Russell Gates to Roundup
Three class 2ish rapids on the Bear Creek area. One after the Clearwater confluence. Finishing up with Roundup which is 2+ in runoff.
Roundup to Whitaker
Nice set of class 2 rapids below the Roundup put-in then mostly flat after Nine Mile Prairie camp
Whitaker Bridge to Johnsrud
Class: 2+ (Thibodeau) Typical route is left to right around the Thibodeau rock in the center of the river
Sheep flats has a nice set of rapids downriver
Johnsrud to Weigh Station
Mostly mellow water winding next to Highway 200
A class 1 rapid near Marco Flats
Weigh Station to the Clark Fork Confluence
Short float through Bonner
Shortly after leaving Weigh Station be aware of potential strainers. Old milled logs get pushed around in this area during runoff and change every year. There is usually a safe way through
Blackfoot Confluence to Sha-Ron
Short, mellow float with long sunlight. One gentle rapid to start and one gentle eddy to play in about 60% of the way through. Finishes up with Sha-Ron rock that has a small rapid and an eddy.
Sha-Ron to Holiday Inn (or McCormick Park)
Miles: ~4.5 (5 if taking out at McCormick)
An iconic river float through the Hellgate Canyon and ending in downtown Missoula
Mostly mellow float with two exceptions: University Wave maybe 1+, but has a tricky sidewall wave that can easily take a standing paddler off balance, this wave is easily avoidable by staying river left and portaging past it on the rockbar. If you go all the way to McCormick park you will need to go through Brennen's wave; a man made wave designed for river surf and kayak
Very popular summer float for tubers, plan on parking being difficult
Miles: 10 to the Tarkio takeout
Class 3+ with about 10 or 12 class 2 and above rapids
River left to right is the typical route for Tumbleweed. Get river left when you see the middle river rock to start the smaller rapid set just above Tumbleweed. If you stay in the middle of this little rapid set it will take you straight into tumbleweed rock which you probably don't want.
The Ledge and Cliffsides are boney later in the season. The ledge can be done on the right even in low water on a paddleboard or one can go over the ledge early on while traversing from river right to left. Lower Cliffside has some rock in the exit area and a wall of rock on the river right where the current is.