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Folks flock to Montana’s Flathead River when they’re looking to hit the water for good reason — it boasts great water, beautiful outdoor scenery and iconic Montana nature at every turn. Like other activities, your whitewater rafting experience will differ depending on the time of year you visit. We’re here to help you figure out which month is right for you to hit the rapids.

Glacier Rafting in May: The Eager Beaver

Montana weather in May is chilly, but with a wetsuit (provided with Glacier Raft Company bookings), hitting the river is more than manageable. In the words of our team, rafting this month involves “cold weather and water, but a darn good time.” That’s because May sees water levels rise and get faster as the snowpack melts to fill the Flathead River. The crystal-clear waters of winter turn into a muddy, fast-moving course thanks to spring run-off by the end of May. If you’re eager to get out there and traverse the rapids, then this month might be for you.

Glacier Rafting in June: The Adrenaline Seeker

June is when the highwater spring run-off peaks. This means fast-moving water and even faster currents. Iconic stretches (namely, “Jaws” and “Screaming Right Turn”) become some of the most technical rapids to navigate. With an experienced Glacier Raft Company guide leading the adventure, however, rafting the June waters becomes a thrilling ride any visitor can take on. If you’re ready to get your blood pumping, then don your wetsuit, hop aboard and enjoy these challenging rapids.

Tip: Looking for a more mellow experience? In addition to whitewater adventures, Glacier Raft Company also offers half-day scenic floats all season.

A group of rafters make a splash along a river.

Glacier Rafting in July: The Summer Rafter

Some may call this month the best of both worlds. The now emerald-hued Flathead River is at its prime level, meaning you’ll be creating big splashes as you plow through the rapids, but the environmental challenges of June have largely vanished. Montana weather in July is hot, hot, hot, so the refreshing cold water is sure to cool you off in the summer heat. Now that the water level is dropping, you’re also able to check out sights previously hidden by the highwater, including new rapids and small waterfalls.

Glacier Rafting in August: The Family Floaters

Summer isn’t all about thrills out here. August is the perfect month for folks looking to hit the river with family. The water levels are typically at their lowest of the season, which means smaller rapids and slower speeds. Bring the whole family and younger children (if they weigh 50 pounds or more!) to enjoy the views. Low water does bring another type of challenge, however. Exposed rocks appear, so it’s important to work as a team to steer the boat down the river. All in all, while the rapids may be less challenging, the water-top views and entertaining guides make the trip just as special.

A group of people paddle down a calm river in a yellow raft.

Glacier Rafting in September: The Slow(er) and Steady

It’s the end of the season in September, and water levels have essentially plateaued. Montana weather in September is closer to summer temperatures than those at the beginning of the season, but precipitation levels may cause the Flathead River to rise or drop rapidly. If you’re looking to float and have a splashy end to your summer, this may be the month for you. Some challenging rapids, including class II and III, still exist, but they aren’t quite as adrenaline pumping as they are in June and July. Take out the young ones and wrap up the season with a fun and floaty trip in the great outdoors.

Now that you know what month is right for you, it’s time to plan your trip on the Flathead River with the experts at Glacier Raft Company. See you on the rapids!

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