Spring on the Gallatin: By the Numbers

The Gallatin River is our backyard playground—we fish it, paddle it, swim it, hunt it, meander it. Come spring, it’s more dynamic than ever, waking from a season-long slumber, roaring to life once again. Here are some facts and figures about Bozeman’s beloved local waterway. 

Etymology: Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury during Lewis & Clark expedition (and longest-serving Treasury Secretary in U.S. history)
Headwaters: Yellowstone National Park, northwest corner
Terminus: Three Forks, MT (headwaters of the Missouri River)
Length: 120 miles
Descent: 2,500 vertical feet

Ordinary Rating: Class I-II
Whitewater Rating: Class III-IV, through Gallatin Canyon during runoff

Highest peak runoff: 9,160 cfs – June 2, 1997
Lowest peak runoff: 1,740 cfs – May 8, 1934

Average April streamflow: 503 cfs
Average May streamflow: 1,810 cfs
Average June streamflow: 2,920 cfs
June 7: highest daily average streamflow, 3,340 cfs 

Risk Factor: The Gallatin can be deadly any time of year, but spring is particularly dangerous. The water is high, cold, and full of debris. The most recent death occurred at peak runoff in 2015—don’t underestimate our backyard playground.

All readings taken at Gallatin Gateway 
cfs = cubic feet per second