A trip down one of Montana’s great rivers — the Mighty Mo’

Ben Smith Missoulian
Monday, June 21, 2021
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This Friday, May 29, 2021 photo, a canoe is seen launching from Coal Banks Landing on to the Missouri River near Virgelle, Mont. SUBMITTED PHOTO

COAL BANKS LANDING, (AP) — “Ju-dith Landing,” followed by a rhythmic five-beat clap, rung through miles of cliffs as 14 people set out from Coal Banks Landing on Memorial Day weekend.

The phrase, a popular one among this group of friends and fellow travelers, is a reference to the ending point on one of Big Sky Country’s crown jewels — the Upper Missouri River Breaks Wild and Scenic River. The Mighty Mo.

Defined by its towering spires of sedimentary rock and arid fields, the Upper Missouri River Breaks offers a unique territory to those looking to skip town for a few days. The national monument features 149 miles of Wild and Scenic River winding through 377,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management — public lands through and through.

Three sweltering days of paddling the Missouri may not require the capabilities of other technical rivers throughout the state, but it does require the planning, supplies and knowledge of a three-day backpacking trip through any one of this state’s wilderness areas.

Don’t forget the dry bags.

And don’t buy ones that leak.

Essentials kit: What to bring:

Three days worth of food and water

Camping gear


Dry bags

Tie down straps

Beer (optional)



What is your favorite Halloween activity?