Belt Creek, Montana

Belt Creek is a tributary of the Missouri River located in the Little Belt Mountains of Central Montana. Learn about the rich history of this treasured creek and check current river conditions.

2 years ago   •   2 min read

By Chris Dunbar

Belt Creek originates in the Little Belt Mountains located in Central Montana and eventually flows into the Missouri River north of Great Falls, MT.  Although a relatively short river at 80 miles in length, Belt Creek contains a wealth of geological and historical treasures.  The Sluice Boxes State Park offers great hiking through the canyon, but one of the most memorable ways to experience this hidden gem is to float the approximately 14 miles from Monarch, MT to the state park trailhead.  Despite its small size, Belt Creek offers an exciting whitewater experience and is one of the best places to visit in Montana if you're looking for a fast-paced adventure that is off the beaten path.

When floating Belt Creek, the most interesting stretch lies just a few miles before the take-out; Here the landscape changes from an already small creek to a narrow canyon, at times less than 20 feet wide, with towering walls shaped like the sluice boxes from mining days past.

This area is notorious for the dangerous log jams and strainers that can form between the narrow canyon walls.

The Sluice Boxes canyon is not a brief section, either.  This amazing scenery continues for approximately 1 - 2 miles before opening back up to the larger limestone vistas.  Throughout this section you will also notice man-made stone retaining walls that once supported a rail system throughout the canyon.

This rail system was used for both mining purposes and, on Sunday mornings, a fishing train that ran for over 30 years to transport anglers from Great Falls to Belt Creek and back.

Current Belt Creek flows

Belt Creek Flows

River hazards can exist at almost any water level on Belt Creek. Always check with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks or shoot an email to info@montanawatershed.com if you are unsure of the conditions.

Montana SNOTEL report

Current Snow Water Equivalent YTD for the state of Montana

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