Glacier Park Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

With 47 years of experience on Montana’s Flathead River, our professional river guides are well-trained in safety and first aid. As one of Montana's leading whitewater rafting outfitters, we offer multiple trip options and use high-quality self-bailing rafts and inflatable kayaks. Trips on the Flathead Rivers include the rush of class II to III rapids on our half- and full-day adventures, a scenic float trip through a quiet secluded canyon, and a variety of multi-day excursions.

Since the beginning of Tripadvisor, Glacier Raft Company has consistently been one of the top rated attractions in West Glacier.

We provide all participants with U.S. Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Devices for your safety and protection. Wetsuits, booties, fleeces, and splash tops are available in inclement weather for added comfort. 

All our trips operate outside Glacier National Park. There is no need to purchase a park pass or vehicle reservation ticket if you choose to raft with us. Going on a trip with us will not get you into the park.

We float along the southwestern border of the park on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, providing you with panoramic Glacier National Park views you can only get from the river.

If you plan on entering Glacier National Park during your visit to the area, we recommend that you plan and purchase a vehicle reservation ticket ahead of time. You can buy your park pass and reservation ticket online. Visit the Glacier National Park website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Just about anyone can go whitewater rafting. No experience is necessary, although most of our trips require some paddling, and you will probably get wet! We welcome rafters young and old, with minimum age restrictions dependent on weather and water conditions.

With advance notice, we can accommodate most special needs.

If you have a child who weighs less than 50 lbs. and is younger than 12, please call 406.888.5454 to learn about what trips are best suited for them.

The Flathead River's whitewater rafting season lasts from May to September, featuring changing water levels shaped by weather and snowpack melting. In early June, the river peaks with a thrilling class II-III experience. As the summer unfolds, the river's demeanor gradually transforms, with receding water levels and a mellower pace perfect for a milder adventure.

Since the Flathead Rivers are dependent on snowmelt, the water temperature early in the season can be cold (45°F), requiring the use of wetsuits by all rafters. As the summer progresses, the river warms up considerably, and many of our rafters enjoy a refreshing swim in some of the calmer stretches of the river. From early May to mid-September, we offer rafting trips, rain or shine. Since you’ll get wet anyway, rafting can be a great way to spend a rainy or cloudy day! Splash jackets and wet suits are provided when necessary.

The Middle Fork of the Flathead River near West Glacier, offers an exciting experience with nine named rapids. Its flow is directly tied to weather and snowpack melting, shaping water level fluctuations that define the rafting journey.  During the peak of early June, water levels surge for an adrenaline-pumping class II-III whitewater ride, ideal for thrill-seekers.  As the summer progresses, receding water levels transition to a more technical class II, perfect for a milder adventure.

Our half-day whitewater trip is eight river miles. Depending on river flow, this trip will take between 2 and 3.5 hours. This includes a short shuttle ride to the river, instruction and safety information.

Our full-day whitewater trip is 15 river miles. Total time including bus shuttle to the river, instruction and safety information, and lunch along the river is five to six hours per trip.

If you need to cancel your reservation, please notify us immediately. Daily rafting and fly fishing adventures require 24 hours cancellation notice for a full refund. Cancellations within 24 hours are non-refundable.

For multi-day trips, from the day of booking until 45 days prior to the trip, there is a cancellation fee of 50% of the deposit. Within 45 days of the trip, total is non-refundable.

Our daily rafting trips depart from our office in the village of West Glacier, located at 106 Going-to-the-Sun Road, the first parking lot on your right after turning onto Going-to-the-Sun Road from US Highway 2.. Glacier Raft Co. provides transportation to the put in. Your trip will end at the West Glacier bridge, a short walk from our office.

Our multi-day and self-guided adventures depart from Glacier Anglers & Outfitters, at Paddle Ridge, located at 12400 Hwy 2 East, West Glacier, under the large log arch on the south side of US Highway 2, ½ mile west of West Glacier. Paddle Ridge provides transportation to and from the river.

