Camp Baker, Smith River State Park
Smith River State Park has one put-in point (Camp Baker) and one take-out point (Eden Bridge) for the entire 59-mile stretch. The river is accessible only by non-motorized watercraft, including; rafts, canoes, kayaks and drift boats. Rowers and paddlers should have at least intermediate level skills. On average, visitors take four days to float the river.
White Sulphur Springs to Camp Baker is 26 miles. Take State Secondary Road 360 (Fort Logan Road) west from White Sulphur Springs 16.6 miles to the Camp Baker turn-off. Follow the directional signs 9.6 miles to Camp Baker. It takes two hours (75 miles) to drive from Camp Baker to Eden Bridge on Millegan Road (State Secondary Road 360). Driving this gravel road should not be attempted during wet conditions. Make sure to lock your vehicles and leave no valuables in your vehicle at Camp Baker or Eden Bridge. Eden Bridge is 28 miles from Great Falls via Ulm and Interstate 15. Great Falls to Camp Baker via White Sulphur Springs is 127 miles.
Since the Smith River flows through a remote canyon, there are some things to keep in mind for this adventure; there are no public services from Camp Baker to Eden Bridge. Floaters must carry their own food, water, safety, camping equipment and a fishing license. It is advisable to bring all the drinking water you will need for the duration of your trip, as there is no drinking water available at the put-in location of Camp Baker. Also, Camp Baker does not have trash dumpsters, but one is available at the Eden Bridge takeout point along with aluminum-recycling bins.
Sign-in at Camp Baker is limited to 24-hours in advance. Floaters may sign-in at Camp Baker beginning at 7:30 AM on the day prior to their launch date to secure a "place in line" for registration.
Some groups prefer to arrive at the Camp Baker put-in the day prior to their launch date in order to secure a “place in line” for registration (registration is 1st come, 1st served) and to also get boats and gear organized and be prepared for an early start the following morning. Please note: The earliest you are allowed to sign in is 7:30 AM on the day prior to your launch. Other groups, typically those living in the surrounding area, arrive at Camp Baker the morning of their scheduled launch. Either option is fine. If you cannot make it to Camp Baker by 2:00 PM on the day of your scheduled launch, please notify the Rangers (406) 547-3893 that you are running late. If you do not notify them by 2:00 PM, your launch may be given away to a “Walk-On.”
Upon your arrival, report directly to the Ranger Station office to sign-in, which is located near the downstream launch area and the vault toilets. A sign-in sheet is located within a registration box on the deck of the Ranger Station. Please note: The earliest you are allowed to sign in is 7:30 AM on the day prior to your launch. Only one member of the group is required to sign-in and it does not have to be the permit holder. Registration, including fee collection and boat camp selection, will be completed the morning of your scheduled launch based on the order of sign-in. Registration begins at 7:30 AM in the campground and/or launch areas and lasts approximately 20 minutes per group, which includes a safety and orientation talk. Each group will be provided a registration form documenting declared boat camps, boat tags, a Smith River map for each boat and one floaters’ log.
Beginning in 2015, one member of the party will no longer be required to spend the night at Camp Baker to hold a spot in line for the registration order. However, if a group does not have a representative at Camp Baker when it’s their time to register, they will lose their spot and be moved to the end of the registration order.