By Micah Drew
Pathfinder 

Clearwater Canoe Trail

Up, On, Over

 

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

The Clearwater Canoe Trail is easily accessible by paddleboard or kayak. Many also enjoy the route via canoe.

At a Glace

Length: 3.5 mile long river trail, 1.5 mile return hike to start

Directions: From Seeley Lake, drive four miles north on Highway 83. Turn left at the Clearwater Canoe Trail sign and drive 0.5 miles to the put-in. The canoe takeout and start of the return hike is at the Seeley Lake Ranger Station.

Difficulty: Very easy- All ages

Overview: At the put-in there is room for about six vehicles and there is a pit toilet. The put-in starts you off in a bend of the river with virtually no current. Paddle around the stream until you hit the main channel.

From there, it is a one to -two hour leisurely float via canoe, kayak or paddleboard through a dense willow marsh. On the slow side, simply sitting and allowing the current to take you will take a little more than two hours to reach Seeley Lake. Minimal paddling, but steering, is needed.

Wildlife viewing opportunities along the trail are abundant. Herons, bald eagles, beavers, trout, deer, golden finches, western painted turtles and wood ducks are common. If you're lucky black bears, grizzly bears and mountain lions have been spotted along the trail as well.


The last part of the trip crosses the north end of Seeley Lake- Once you exit the inlet into the lake proper, point your bow to the east, and look for the buildings that make up the ranger station. A large brown-two story building and dock will give you the general direction. A small sign to the left of the dock denotes the narrow beach where you can take out and start the 1.5-mile hike back eliminating the need for a shuttle.

Along the trail back to the start, there is a wildlife viewing blind which offers an opportunity to view waterfowl and other native birds.

Watercraft can be rented at Rocky Mountain Adventure Gear, Tamarack's Resort and SLE Outside.

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

The signs on Highway 83 just north of the Seeley Lake Ranger Station lead the way to the start of the Clearwater Canoe Trail.

 

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