Kootenai River

Libby, Montana 59923

Kootenai River

Kootenai River Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This big, clear river courses through heavily-forested mountains, providing good fishing and excellent scenery along the way. Scenes from the movie "The River Wild" were filmed here. The river is mostly Class I, with a couple of difficult sections that are Class II and III. China Rapids and Kootenai Falls Gorge are Class IV and V.

Floating on the Kootenai starts below Libby Dam and continues to the Idaho border and beyond. Small aluminum boats, canoes, and rafts all work well. While most of the river is broad and swift-flowing, occasional rapids and big standing waves require some caution. Jennings rapid, just below the Fisher River, requires care. Because of the fluctuations in the amount of water discharged from Koocanusa Reservoir, river levels can rise sharply, by as much as 2 to 4 feet. Because of these fluctuations and occasional rapids, beginners should steer clear of the Kootenai above the falls."

Kootenai River Trip Reports

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Having floated many sections of this river for many years, the most scenic is from Troy Montana to the Idaho border, and beyond Great access at Troy city park (check out this beautiful park), and float to the Yaak or into Idaho. Great camping along the way.
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The Kootenai Trail is a rail/trail from Eureka, MT to Mariners Haven on Lake Koocanusa. The KT (part of the 1200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail) is in fine condition. Suitable for hikers, bicyclists, and horse riders, there is plentiful swimming in the Tobacco River. Numerous campsites (primitive to fancy) line the route.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
100 miles
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
Class I-V
Large waves and choppy water. Avoid Kootenai Falls. Experts only for Kootenai Falls Gorge, immediately below the falls for about 2 miles.
Fishing, Camping, Birding
Additional Use
FWP, Kalispell; Kootenai National Forest, Libby; US Army Corp of Engineers, Libby Dam; Kootenai Angler, Libby.
Local Contacts
USFS: Kootenai-Kaniksu East; USGS: Kalispell, MT.
Local Maps

Trail Log