Launch your drift boat, tubes or raft here - it will take you directly back to the town of Jefferson - take out on the right side of the river just past the bridge. Farm fields and flood plains next to streams, on the other hand, are considered to be above the ordinary high water mark. Floating and RecreationAlong the Jefferson River Canoe Trail By Thomas J. Elpel, On this page: Principles of No-Trace Camping | Canoe Rentals | Montana's Stream Access LawWildlife and Flowers | Invasive Species Threaten Campsites | Winter Recreation. Most of the houses and developed areas become invisible from your viewpoint on the river. Shuttle service is available for those with their own canoes or those renting canoes from the Canoeing House. The Jefferson River is an important part of a system of rivers that combine to form the majestic Missouri. The Jefferson River meanders widely through a grassy valley between the Continental Divide on the west and the Tobacco Root Mountains on the east, providing wonderful views and vistas as you float down the river. Day Five: Canyon Corner to Philosophy River With practice, it is even possible to learn to interpret the language of the birds to know what is happening beyond your line of sight. Bring a quality rain poncho or tarp for wet weather. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. However, access at some bridges may be restricted for public safety, or where the establishment of the right-of-way did not allow access to the water. We are especially interested in collaborating with private landowners to re-open portions of the old Chicago-Milwaulkee railroad bed for walking and biking. * Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes. But note that the law does not apply to lakes or to man-made diversions, such as ditches. Float fly fishing is the most effective way to fish the Jefferson River, although wade fly fishing opportunities exist on every float.       The Stream Access Law allows for waterfowl hunting within the ordinary high water mark, but does not allow big game hunting, hunting of nongame or predators, or trapping of fur-bearing animals, without landowner permission. 80 miles in length, the Jefferson makes its way through private farm and ranch land, to the confluence with the Madison and the Gallatin Rivers in Three Forks, Montana, forming the Missouri … On the south bank of the river lies Fly Fishing the Stillwater River near Bozeman Jefferson . Spotted knapweed is colonizing sand bars up and down the river and spreading to the adjacent dry hills. it. Montana is a land of extremes, and a pleasant day can quickly change to severe conditions with scorching heat or frigid rain or even mid-summer snow storms. Southwest Montana Fly Fishing is known for its trophy … So get out the field guides and get on the river, and experience it in a way you never have before! Split larger parties into groups of 4-6 at campsites. A tracker might notice the passing of a mink or raccoon in the mud along the shore, or note the perch of an owl by the remains of the mice in the owl pellets on the ground below.       From Philosophy River it is a pleasant float through cottonwoods and farmlands on down the river. Recreational use includes fishing, hunting, swimming, floating, boating and other related or incidental uses, such as camping when suitable alternatives are not available. Great time, the river is very shallow most of the time, so if there was a problem, you could just get out and stand up if needed. Access to the main entrance to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is somewhat inconvenient from the river, but you can stop at Limespur Fishing Access Site (no services) and walk to the park entrance from there. There is a developed campground a short distance up the Madison River at Headwaters State Park for present-day travelers to rest and recreate, but it is not easily accessed from the river. But some incoming landowners, unaware of Montana's tradition of openness, posted their lands to keep people out. The float on the North Santiam and Santiam River, from Greens Bridge to Jefferson, is typically packed with inner tubers during hot summer days, but … If you must build a fire, choose a safe location, and if possible, use a fire pan or an existing fire ring. * Never feed animals. Pack cell phones and cameras in watertight bags attached to the watercraft. Be especially wary of downed trees in the water, called "sweeps". * Let nature's sounds prevail. Float The Jefferson is born near Twin Bridges, Montana, where the Big Hole River and the Beaverhead River merge together. The Jefferson River Canoe Trail is suitable for half-day, all-day, or multi-day float trips.       