What should I wear during my raft trip?
- Swimwear or shorts &Tee shirts on hot days.
- Base layer clothing, such as Under Armour, on cooler days.
- Sandals or river shoes for hot days. We provide neoprene booties on cooler days.
- Sunglasses and hats.
What not to bring!
- Expensive sunglasses
- Car Keys
What gear does Wild West Rafting provide?
- Rain gear and wetsuits for cloudy days
- Neoprene booties
- Type V life jackets
- An awesome river experience!
What time should I arrive?
If you are rafting the river please check in at least 30 minutes before your trip time!
If you are riding horseback please check in 1 hour prior to your riding time!
If you are fishing, hiking and touring, we will send you an itinerary detailing your check-in time!
What should I expect upon arrival at Wild West Rafting office?
When you arrive at 906 Scott Street in Gardiner Montana you will be greeted by our friendly staff. Your quick and easy check-in includes minimal paperwork and payment. We provide dressing rooms for your convenience.
When your guide announces your trip, leave all your cares behind as you board our bus! We then shuttle you across town to the river access. After safety instruction, it is off to the Yellowstone River! After your rafting experience is finished, our bus driver will safely bring you and your family back to Gardiner.
View detailed directions to Wild West Rafting >
View map of the Yellowstone River >
Does Wild West Rafting take images of my rafting trip?
Yes! Wild West Rafting has a professional photographer on staff. They take high-resolution images of your group and rafting experience. Images are available for purchase on CD, Google Drive or your own USB.
How large are the rafts?
Our 16′ self-bailing Maravia rafts will accommodate 8 guests and 1 guide. All of our whitewater rafts are custom crafted according to the highest industry standards.
What is the minimum age?
Wild West Rafting welcomes families! On whitewater rafting trips, the minimum weight is generally 40 lbs. Horseback riders must be 5 years old for the 1-hour ride and 7 years old for the 2-hour ride!
How safe is whitewater rafting?
Safety is our number one priority. Wild West Rafting guides are all certified and have excellent safety records. Every guide holds First Aid, CPR and Swift Water Rescue Certificates at a minimum and undergoes in-depth training in all aspects of river guiding and rescue. All Wild West Rafting trips are equipped with a first aid kit and rescue equipment.
What about special medical conditions?
When you book your trip please let the reservations agent know about any particular medical condition you may have including diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, heart conditions, bee sting allergies, and pregnancy. If you are concerned we recommend you consult your physician prior to rafting. We strongly warn against whitewater rafting for women who are pregnant.
What is the cancellation policy?
In order to serve our clients better, we have instituted a cancellation policy. If you cannot make it to your scheduled rafting trip please contact us 24 hours in advance to cancel your appointment. If you do not cancel 24 hours in advance you will be charged 50% of your booking fee and 100% for a ″No-show” We understand that plans change when you are on vacation; please call us at 800-862-0557 and we can reschedule your trip!
If you have booked one of our backpacking & hiking, Yellowstone Tours, or cabins, tents or one of our overnight activities we require a 50% deposit. If you cancel 30 days prior to your scheduled trip/cabin rental we will refund your 50% deposit. If you cancel within 30 days of your scheduled trip time you will be charged your 50% deposit.
Deposits, Payments and Refunds For Fly Fishing
When you have booked a Fly Fishing trip with us we require a deposit of $150 per guide/per day of fishing.
Deposits are fully refundable up to 30 days prior to your trip. Within 30 days of your trip, we will still refund in full if we can re-book the Outfitters or guides (or re-book the dates reserved on private waters) for the days you have canceled. We do ask that you contact us immediately if you need to either change your dates or to have your booking canceled, (this will give us more lead time to re-book the guide, which will help us get you your deposit back).
If you must cancel within one week of your trip, we will require full payment for the guide fees for those days you have booked and charge your credit card on file for the entire balance. We must do this to protect the guides and outfitters for lost days in the prime-time of the season. We will then make every effort possible to re-book your guides for the days that were cancelled. If we are able to re-book the guides for the days you had to cancel, we will refund 100% of your deposit or apply it to another upcoming trip, whichever you prefer.
