Maiden Missoula Review: Zootown Surfers


Being Missoulians, one of our family’s favorite summer activities is rafting.

My hubby, the kiddos, me, and even the dog, love to air up a raft or some inner tubes and jump in some moving water on a hot afternoon. We’ve done three rivers in three days, after-work urban floats, days long river trips, whitewater, and slow-moving lazy late fall float trips. I can row and my husband is an excellent navigator and certified life guard. We are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to loading up the boat and planning a river adventure.

This summer was a late start to our river fun and some of the rivers are still running high and fast – a little too high and fast for me to be comfortable navigating the Alberton Gorge without some expert advice. So I turned to fellow Make It Missoula blogger and river rat Jason Shreder of Zootown Surfers to hook my husband and me up with a guided Gorge trip for us and two other couples.

My husband was stoked that he was off the hook for airing up a raft and packing up all our gear, to say nothing of the great trip we had!

Our guide, Will, was great! He was full of fun river lore, points of interest, insider tips, and more. And he was experienced enough to guide us right into some HUGE waves. We surfed some great rapids all while feeling safe, secure, and in control.

During out float, a photographer from Montana River Photography snapped some pics of us hitting a great wave. It gave us some great perspective and, when we pulled them up on the website a day later, we had proof of our river cred.

At the pullout in Tarkio, our van was ready to have us easily lift the raft on the trailer and give us a quick ride back to the scenic Zootown headquarters. Once there, we cracked our complimentary cold PBR, shot some hoops, enjoyed the deck, and chatted with Jason, Will, and the other guides.

I had never considered actually using a service like Zootown before. I live in Missoula, I have access to a raft, and I have a competent river partner. But I gotta tell you, it was a great treat! Whether you’re an out-of-towner or a local, treat yourself and hire a guide! For about $45-$65 per person you can pick a river trip for you and your family or friends and kick back and enjoy the float.

Enjoy the river and tip your guide!

Whitewater Photo by Mike Malament, Montana River Photography.

Like this Maiden Missoula product review?  Chances are you’ll like learning about these Made In Missoula products:  Zootown Arts Community Center, Made In Missoula Wedding Gifts,  and  Flexsolate Gym in a Bag.  Please let us know if you have your own Made in Missoula products–use the facebook comment section below and be sure to click +1 on this blog.

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Leah Lewis is living the dream on Missoula’s Northside with her handsome and handy husband Mark, daughters Zoe and Mila, two dogs, and a cat.  She enjoys making things on her sewing machine, with her knitting needles, and in her kitchen. You can listen to her play today’s pop music every day on Fresh 104.5 FM, or listen to her podcast about hundred or more year old pop music on her classical music podcast with Darko Butorac from the Missoula Symphony. You might catch Leah and her family relaxing in their backyard, cheering on the Missoula Osprey, or rooting for the Lady Griz on any given weekend.