from Bozeman.
Their experienced guides provide whitewater rafting experiences on the Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers. Trips can accommodate all levels of rafters from first-timers to experienced rafters.
Along with whitewater rafting, Geyser Whitewater Expeditions also provides horseback riding tours and a fun zipline experience.
3. Flying Pig Adventures
Flying Pig Adventures is located in Gardiner, MT along the banks of the Yellowstone River. This outfitter is a one-stop shop for all the best outdoor experiences in Montana.
Besides being one of the most popular and highly rated whitewater rafting outfitters in Montana, they also offer guided fishing tours, horseback riding experiences, on-site lodging, and easy access to Yellowstone National Park.
One of our favorite offerings at Flying Pig Adventures is the Saddle to Paddle adventure.
This package offers both a whitewater rafting experience and then a horseback riding experience for a single rate. This is a perfect way to enjoy Yellowstone National Park, both on land and on the water.
4. Wild West Rafting
While most whitewater rafting outfitters provide day trips only, Wild West Rafting offers its customers an overnight rafting experience.
This is one of the most unique offerings in the Bozeman area. You’ll enjoy a rambunctious whitewater rafting experience in a tipi village with all of the best amenities for overnight camping.
Wild West Rafting specializes in rafting experiences on the Yellowstone River. However, they also offer horseback riding experiences and guided fly-fishing tours.
Additionally, they are also well-known as experienced hiking and backpacking guides in Yellowstone National Park.
5. Paradise Adventure Company
Paradise Adventure Company provides its customers with a more sophisticated rafting and adventure experience.
This outfitter provides a variety of whitewater rafting experiences including fun day trips and overnight rafting and tipi “glamping” experiences.
This company also provides more relaxed river floats that allow you to enjoy time on the water, without the whitewater adventure. Paradise Adventure Company also has horseback riding adventures and guided fishing tours.
They have a few rental homes that allow you to stay near the action, without having to pitch a tent or battle crowds in Bozeman or Yellowstone National Park.
Where to Whitewater Raft in Bozeman
Bozeman is located near three great rivers for whitewater rafting. The Gallatin, Madison and Yellowstone rivers are all just a short drive from Bozeman.
Each river has rapids and calm stretches that allow you to experience whitewater rafting fun, or just a relaxing float down the river where you can enjoy the scenery.
The Yellowstone river has a number of outfitters operating in its waters. Most outfitters provide either an 8-mile or an 18-mile rafting experience on the Yellowstone River.
While the shorter 8-mile trip provides a more relaxed rafting experience, the more enthusiastic rafters will love the 18-mile trip that carries you from Paradise Valley to Yankee Jim Canyon, the most challenging section of the river.
Rated as class-III water, the section through Yankee Jim Canyon has rapids with ominous names like “The Pinch” and “Yankee Jim’s Revenge.”
Rafting is not allowed on the river through Yellowstone National Park, so most trips take out of the river before the park boundary.
However, you’ll still be wowed by the amazing views in Paradise Valley, and the opportunities to check out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where the Yellowstone River tumbles into the Canyon as one of the most iconic waterfalls in the United States.
The Gallatin River really offers two different rafting experiences. Most rafting outfitters that float the Gallatin can be found in Big Sky, MT. This is also where most rafting trips down the Gallatin River begin.
If you are looking for a gentler rafting experience, the upper Gallatin River is the perfect spot for you to float. This section of the river is relatively calm and offers amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
There are some sections of fast water in the upper sections of the Gallatin, but they are nothing compared to the rapids along the lower section of the river.
The lower Gallatin River is home to some of the most challenging whitewater in Montana. Rafters on the lower section of the Gallatin will find themselves fully immersed in amazing whitewater rafting waters.
The most popular and well-known rapid on the Gallatin River is House Rock Rapid. This rapid can be either a class-III or a class-IV depending on the time of year.
The lower section of the river also has the Mad Mile, another section of class-III rapids that will get your heart racing.
One of the draws to the Madison River for rafters and visitors is its warm waters. With its start in Yellowstone National Park, the river is warmed by hydrothermal activity, making it a really pleasant rafting experience.
Rafting on the Madison begins at the border of the park and extends the length of the river as it makes its way to join the Missouri River.
Most rafting on the Madison River begins after Ennis and Ennis Lake, where the river flows into Bear Trap Canyon. This section of the river is home to one of the longest stretches of rapids in southern Montana.
All year, Bear Trap Canyon rapids are rated class-IV, and are very challenging. There are only a few rafting outfitters that take tours through the canyon, and they generally require that you have previous whitewater rafting experience before taking you through the canyon.
This trip is a full-day trip, which is another reason that many outfitters avoid trips through Bear Trap Canyon.
The popular put-in point on the Madison is at the Madison Dam, here you’ll have access to class-II through class-IV rapids.
Further down the river, you’ll enter Quake Lake, a waterbody that was formed following a 1959 earthquake when a rockslide blocked the Madison River.
The outlet that was dug is now a steep section of whitewater that is popular for rafting.
The Madison is also home to one class-V rapid called the S-Turn Rapid. This rapid is very dangerous and is not recommended for inexperienced rafters.
How Much Does It Cost to Whitewater Raft in Bozeman?
On average, the cost of whitewater rafting in Bozeman ranges from $80 to $200. These rates are based on the type of trip you’re taking (half-day vs. full-day), the river you’ll be floating, and the outfitting company you’ve selected.
Some outfitters include meals with their rafting packages. Others offer combination packages which may include a horseback riding experience, fly-fishing, or a guided hike.
Each of these additional activities will increase the per person cost of a whitewater rafting trip.
It is valuable to also note that our average cost is for adults. There are limitations and restrictions regarding kids’ rafting experiences, so you’ll need to check with rafting outfitters regarding their policies on children rafting before you select your outfitter and rafting experience.
Whitewater rafting is a highly popular activity for locals and visitors in the Bozeman area.
With a variety of outfitters that provide experiences that range from high thrill whitewater rafting to relaxed river floats and horseback riding, you’re sure to find the perfect place to enjoy white water rafting on your next visit to Bozeman, Montana.