Monahan, Founder and Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides
Upper Missouri River Guides was founded
in 1994 by Glenn and Nancy Monahan, and over the years we’ve
escorted hundreds of guests on canoe trips down the Upper
Missouri. There is a wealth of historic sites along the Upper
Missouri, and the river’s remote, rugged beauty combine
to provide a unique recreational opportunity for visitors.
inspiration for starting Upper Missouri River Guides occurred
in 1992 when I paddled the Upper Missouri in a solo canoe
with a copy of Lewis and Clark’s journals on my lap.
As an avid outdoor enthusiast and canoeist, the beauty and
wildness of the river captivated me; the river’s rich
history (Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, Fur Trade, Steamboating,
Homesteaders) fed my long-term interest in western U.S. history;
and as a geologist, I was awed by the diversity of the rock
formations that form the cliffs and hills bordering the river,
and the geologic story that they tell. To this day, every
trip that I take on the Upper Missouri continues to reinforce
those initial impressions.
Over the years, Upper Missouri River Guides
has intentionally kept its operation small. At any given time,
we have only one crew of 2-3 guides on the river, helping
us to focus on a quality experience for that trip. Our guides
are all co-owners, who work hard to ensure an adventuresome
and memorable experience for our guests.
I consider the Upper Missouri to be a
national treasure, and have been heavily involved in conservation
efforts to improve the management of the river for recreational
users, and to resist pressure from extractive industries (specifically
oil/gas, and livestock) to gain a stronger foothold in our
National Monument. Shortly after the Upper Missouri received
national monument designation in 2001, I was a founding board
member of the Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument.
We distinguish ourselves from our competitors
by offering the best canoes and equipment available, most
notably our high-tech, kevlar Wenonah canoes, and our ZRE
ultra-light carbon-fiber paddles. They are the best in use
on the Upper Missouri.
My immersion in the Upper Missouri resulted
in my publishing - in 1998, a 250-page
guidebook for the river,
which is presently in its third printing. It highlights the
history and geology of the river, and specifically describes
over one hundred historic sites along the 149 mile stretch
of the river, including 13 Lewis and Clark campsites, steamboat
landings, fur-trade forts, homestead sites, and native American
habitation sites. A free copy is provided for our guided trip
All of our trips are multi-day excursions
that involve paddling through a wilderness. We place a high
priority on safety and preparedeness. I have previous work
experience as a Park Ranger (Yellowstone and Mt. Rainier)
for six years, a twelve-year member of the National Ski Patrol,
and a volunteer with my local search and rescue unit. Among
our guides, we have all participated in EMT courses, or Wilderness
Emergency Medicine training.
I worked for sixteen years as a high school
science teacher, and for 8 years taught a college class, “Montana’s
Historic Missouri River”. I’m a member of several
conservation organizations including Montana Wildlife Association,
Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign, Sierra
Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council. I hold a Geology
degree from Montana State University.
The Upper Missouri offers many things
including a rich history, spectacular geology, excellent off-river
hiking, and the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing canoe trip
through a part of Montana that has changed but little since
Lewis and Clark passed through in 1805. I consider myself
quite fortunate to be able to guide in such a splendid outdoor
setting and I would appreciate the opportunity to help you
put together a trip on Montana’s Upper Missouri River.
Haley Miller, Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides
Haley Miller is a native Montanan, born and raised outside of Livingston in Paradise Valley. Her water adventure knowledge and experience spans the gamut from fresh to salty and flowing to still. The first 18 years were spent on the majestic Yellowstone River, residing just a stone’s throw from the bank. She left Montana to embark on a ‘big city’ adventure, and after earning an Economics degree from the University of Chicago, she left the city life behind forever and landed on a 32-sq mile island in the Caribbean: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. There she was a full time sea kayak guide, leading kayak, hiking, and snorkel ecotours in a mangrove marine sanctuary. She also became a PADI certified Assistant SCUBA Instructor and lead boat dives for a local dive shop. Haley will tell everyone that Montana and the Virgin Islands are almost identical places - both offer unlimited adventure opportunities and awe-inspiring landscapes and the culture of the people reflect that with their profound, unwavering respect for the earth ….the only differences being the weather, season change (or lack-thereof) and the water in the Caribbean is salty with much larger predators!
Haley returned to Montana in 2011 after 8 years and has never felt more at home. She spends her time following Brett up mountain peaks, down mountain biking trails, navigating wild rivers and traveling the world. Together, they are avid gardeners and love to share and create incredible culinary feasts for friends and family. Haley also enjoys teaching yoga at a Helena-based studio.
She is thrilled to provide the unparalleled experience canoeing the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri and imagine the awe and reverence those first explores must have felt throughout their journey West. Most importantly, she reveals in the opportunity to meet travelers and share the history and scenery of her homeland!
Favorite camp meal: anything Brett makes!
“The rivers flow not past but through us.” John Muir
Brett Burglund, Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides
Brett Burglund is a native Montanan, born and raised in Kalispell, in northwest Montana's Flathead Valley, just 32 miles from Glacier National Park. He is an avid boatman, who spends lots of time in kayaks, canoes, and rafts. He has won numerous kayaking competitions and has paddled waters throughout the western U.S., including the forks of the Salmon river in Idaho and many Montana rivers. He's been a partner in Upper Missouri River Guides since 1999.
Brett is an excellent chef and has perfected his numerous custom recipes from an early age. He has vast talent in camp meal preparation and many tricks up his sleeve that will surely wow you!
Brett is well versed on the river's history, and he enjoys leading hikes to some of the historic sites located off the river, such as tipi rings and old homestead buildings. Brett has explored much of the land adjacent to the river on foot, and has put together an itinerary of hikes to spectacular viewpoints high above the river, which provide breathtaking views and great photographic opportunities.
Brett is a civil engineer for a Helena-based engineering firm, Great West Engineering. In his free time - in addition to boating - you can find him scaling peaks, snowboarding down various mountains throughout Montana, backpacking in the northwest Montana backcountry, and mountain biking.