Tongue River: W-338 Bridge to Tongue River Reservoir


GRADIENT - 10 ft/mile

LENGTH - 25 miles

FLOAT TIME - 8 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Sheridan, WY and Birney, MT

PUT IN - W-338 Bridge north of Sheridan

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - Tongue River Reservoir near Decker, Montana

Tongue River

USGS Gage Station CFS at Monarch.

Tongue River


This section of the river begins about ten miles north of Sheridan at the W-338 Bridge. The flow along this stretch is slow and easy as the river gently winds and loops its way to the northeast. About one mile downstream is a small diversion dam that can either be floated or lined depending on the volume of water. Below this small obstacle there are only a few fences to contend with.

The river nears the highway several times and after about four hours you enter Montana. Along this stretch you begin seeing a few snapping turtles and yellow-bellied marmots, and you pass by a bald eagle nesting site. You also have a fine view of the Big Horn Mountains to the southwest. After entering Montana the river swings east for about two miles and then turns south back into Wyoming.

As you enter Wyoming the river passes below a power line and turns east toward the Badger Hills off in the distance. A bit further to the east is where Lower Prairie Dog Creek joins the Tongue River. Just downstream the river nears the railroad and turns north back into Montana. North of here is Mother Goose Island.

About two hours into Montana is a railroad bridge where Badger Creek comes in from the south. One hour further is a county bridge near the highway. After passing beneath the bridge you have one mile (depending on the water storage) of meandering river and backwater slews to the Tongue River Reservoir. This is a spectacular area for waterfowl. You pass by a heron rookery and a cormorant tree and three miles of shore paddling takes you to the public access point on the reservoir.