Every raft (with the exception of inflatable kayaks and self-guided trips) has a professional river guide. Most of our guides have worked with us for many seasons. We use only self-bailing rafts, 13 to 16 feet in length, designed for six to 10 paddlers plus a guide. In addition, there is room for a couple of non-paddlers in each raft.

Glacier Raft Company uses paddle rafts, with active participation by rafters through the rapids and calmer stretches of the river. Paddling is not continuous. Each raft has room for up to four non-paddlers for those who cannot or prefer not to paddle. Although paddling is preferred, oar rafts may be available with advance notice. Multi-day trips utilize a combination of paddle rafts and oar rafts.

Dress according to weather and water conditions. Complimentary splash tops are available on all daily trips. On a warm, sunny day, wear a swimsuit or shorts, a T-shirt, hat and shoes that stay securely on your feet (no flip flops or Crocs).

During the early season or cooler days, wetsuits, booties, fleece, and splash jackets are provided at no extra charge when required due to temperature or water levels.

As a general rule: don’t take anything with you on the raft that can’t get wet. If you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, bring a retainer to hold them on (disposable cameras and eyeglass retainers are available for purchase in our store). Bottled water is recommended, especially on hot days. There is a filling station near the check-in area. Please bring a towel and dry clothing to change into after the trip, lock it all in your vehicle, and leave your car keys in the office for safekeeping.

You may bring a camera or your cell phone to take photos on the trip at your own risk. However, if you lose it in the river, it will be gone forever.  We are not responsible for items lost on your trip.

If you want to bring a camera, we recommend only a disposable, waterproof camera (available for purchase in our office).

Cell phones should be enclosed in a waterproof case (available for purchase in our office).

Watch for our photographer as you come around the bend at Bonecrusher! You can check out your photos after your trip and take home lasting memories of your adventure with us.

Whitewater is rated on a difficulty scale between I and VI. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River is classified Class II-IV and is considered exciting family whitewater.

  • Class I Very Easy: Small, regular waves, few obstacles, little maneuvering required
  • Class II Easy: Easy rapids, eddies and bends, some maneuvering required
  • Class III Medium: Numerous waves, narrow passages, maneuvering required, may require scouting
  • Class IV Difficult: Difficult rapids, abrupt bends, narrow passages, scouting often necessary, precise maneuvering required
  • Class V Very Difficult: Long rapids with wild turbulence and extremely congested routs, complex maneuvering, scouting is difficult
  • Class VI Limits of Navigation: Nearly impossible and very dangerous, a definite hazard to life

We offer a complete line of rental equipment including rafts, inflatable kayaks, wetsuits and booties, life jackets, fishing equipment (including rods, reels, and waders), plus sleeping bags, pads and other camping equipment. Whatever you need for a fun river adventure or for hiking in Glacier National Park, you’ll find it at Glacier Anglers & Outfitters.

We will make every effort to meet special requests. Let us know in advance if you would like a particular guide and we will do our best to match the guide’s schedule with yours.

We do not have a formal tipping policy for our guides but we can say this: Our rafting guides are the best in the business. They are highly trained professionals who are passionate about what they do. This is not just a job for them — it’s a way of life. Our guides do much more than guide you down the river. They are storytellers, history buffs, animal and plant identifiers, comedians and many even cook your meals.

If you feel your guide has done a great job and made your experience a memorable one, then you can certainly show your appreciation by giving a tip. The amount is totally up to you. Many people believe that anyone in the service industry (like restaurant servers, hotel employees, hair dressers, etc. ) should get between 15-20% of the total cost of the service.

Glacier Raft Company has a heritage of providing safe and responsible tours in and around Glacier National Park and the Great Bear and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas. Our livelihood is based on this great land, therefore we try to be as earth-sensitive as possible in our business operations. Our goal is to leave this area just as we found it, for future generations to enjoy.

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