The Stream Access Law allows water users to go above the ordinary high water mark if necessary to portage around artificial barriers, but must do so in the least intrusive manner possible, avoiding damage to the landowner's property and violation of his or her rights. See also: They cut fences, drove through pastures, and trashed the land. Avoid using campfires in dry conditions, or keep a shovel and bucket of water handy for an immediate response if you do have a fire. Stay in the main channel, and avoid the irrigation diversion on the right side near Hells Canyon. The Lewis and Clark Expedition towed dugout canoes up the Jefferson River in 1805 in search of a navigable water route to the Pacific. The staff at the Canoeing House orients canoers to the water. The Caverns Campground is a nice place to camp, but too far from the river to be of practical use to floaters. Keep an eye on your map, as it is easy to miss the creek, the campsite, and the nearby town of Willow Creek as you drift downstream. Fish, Wildlife, and Parks wanted an easement across the land for public hiking access up Sheep Gulch, but the land was fenced and marked with "No Trespassing" signs in 2015. Leave What You Find Upon seeing the terrain ahead of him (upstream), Lewis wrote “the mountains on both side of the river at no great distance are very lofty. The entire length of the river is Class I water, suitable for beginning paddlers, except during runoff season in spring. Minimize Campfire Impacts If you are a landowner willing to work with our organization, or a person with some possible leads, please contact us at: Jefferson River Chapter LCTHF Leafy spurge has already become firmly established along the entire length of the Jefferson River. Once in awhile, big parties of floaters take to the river with tubes, with sometimes in excess of a hundred vehicles parked at Sappington Bridge and along the highway, but that only happens a few times a summer. Altering a site is not necessary. Use the Canoe Trail Maps to locate suitable campsites where public use is allowed, then apply appropriate backcountry etiquette to leave the area as pristine as you found it. Get yourself and the kids out of the house and go exploring.       The Stream Access Law allows recreationists to use Montana's rivers and streams, but does not allow them to trespass across private property to reach those waterways. Those that are in bloom, or have already gone to seed, should be hauled out to the trash in bags, being careful not to spread seeds along the way.       * Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry.       * Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow-sites that will not be damaged by use.       This is private land, but we hope to negotiate a permanent interest in one of these islands, or an easement on it, from a willing seller for a unique backcountry campsite. However, there are some nice campsites in cottonwoods and sometimes junipers around the perimeter of the property. Portaging Around Obstacles Kayaking the Gorgeous New RIver We kayaked this river from Fulton Reeves Rd Bridge back to New RIver Outfitters, about 3-3 1/2 miles. Campers at this site have access to thousands of acres of backcountry hiking in Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. Along the Jefferson River, emerging patches of knapweed threaten to reduce wildlife forage while turning nice recreational sites into scratchy weed patches. Stop for a picnic, and bucket water to the new trees. As you continue on down stream, watch for hazardous submerged cottonwood trees in the river. PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. Lewis noted the snowcapped peaks of the Highlands and Tobacco Root Mountains Remember, if you are not peeing, then you are not drinking enough! State Park and the Jefferson River Canoe Trail would like to negotiate rights to this railroad bed for use as a recreational trail. That is a different alarm call than it gives for other threats in the woods, such as a hawk flying overhead. Liability Most weary river travelers will skip the camping and exit the river at Missouri Headwaters FAS just downstream from the confluence with the Gallatin River. It doesn't snow as much in the lower hills, and any snow that falls tends to melt off quickly. Really beware of diversion dams on the river. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter. Floaters can start at many points along the Jefferson River. abounds, and in many places the only visible sign of modern civilization is the The impact to private lands is equally staggering. where public use is allowed, then apply appropriate backcountry ettiquette to of the Jefferson Valley. Spotted knapweed for example, forms a relationship with a soil fungus that enables the plant to steal carbon away from nearby grasses, reducing their ability to compete. to “Canyon Corner Camp”, but a stay on or near the islands is definitely Together we can make a difference! Until recent times, most Montana landowners have chosen not to post their land, and many farmers and ranchers are still glad to see responsible people fishing along the bank. A high cave includes one nice remaining Native American The economic viability of the land is nearly destroyed, and the recreation opportunities are greatly diminished. Start by looking for the purple blossoms when the plants are in bloom, but then study the leaves and learn to identify it before the flowers come on. * Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products or use natural toilet paper alternatives such as leaves or smooth stones. It is joined 0.6 miles (1.0 km) downstream (northeast) by the Gallatin. Leave no trace of your passing so that other explorers can feel as if they are first ones to come this way. There are no major rapids and few obstacles. pictograph. The Droulliard FAS offers a convenient rest stop with a vault toilet. Diversity of habitat allows for diversity of wildlife, and you will find just about everything along the river from painted turtles and rattlesnakes to sandhilll cranes and yellow warblers, beavers and otters, foxes and coyotes, deer and moose,-even the occassional black bear. All 14 Fishing Trips. Most present-day travelers will prefer to follow the trail in reverse, floating down the Jefferson River, instead of towing their canoes upstream. Otherwise, it may be necessary to hug the right bank and tow your boat down over the rocks or portage on the left side, where you will carry gear and canoes through a narrow walkway to get over the irrigation ditch. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. But a beaver cut down the tree before Clark and his party The Williams Bridge FAS has a vault toilet for a convenient pit stop along the way. The Jefferson River Canoe Trail retraces by water an essential segment of the Lewis & Meanwhile, the fly fisherman might be attunded to the insects in and around the water, noting subtle differences in the river to know the best places to land the right kind of fly to hook a big brown trout. Rainbow and brown trout dominate the Jefferson River and while catch rates are generally lower than other rivers, there are some great fish to be found. Most present-day travelers will prefer to follow the trail in reverse, floating down the Jefferson River, … The Jefferson River Canoe Trail is all Class I water, suitable for beginning paddlers, except during runoff season in the spring. Be prepared for the weather. Otherwise, continue floating on down into the canyon for a night’s stay at “Canyon Corner ”. Available services in Silver Star include a post office and general store with ice cream, snacks, and nature books. Permanent duck blinds, boat moorage or other permanent objects are not allowed without landowner permission. In its upper reach, the Jefferson meanders widely through a grassy valley between the Continental Divide on the west and the Tobacco Root Mountains on the east. The Jefferson River originates at the junction of the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers, near Twin Bridges, Montana, and runs northeasterly 77 miles to Three Forks, where it joins the Madison and Gallatin rivers to form the Missouri River. The Jefferson has all the right ingredients to with lots of water, swamps, sloughs, cottonwood groves, meadows and fields. Don't expect developed trails or trailheads; these are undeveloped access points to some surprisingly interesting nooks and crannies on public lands. Conditions throughout the river fluctuate considerably from year to year. Stop       The legislature has limited the situations in which a landowner, manager, or tenant may be liable for injuries to people using a stream flowing through their private property, such that they are liable only for acts or omissions that constitute "willful or wanton misconduct." Take breaks and choose campsites away from others to allow them their privacy. permitting, it is possible to skip the Sunlight Islands and float all the way Floaters can continue downriver beyond the Williams Bridge to a nicely secluded 40-acre parcel of state land at the mouth of Willow Creek, which Lewis originally named as the “Philosophy River” on July 30th, 1805. * Dry conditions and sudden high winds along the Jefferson River can be a dangerous combination. From its source near Twin Bridges to its confluence with the Madison at Missouri Headwaters State Park, the Jefferson is one of the primary water sources for this section of the state. Nature is a lot like wallpaper. Take a break from the fast pace of life when the weather is hot and lazily float down the river soaking up the sunshine and taking a dip at one of the deeper areas of the Jeff. On August 4th, 1805, Lewis and a small party of men on foot scouted Courtesy and Respect Willow thickets, plus certain grasses and sedges, often grow on older gravel bars that remain below the ordinary high water mark. It is part of our mission to continue enhancing trails opportunities along the Jefferson River, ultimately connecting many recreational sites by land as well as by water. * Repackage food to minimize waste, and please bring a garbage bag to pick up any trash left behind by others. Hunting At first it may seem like a bit of work to identify things you know nothing about, but success breeds success. Form the Missouri undeveloped access points, camping areas, and ask to., there are some nice campsites in cottonwoods and farmlands on down into the canyon streams, the! 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