The dark skies over a Glacier National Park Star Party allow for amazing Milky Way viewing.

NPS Photo / Milky Way over Big Prairie, Glacier National Park

You’re Invited: Glacier National Park Star Party Float

Dates for 2020: Tuesday, August 11th departure. Return Wednesday, August 12th. Reservations are required well in advance of departure.

Difficulty: Moderate

Trip Duration: 2 days

Price: $675 per person. A portion of the proceeds from this trip will be donated to the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

Minimum Age: 10, with accompanying adult in Duckie

Other Price: Does not include Glacier National Park entrance fee, 7% River User Fee, or gratuity

Glacier National Park Star Party Float Description

You’re invited to a triple celebration:

#1 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is 51! Our Glacier National Park Star Party is on the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River, which forms the southwestern border of the park. 

#2 In 2017, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park became the world’s first transboundary International Dark Sky Park! This is kind of a big deal. Especially when viewing Montana’s star studded skies.

#3 Our launch date, August 11, is predicted to be the height of the 2020 Perseids Meteor Shower! You can learn more about the Perseids Meteor Shower here — we’re hoping for clear night skies filled with falling meteors. Where could be a better place to watch a major meteor shower than on the border of an International Dark Sky Park, on a Wild and Scenic River?

So, it’s time to celebrate. Let’s go on a Glacier National Park Star Party Float!  We’ll take duckies — also called inflatable kayaks — down the North Fork of the Flathead River and spend the night in Polebridge to celebrate Glacier’s starry, dark skies. The next day, we’ll continue our float down the North Fork of the Flathead River, and should return to West Glacier around 5pm.

Glacier National Park Star Party Float Trip Day 1

This Glacier National Park Star Party float trip is perfect for those wishing to explore the Wild and Scenic stretch of the North Fork of the Flathead River. The North Fork of the Flathead is a locals’ favorite, but a secret to most. The inflatable kayaks / duckies will add an element of adventure to this mostly quiet section of river, but you do not need prior rafting or inflatable kayak experience. Duckies are like canoes made of rubber, and we’ll teach you how to paddle them. 

Duckies inflatable kayaks on the Wild and Scenic Flathead River, Glacier National Park, Montana.

Fun fact: the 3 Forks of the Flathead River served as inspiration for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

You will meet us at our office in West Glacier at 9:00 am. We will help you pack your gear for the trip, go over the details of the float, and drive to the river put-in above Polebridge. This is the most remote and least floated section of this Wild and Scenic river. Moose, deer, bear, and wolf sightings are not uncommon! We’ll have lunch along the river’s edge and enjoy unique views of the Glacier Park. You’ll learn about river ecology, Glacier National Park and its International Dark Sky designation, the 51st Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers act, flora, fauna, cultural considerations, and more.

That afternoon, we’ll tie off our duckies at soon-to-be-world-famous Polebridge, Montana, a throwback town to the days of old. This area is much like it was 100 years ago and is centered on a bustling mercantile. We will check in to rustic accommodations — think bunkhouse style.  Dinner will be at local favorite Northern Lights Saloon, where we will dine and share stories before the Perseids make their (hopeful!) appearance. After dinner, Kascie Herron with American Rivers will make a special presentation about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Polebridge is off the grid, allowing for ideal meteor shower viewing conditions, if skies are clear. After night falls, we’ll gather to watch the show, and a Glacier National Park Astronomer will lead a discussion about the Perseids, Glacier’s internationally recognized dark skies, and more interstellar topics. Read more about the International Dark Sky Designation here.

Glacier National Park Star Party Float Trip Day 2

Since the Perseids will likely appear later in the evening, we’ll have a leisurely start to the morning after our Glacier National Park Star Party. However, if you like, rising early enough to witness the sun rising over Glacier National Park’s Continental Divide is a memory you’ll keep forever. Either way, you’ll enjoy a yummy breakfast featuring locally roasted coffee and homemade baked goods.

Then, we’ll continue our float from Polebridge on the North Fork of the Flathead River. Everything on river left is Glacier National Park and on river right is the Flathead National Forest. Continue to keep your eyes sharp — this remote area is a wonderful place to look for wildlife. If you’re a birder, you might see nighthawks, eagles, hawks, owls, and stellar jays. You’ll enjoy another delicious lunch riverside. We’ll take-out in mid-afternoon for the shuttle to our West Glacier office. We are usually back by 5pm.


All meals, equipment, permits, transportation, and guide services are provided. We take care of all the details so you can just relax and enjoy the beauty of the river.  See our Packing List – Overnight  for more information about what to bring.

Rather camp out riverside? Check out our Custom Overnight Rafting experiences here.

Polebridge Facilities

  • The North Fork Hostel is propane powered and has washrooms with hot showers and the spiffiest outhouses on the North Fork of the Flathead River!
  • The sleeping quarters are upstairs and include bunks for men, women, couples, and family accommodations. There is a pleasant living room, along with a fully equipped kitchen, downstairs.
  • Fresh linens are provided.

Glacier National Park Star Party Meeting Notes

Guests should call our office the day prior to departure at 406-387-5555 to check-in. The day of the trip, you should arrive at our office by 9:00 AM to meet your guide. You’ll go over your gear at that time, pack it in our waterproof dry bags, get fitted for life jackets, and then head for the river! Click on directions for how to find us. 

Wetsuits and River Shoes are Always Free!

Rafting Gallery