The Thompson River
Floating and Rafting Information

Thompson River

Floating the Thompson River

Lower Thompson River 
Photo Use Guidelines

The upper portion of the Thompson River is one of those rivers that may be best traversed by canoe or an inflatable kayak. The current is fairly slow, and is broken up by dead water pockets periodically. It is also extremely narrow. No whitewater is found on the upper half of the river. A canoe also comes in handy for floating on the three Thompson Lakes (Upper, Middle, Lower). Logjams and downed timber are also found all along the river.

Below the outlet at Lower Thompson Lake, the river meanders slowly. It flows primarily though private land on its upper section. Normally, this would create access problems. However, various timber companies own this land and allow recreational use of it, including camping and fishing. Below this stretch of private property, the Thompson River enters the Lolo National Forest. After entering the National Forest, access becomes even easier and numerous official and unofficial camping areas exist. The Thompson River Backcountry Drive also begins to closely follow the river, too - allowing for easy access.

Middle section of the Thompson River 
Photo Use Guidelines

The river begins to pick up speed below the bridge located at Bear Creek. From this section onto the rivers end, a raft works extremely well. Several smaller rapids and riffles, along with some waves, exist. During very high water, some Class II and Class III rapids can be found several miles above the confluence with the Clark Fork, just below the Copper King campground.

Thompson River : River Miles

Upper Thompson Lake Outlet (origin): 55.5
Middle Thompson Lake Outlet: 52.7
Lower Thompson Lake Outlet: 51
Bridge at Muir Creek: 42
Bend Bridge Access: 36
Bridge at Chippy Creek: 23.5
Confluence with the Little Thompson River: 18
Clark Memorial Campground: 5.5
Copper King Campground: 4
Highway 200 Bridge: .5
Confluence with the Lower Clark Fork : 0

Next Page : Thompson River Pictures

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