River Camping

North Fork Flathead River

According to the National Park Service “Enabling legislation for Glacier National Park established the northwestern park boundary as the middle channel of the North Fork of the Flathead River. The US Forest Service (USFS)/Flathead National Forest (FNF) has administrative authority on the Flathead Wild and Scenic River including the North Fork. FNF provides primitive camping locations at Ford Creek, Big Creek, and Glacier Rim. Glacier National Park has one designated river campground at Round Prairie (ROU) available for overnight boater use. Glacier also allows limited undesignated camping along the North Fork.”

  • Camping Sections Spruce Creek to Round Prairie- 1 party/night
  • Bowman Creek to Anaconda Creek- 1 party/night
  • Anaconda creek to Blankenship Bridge- 2 parties/night

Middle Fork Flathead River

This kind of camping is administered by the USFS/FNF and is subject to the camping regulations set by the Flathead National Forest. Glacier National park does not issue camping permits for the Middle Fork.

Undesignated River Camping Regulations

  • Each party is limited to 12 people
  • Camping is limited to designated river sections
  • All campsites MUST be located on durable surfaces such as gravel and sand bars below high water marks
  • You may burn a wood fire if it is contained in a fire pan with space between the ground and the fire to protect dormant larvae that may be present in the river sediment. Fire blankets are prohibited.
  • All food must be secured from bears at all times, except when eating. You must either suspend these items at least 10 feet above the ground, or use a bear-resistant food container. Cooking gear that can not be stored in a bear resistant container must be kept 100 feet from your sleeping area.
  • You are required to use some type of self-contained waste disposal system.

Trip Preparation

  • You should familiarize yourself with current river conditions and levels
  • You should have appropriate maps with you at all times
    • Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River Float Guide is recommended
  • You must obtain a boating permit for each boat in your group and carry the permit with you at all times.
  • Overnight camping regulations apply to river use within Glacier National Park

Required Gear

  • An overnight backcountry camping permit.
  • You need to have your non-motorized watercraft certified to be AIS free. You need to obtain an AIS self-certification for each boat in your party.
  • Life jackets must be present on the boat. Children 12 and under must be wearing a life jacket while the vessel is moving.
  • You will need Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approved bear resistant food containers. The Apgar Backcountry has a limited number of food containers and coolers to load as a courtesy for river users. They are given out on a first come first serve basis.
  • You will also need to bring some kind of self-contained human waste disposal system.