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My Public Lands Roadtrip: Blackfoot River in Montana | by mypubliclands
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My Public Lands Roadtrip: Blackfoot River in Montana

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” ― Norman Maclean, “A River Runs Through It”


The Blackfoot River outside of Missoula, Montana, is one of Montana’s most iconic waterways. Made famous by Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It,” the river winds its way through the mountains and Potomac Valley outside of Missoula.


The Bureau of Land Management Missoula Field Office manages 12 miles of the Blackfoot River. The Blackfoot River’s waters are cold and fast with many deep spots, which makes it an ideal habitat for several trout species. Those who fish the Blackfoot can fish the exact holes detailed in Maclean’s novella.


The river also is destination for many floaters who are looking to cool off in the summer months. Day use areas and campgrounds are spread out along a well-maintained dirt road that follows the river and winds it’s way up the canyon.


For more information about the Blackfoot River, visit


Story and photo by Alyse Backus, BLM Montana/ Dakotas.

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Taken on August 8, 2015