<<Back to Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument

Back to Planning a Trip>>

 

River Etiquette

Please consider some of the following suggestions to prevent conflicts with other boaters and to make your visit to the Upper Missouri National Wild & Scenic River more enjoyable.

Is it best to spread a large group out at a campsite or concentrate the use?
Concentrate use as much as possible. This action will reduce impacts to the site as well as provide other groups the opportunity to enjoy one of the sites. Suggestion: When camping at one of the developed campsites (e.g., Eagle Creek, Hole-in-the-Wall, or Slaughter River), concentrate your use around one site or fire ring. At Eagle Creek, tents can be set up in the bench behind the grove of trees. This action will concentrate use as well as eliminate the danger of camping under the unstable limbs of the cottonwood trees.

Do power boaters or floaters have the right-of-way on the river?
Although floaters have the right-of-way on the river, both groups share the Upper Missouri and should be respectful of each other. Suggestion: At low-water levels, floaters should be aware power boats can only travel in narrow channels in some sections of the river. As a courtesy, floaters should try to group together, pull to one side of the river and allow power boats to pass by. Power boaters should be cautious and courteous when passing other boats by slowing down and giving them a wideberth. Power boaters should also slow to a “no-wake” speed at docks and boat landings.

What is proper boat launch etiquette?

During peak season, the boat launches can get quite busy. Some suggestions to alleviate some of the congestion:

  • Be patient and courteous.
  • Prepare your gear and deliver any “pre-trip” talk before you get on the ramp.
  • Mentally divide the ramp into halves and choose one side or the other to drive your vehicle down so the other side can be utilized as well.
  • If you need to leave your gear while running a shuttle vehicle, concentrate your gear and position it out of the way of launch traffic.  
  • There is a seasonal restriction on group size launching at Coal Banks Landing or Judith Landing.  From June 15 to August 1, groups larger than 20 people may only launch on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays.
What is the best method for groups to travel down the river?

Keep your group as compact as possible and have a lead boat and a sweep boat that everyone stays in between. A guideline for your group to follow is to not get further apart than half the width of the river. We suggest this because of the following reasons:

  • Emergency situations could occur (i.e. boating accidents or threatening weather) without the trained individuals present to administer aid or the needed gear to weather the situation.
  • Smaller groups are seeking opportunities to be out of sight and sound of other groups.
  • Motorized craft (especially jet boats) have an easier time passing a compact group rather than numerous individuals spread out down the river.

Suggestion : If strong winds prevail, you might want to consider lashing boats together. Also, if you have paddlers struggling to keep up, they might have to be towed behind another boat

Access

Boaters' Guide, Maps and Information Packet

 Campfires

Camping

 Clothing and Gear

 Commercial Services

 Frequently Asked Questions

 Hiking

 Human Waste Management

 Permits, Visitor Fees, and Registration

Potable Water

 River Etiquette

River Safety

Use of Motorized Watercraft