Final Payments for your trip can be made at our office after your fishing trip. Note: we are often asked how much anglers should tip their guides: $50 to $100 a day is what most of the guides average, so use those figures as guidelines.
What about large groups?
Whitewater rafting is a group activity! We’ll accommodate all types of large groups including wedding parties, corporate groups, church groups and family reunions. Go to www.wildwestrafting.com to make a reservation or, call 800-862-0557 or 406-848-2252.
How many miles do we travel?
- Our Half Day Whitewater trips cover 8 miles.
- Full Day Whitewater trips cover 18 miles.
- Spectacular Scenic floats cover 6 miles.
- Inflatable Kayak trips cover 6 miles.
- Small Boat, Big Water cover 8 miles.
- Overnight rafting trips cover 22 miles.
How long do the trips take?
All times are approximate.
- Our Half Day Whitewater trips are approximately 2-3 hours.
- Our Full Day Whitewater trips are approximately 4-5 hours.
- Our Spectacular Scenic float and Inflatable Kayak trips are approximately 2 hours.
- Our Small Boat, Big Water trips are approximately 2-3 hours.
- Our Saddle and Paddle trips are approximately 5-6 hours.
- Our Short & Sweet Saddle and Paddle trips are approximately 3-4 hours.
- Our Overnight Rafting Trip is approximately 24-hours.
What do I need to know about the Overnight Rafting Trip?
9:30 am- Check into Wild West Rafting office at 906 Scott Street, Gardiner, Montana 59030
10:00 am- Your WWR expert guide takes you to the river! Paddle off at 10:30 or so, after our safety speech and guide introduction!
12:00 pm- Break for a fantastic picnic style lunch on a river island, which includes a lunch roll with either sliced beef, turkey or chicken, potato salad, watermelon, chips, cookie, water and lemonade. (Vegetarian is available upon request.)
12:45 pm- Paddle on for the second portion of your trip.
2:30 to 3:00 pm- Stop for a quick break. Bathrooms are available at a river landing.
4:00 pm-(Option 2. Starts Now!) Arrive in camp! Shower, take a walk, and enjoy photographing the beautiful scenery!
6:30 pm- Gather around the campfire for your Montana style dinner! Your steak dinner includes many tasty sides such as grilled potatoes, asparagus dinner roll, and fruit. Stay up as late as you wish, gazing at the stars, listening to the mountain sounds and enjoying your time breathing in the fresh mountain air!
The next morning…
Wake as early as you wish. This is a great time to take a refreshing morning walk along the river and look for wildlife!
8:30 am- Breakfast is served! Enjoy your pancake, egg and bacon breakfast as the warming sun rises over the mountains!
9:30 am- Load up and your guide will take you back to Gardiner where you started your rafting adventure!
10:00 am- Arrive at WWR office, look over your rafting images, say goodbye to your new friends and tell your story!
WHAT TO BRING
1-2 bags per person packed and ready to go for the overnight Stay and the following day. (See Attached List) Those bags are shuttled to your tipi or tent, so when you arrive they will be waiting for you, warm and dry! Pack something to sleep in and warm clothes and shoes for the evening at camp and clothing for the following day. You will have access to a fully equipped bathroom, so pack your personal toiletries. We will be providing the cot, pillows, and sleeping bags for your overnight. You may pack a camera or any item(s) that you might like in camp!
Wild West Rafting provides all of the river gear you might need (water shoes, splash tops, wetsuits, etc.) On the water, we suggest wearing quick drying clothing. Depending on the weather temps swimsuits/swim trunks and water shoes for hot days or fast drying/wicking base layer clothing and warm hat for cooler days. This clothing fits well under a wetsuit if needed.
CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR
- Swimsuits or moisture-wicking T-shirts, pants, shorts, long-sleeve shirts, water shoes/flip flops during your raft trip.
- Sun-shielding hats
- Pants/shorts for camp
- Shoes for camp
- Socks (synthetic or wool)
- Insulating jacket
- In-camp shoes
- Lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
- Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
- Prescription medications
- Toothbrush, toiletry kit
When Is The Best Time To Fish Yellowstone Country?
