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Helena Outpost - Whole day or Half-Day Round Trip from Helena



Detail of Helena Harbor & Buck Island - (Prairie Point Towhead)

You can reach the bottom end of Buck Island within ½ hour of upstream paddling from the Helena Harbor. From there you have a choice of paddling northwest up the interior passage “The Back Channel,” or going east with the main channel of the Mississippi River. Either way you’ll want to hug the island as close as possible to find the easiest paddling, where the flow is calmest. At certain river stages you will find calm water, at others it can be quite swift, and require strong & dexterous paddling to overcome. It is more difficult paddling upstream. However, it is safer than downstream paddling in one consideration: if you flip over you’re close enough to shore to swim in. In October festival goers could enjoy live blues & gospel on the levee in downtown Helena and paddle to camp afterwards for an unparalleled experience of culture & wilderness! There are numerous wing dams & rock dikes located around the island which are covered during med/high water. During low water (below 15’ Helena Gauge) it might be necessary to make a portage over one of these rocky obstructions to complete your circumnavigation. At the lowest of waters, a portage of a mile or more is possible.

Buck Island Sunset - 5 miles
Buck Island Circumnavigation - 5-8 miles
Buck Island & Old River Chute @ Trotter’s - 5-10 miles
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