On August 21 - 23, 2019, two of us biked from Upper Whitefish Lake in Flathead National Forest, over Red Meadow Pass, down to the North Fork of the Flathead River, then packrafted the North Fork of the Flathead to Big Creek Campground.
We parked our car at Big Creek Campground, then arranged a shuttle for us and our gear to Upper Whitefish Lake. It was a two hour drive, most on paved highways until the last 12 miles or so. One could bike this section to complete the loop if one had time, but we were short on time.
At Upper Whitefish Lake, we assembled our gear and prepped our bikes. Used Revelate bike bags (jellyroll and seat bags) for most of our gear, then used Titan straps to strap boats/paddles to the handlebars above the jellyrolls, which worked great.
We biked up over Red Meadow Pass to Red Meadow Pass Lake where we camped. Probably walked as much as biked. Started at 4P, arrived at camp around 6P. Didn’t have a great campsite but were able to hang out at the lake which was beautiful.
Next day was all downhill on nice gravel road riding from the lake down to the North Fork of the Flathead. Fast and easy. Once at the North Fork road, go north to a legal put in at Ford, or south to legal put in near Polebridge. In between, it seems most access is through private property.
We put most gear inside our boats using the cargo fly. We put the bike bags directly inside the boats. We had a Cariboo and a Yukon Yak. Bikes were easily secured to the front of the boat, removing only the front tire, and strapped with Titan straps. We put a small amount of gear in backpacks in rear of boat.
Floating was easy on the North Fork. Wide, no meaningful wood, slow. Almost no dragging. Flows for the days we were on the river were 850-890 cfs. This equated to around 3 MPH overall.
The beginning of the float has great mountain views into Glacier NP. These become less as you go south. The river is not very remote feeling, with roads on both sides and sounds of cars, homes and structures also seen on the west side. Easy camping throughout, high potential for wildlife. We had an excellent float by a black bear climbing a tree.
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