Bitterroot River

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Bitterroot River
Principal Montana rivers with the Bitterroot in the west
Country United States
Region Missoula and Ravalli County, Montana
Part of Columbia Basin
Source 45°56′24″N 114°07′38″W / 45.94000°N 114.12722°W / 45.94000; -114.12722 (Bitterroot River)[1]
Mouth 46°51′42″N 114°07′09″W / 46.86167°N 114.11917°W / 46.86167; -114.11917 (Bitterroot River)Coordinates: 46°51′42″N 114°07′09″W / 46.86167°N 114.11917°W / 46.86167; -114.11917 (Bitterroot River)[1]
 - elevation 3,104 ft (946 m) [1]
Length 75 km (47 mi), South-north
Basin 2,814 sq mi (7,288 km2)
Discharge for Missoula
 - average 2,370 cu ft/s (67 m3/s)
 - max 38,300 cu ft/s (1,085 m3/s)
 - min 270 cu ft/s (8 m3/s)
Bitterroot River at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

The Bitterroot River is a tributary of the Clark Fork River in southwestern Montana, United States. It runs for about 75 miles (121 km) south-to-north through the Bitterroot Valley, from the confluence of its West and East forks near Conner to the Clark Fork near Missoula.

Ravalli County and Missoula County along with the towns along the Bitterroot River, including Hamilton, Stevensville, Missoula, and Darby are popular destinations for fly fishing, with rainbow trout being fairly prevalent and with smaller populations of brown trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Although the Bitterroot River passes close by to many residential areas, it is an excellent place for wildlife viewing. Many species of ducks and waterfowl are common along with osprey, bald eagles and heron. Both white-tailed deer and mule deer frequent the river as a source of water and to graze near its banks. The most notable wildlife viewing locale along the river is the famous Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bitterroot is a Class I river from the confluence of the East and West forks to its confluence with the Clark Fork River for public access for recreational purposes.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song "Bitterroot" by the Indigo Girls is about the Bitterroot River.

See also[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

  • Sullivan, Gordon (2008). Saving Homewaters-The Story of Montana’s Streams and Rivers. Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press. ISBN 9780881506792. 


External links[edit]