A Montana Gem – Smith River
By angelamontana

Posted: August 3, 2020

If you are one of many who has never been fortunate enough to float the Smith River, here is what you are missing by not at least applying for a permit.

Here is some information on the Smith River State Park involving floating from stateparks.mt.gov, too:

Smith River State Park offers gorgeous scenery in a remote setting. Renowned trout fishing is just one of the recreational opportunities that make a float trip on the 59-mile Smith River an unforgettable experience.

The Smith River is so popular that a permit is required to float it. The permit process allows visitors a quality, multi-day float in relative solitude.

Reservation Line
If you aren’t awarded a permit, you still have a chance to float the Smith River by calling the Smith River Reservation Line at (406) 454-5861 beginning March 9, 2020 (between 8am and Noon, Monday through Friday) to request any remaining launch dates or cancelled permits. Unsuccessful applicants can also book a trip with one of the eight authorized Smith River outfitters listed below.

Smith River State Park has one put-in point (Camp Baker) and one take-out point (Eden Bridge) for the entire 59-mile stretch. The river is accessible only by non-motorized watercraft, including; rafts, canoes, kayaks and drift boats. Rowers and paddlers should have at least intermediate level skills. On average, visitors take four days to float the river.

From May 15 – July 15 floaters can stay on the river a maximum of four nights only. To help preserve the unique quality of the Smith River canyon, overnight camping must take place at designated boat camps.

Since the Smith River flows through a remote canyon, there are some things to keep in mind for this adventure; there are no public services from Camp Baker to Eden Bridge. Floaters must carry their own food, water, safety, camping equipment and a fishing license. It is advisable to bring all the drinking water you will need for the duration of your trip, as there is no drinking water available at the put-in location of Camp Baker. Also, Camp Baker does not have trash dumpsters, but one is available at the Eden Bridge takeout point along with aluminum-recycling bins.