White Water Rafting

For the serious adventurer, whitewater rafting is available on the raging rapids of the Russell Fork River. Each Saturday and Sunday during the first four full weekends in October, water is released from the John Flannagan Dam and Reservoir, creating world class rapids on the Russell Fork through the Breaks Gorge. Different sections of the river provide varying levels of difficulty. Rafters will find Class Two and Three rapids closer to the Flannagan Dam area, and rapids up to Class Six through the Breaks Park area on sections of the river where names like "twenty stitches," "broken nose," and "triple drop," give some sense of the adventure to be had here. The gradient of the Russell Fork ranges from five feet per mile to an unbelievable 180 feet per mile. One violent 75-foot stretch, aptly named "El Horrendo," is considered one of the most difficult in the East.

If you choose to take on the Russell Fork do be cautious; the river can be unkind to all but experienced paddlers. It is known throughout the rafting world as some of the wildest, most difficult whitewater anywhere and is best experienced with a guide or outfitter familiar with the river. The park doesn’t offer boat rentals or guided rafting, but many outfitters visit the Russell Fork each October to provide those services. Those interested in riding the rapids should locate an outfitter and plan their excursion ahead of time.