Top 8 Montana Cliff Jumping Spots

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: June 13th, 2023

One of my fondest memories as a kid was hiking to many of these remote Montana cliff jumping spots on a hot summer day!

With that said, it’s important to note that it can also be incredibly dangerous. It’s crucial to ensure that the area is legal and safe for jumping, always checking the water depth, the presence of underwater rocks, and other potential hazards before jumping. It’s also a good idea to have someone experienced with the location accompany you, if possible.

Top Montana Cliff Jumping Spots

Tally Lake: This lake located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is a popular spot for cliff jumping. There are a variety of cliffs to choose from, with the highest being 100 feet. The water is deep and clear, making it a safe place to jump.

Flathead Lake

This is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, with several spots suitable for cliff jumping. Wild Horse Island is a state park located within the lake that has cliffs which are frequently used for this purpose.  Wayfarers State Park is small but awesome park located on teh shores of Flathead Lake near Big Fork, MT

The Whitefish Area

Whitefish Lake near Whitefi

Just west of Glacier National Park, there are several lakes and rivers with suitable cliffs for jumping. Given that access is always changing, my recommendation is to chat with a few locals to have them point you in the right direction. Always check for safe and legal spots before you go.

Here are some specific jumping spots in the Whitefish area.

  1. Whitefish Lake: Whitefish Lake, located in the town of Whitefish, provides numerous spots for cliff jumping. The water depth and conditions can vary, so always check before jumping.
  2. Holland Lake: Approximately a two-hour drive south of Whitefish, Holland Lake offers a popular cliff jumping spot near the waterfall. The spot is scenic and loved by locals.
  3. Hungry Horse Reservoir: About a half-hour drive southeast of Whitefish, this spot is known for cliff jumping with many cliffs and deep water. Be sure to check the conditions and regulations before you head out.
  4. Lake Koocanusa: Roughly two hours east of Whitefish, Lake Koocanusa features numerous high cliffs over deep, clear water, making it a popular spot for cliff jumping.

Lava Lake

Nestled high among the Spanish Peaks of the Gallatin Mountain Range in Monatana, Lave Lake is the reward of a three mile uphill hike in this section of the Rocky Mountains–a gorgeous destination.

This lake is located in the Gallatin National Forest and is known for its cold water and steep cliffs. The highest cliff is 60 feet, but there are also a few smaller cliffs for those who are not as experienced.

Quarry in Colstrip

Colstrip, Montana is different than many of the locations profiled on this site as it’s located in southeast Montana.  The area has more of a ranch feel vs. a mountain environment. Located near Colstrip is a reclaimed strip mine, now filled with water, that is known as a spot for cliff jumping. This spot may require permission to use, so be sure to check the local regulations.

The Jefferson River:

Jefferson River with the Tobacco Root Mountains in Southwestern Montana in the winter.

This river is located in southwestern Montana and is a popular spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking. There are a number of cliffs along the river that are popular for cliff jumping, with the highest being 30 feet.

Gallatin River

Gallatin River near Big Sky, MT. A popular river for cliff divers in Montana.

Just outside of vibrant Bozeman, the Gallatin River offers a few spots with cliffs over deep water. It’s a popular spot for locals, but it’s worth noting that river water levels can change quickly, so caution is advised.

There are a number of different spots along the river where people jump, with the most popular spot being Axtell Bridge. The water at Axtell Bridge is deep and clear, making it a safe place to jump. The cliffs range in height from 10 to 30 feet, so there is something for everyone.

If you’re in the Bozeman area and interested in checking out the river, take a look at our Complete Guide to the Gallatin River.

Bitterroot River

Cloudy day in autumn along the Bitterroot River near Missoula, Montana, USA

Located in the Missoula area, there are a few popular cliff jumping spots along the Bitterroot River. Always ensure you are familiar with the depth and conditions before jumping.

Here are a few specific jumping spots along with Bitterroot River.

  1. Maclay Flat Nature Trail: There’s a spot just off this trail where locals often go cliff jumping. However, water levels can fluctuate here, so it’s essential to check before jumping.
  2. Bell Crossing: Just south of Victor, this spot is known for deeper water suitable for cliff jumping.
  3. Kona Ranch Bridge: Close to Missoula, this spot is popular for cliff jumping. Be sure to check local regulations and current conditions before attempting to jump here.
  4. Florence Bridge: Another popular local spot, this area is frequently visited during the summer months. However, caution is advised as water levels can change quickly.

The Clark Fork River

Also in the Missoula area, this river has spots where cliff jumping is possible. There are a number of different spots along the river where people can jump, with the most popular spot being Alberton Gorge.  The water is generally deep in this area making it a safe jumping spot but always do your due diligence ahead of time.

It’s also fun to note, that the Alberton Gorge is know as one of the best whitewater locations in Montana.

Fairy Lake

This gorgeous alpine lake is located in the Bridger Range. It’s known for its beautiful setting and a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, camping, fishing, and, yes, cliff jumping.

An Important Note about Cliff Jumping in Montana (and elsewhere)

Once again, I feel obligated to to emphasize the importance of safety and local regulations when cliff jumping. Always ensure that jumping is allowed and safe at your chosen location. If you’re unsure, reach out to local outdoor sports shops or water safety organizations for advice.



About The Author

Mark Barnett

Mark Philip is a writer and lifestyle enthusiast from the Midlands in the U.K. With a background in martial arts and fitness, Mark headed out to Bangkok, Thailand where he now lives and works. Mark has authored e-books, articles, and blogs across a wide range of topics for commercial, educational, factual, lifestyle and leisure-based purposes.

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