Flowing 183 miles from the confluence of the Gibbon and Firehole rivers in Yellowstone National Park to the headwaters of the Missouri River in Three Forks, Mont., the Madison River has developed a reputation as one of the worlds finest trout fishing waters.
The upper reaches in Yellowstone Park, restricted to fly fishing only, gurgle slowly through grassy meadows and offer terrific opportunities for brown trout in the fall.
After leaving the park, the river passes sequentially through Hebegen, Quake, and finally Ennis lakes. The section between Quake and Ennis lakes, known as the 50-mile riffle, gets the most attention from anglers, with abundant rainbow and brown trout, convenient access, and easy floating or wading.Below Ennis, the Madison enters Bear Trap Canyon, a 6,000-acre designated wilderness featuring class IV whitewater surging beneath 1,500-foot cliffs. Downstream of the canyon, the river flattens out and cuts through sprawling ranchlands on its way to Three Forks.
Special boating and fishing regulations apply on various sections of the Madison River. For the latest information, check the detailed waterbody report at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The Blackfeet call it the backbone of the world. White explorers dubbed it the crown of the continent. Now named for the spectacular, glacially carved topography and remnant ice clinging to the high-elevations, Glacier National Park encompasses over 1 million acres of rugged alpine terrain.
The park is widely regarded as one of the best hiking and backpacking destinations in the United States, but most people stick closely to the 50-mile long Going-to-the-Sun road, which transects the park from West Glacier to St. Mary, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Popular day hiking destinations for first-time visitors include Avalanche Lake, Haystack Butte, Hidden Pass, and Grinnell Lake. But you don't have to look very hard to find countless possibilities for adventure. Be advised that Glacier National Park is grizzly bear country, and all the familiar cautionary notes apply.
In 1932 Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, across the border in Canada, were designated Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, celebrating the longstanding peace and friendship between the two neighboring countries. Both parks have since been designated as an International Biosphere Reserves and together were recognized in 1995 as a World Heritage Site.