Come when you can! Many of the waters we fish are open all year, and we often have excellent fishing in the off-season, even in mid-winter if the weather is relatively mild. Obviously, summer is the most popular time to come, but many anglers are learning that some of the best fishing in Yellowstone country is in the spring (before runoff) and again in the fall. A trip in late February, March or April or in late September throughout October will get you away from the summer crowds and offers some excellent fishing. If you like to fish spring creeks, another advantage of fishing the offseason are the reduced rod fees on these streams. Generally, these off-season rates apply from mid-October through mid-April. No matter what time you choose to come, we’ll help you find some exciting fly fishing!
The Livingston Area
The Early Season: The spring creeks are open all year and offer good fishing throughout the winter on milder days. Midge hatches provide some dry fly action and the nymph fishing is consistently good. Hatches of Baetis mayflies starting in early March provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the season. These Baetis hatches run through the end of April on the creeks and the Yellowstone. Nymph fishing on the larger rivers like the Yellowstone can be excellent as soon as water temperatures begin to warm in early spring, which can be from late February on. The famous “Mother’s Day” caddis hatch on the Yellowstone usually kicks off around the last week in April, often providing the hottest dry fly fishing of the entire year. Since this hatch comes off just before the major runoff on the Yellowstone, timing can be a little tricky to hit it just right, but you can always fall back on spring creek fishing or the Lower Madison if water conditions aren’t favorable on the Yellowstone.
May through early July: Our small streams here in Montana open the third Saturday in May. The spring creeks offer great nymph fishing through May and the Pale Morning Duns–the first major summer hatch–starts in mid-June. Late June and early July see the heaviest PMD hatches of the season on the spring creeks and some spectacular dry fly fishing. The larger rivers, with the exception of the Bighorn and Missouri, are in the run-off during this period and usually unfishable. If the Yellowstone clears early, we can have good fishing during the salmon fly hatch in late June and early July. Mid to late June is the time to try to hit the salmon flies on the Madison and Big Hole. Tailwater streams like the Missouri and Big Horn have clear water and good hatches at this time. Yellowstone Park opens for fishing the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend at the end of May. The Firehole River is normally fishable with good Baetis and PMD hatches at this time. For those of you that love flat water fishing and are willing to make the drive, the Henry’s Fork of the Snake near Last Chance Idaho is also very good at this time. The “Railroad Ranch” opener is always June 15th.
Mid-July through mid-August: Our big freestone rivers like the Yellowstone normally clear in early July, and this is when float fishing is especially productive. With higher water levels, wading these big rivers is still a tough proposition. Float fishing along the willow-lined banks during the “salmon fly” hatch is a blast, chucking big drys and nymphs. Mixed hatches of smaller stoneflies, caddis, and mayflies provide for good attractor fishing on the Yellowstone through the rest of July and early August. Smaller freestone rivers like the Gallatin, West Boulder, and Main Boulder rivers have also cleared by this time and provide some excellent dry fly fishing with hatches of caddis and Green Drake, Gray Drake, and PMD mayflies. Good hatches, including Pale Morning Duns and Sulfurs, continue on the spring creeks. In Yellowstone Park, streams like Slough Creek and the Lamar River are in prime shape and offer terrific fishing for big native cutthroats.
Mid-August through mid-September: The spring creeks have hatches of Sulfurs and smaller PMD’s at this time, but some of the best dry fly fishing come in early September when heavy hatches of large midges occur. These midges really bring up the big fish. In late summer, fishing terrestrial patterns like ants and beetles and hoppers are very productive. The late season on the larger rivers like the Yellowstone can be terrific, especially if we get a decent hopper year. This hopper fishing lasts right through the end of September or until we get several hard freezes. Cloudy days can also provide great streamer fishing on the bigger rivers. From mid-September on, the browns are aggressive, and on the feed in preparation for their spawning activities that will start in mid-October. This is also the best time of year to hike (or pack) into the backcountry and fish the high country lakes.
Mid-September through November: Fall hatches of smaller Baetis mayflies once again provide good dry fly fishing on the spring creeks. Cloudy days are especially good. Midge hatches continue and fishing both pupa and dry midge patterns is very effective. Streamer fishing for spawning brown trout provides the opportunity to catch some sizable fish on rivers like the Yellowstone and Missouri. This is also the time to combine some bird hunting with the fall fishing.
Do you have more questions? We’re happy to answer them!