day paddles in Yellowstone and Glacier

My girlfriend and I will be in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks for a few days, and will be bringing inflatable kayaks. Anyone have suggestions for flat water day paddles while we are there? Perhaps something up to about 5 miles round trip and with decent wildlife viewing options (and/or the chance to soak in some hot springs)?

Just don’t paddle that inflateable

– Last Updated: Jun-17-08 1:07 PM EST –

over a thermal like this:


Lewis Lake is a good place.
After you put, in at a boat ramp on the south end of the lake paddle paddle straight across the lake to the west side and turn right.
Then follow the shore line. You'll pass by and can paddle over a few thermals.
After about four miles you will come to Lewis River and can paddle up stream for a couple of miles to some little rapids.
We ran out of time at the rapids and had to retrace our route, but if you have time you can pull your boat through them and continue to a second lake.
We paddled by Bison on the west side of the lake, and a wolf trotted along beside us on one side of the river for several hundred yards.

Oops, I almost forgot; Make sure you get a paddling permit at the ranger headquarters.
It's a must but it also makes a neat souvinir affixed to the deck of my yak.


Along the north east shore of lewis lake to the outlet of shoeshone lake…paddle up it…current is slight, beautiful. paddle back…go a mile or all day.

also out of brige bay or grant village, paddle along the shore of yellowstone lake. these are the only two areas you can paddle in the entire park are on the two lakes…no river travel allowed except the outlet i mentioned above.

Glacier? Any of the lakes St Marys is nice

Glacier National Park
We spent the last week of May on a hiking vacation in Glacier, and although we did not do any kayaking, we’d like to return one day to do so! On the west side, Lakes McDonald and Bowman are beautiful - certainly more than five miles’ worth of paddling, but you could paddle as far as you like. Bowman Lake has no structures on it other than the campground and there is a Bald Eagle nesting area at the opposite end of the lake from the campground. Logging Lake is also a possibility, but is not as scenic. Kintla Lake is purported to be very nice, but the road was not yet open when we were there. On the east side, you might consider Two Medicine Lake, but we could not hike there either because the roads were not yet plowed! Further up the east side, Lake St. Mary is nice. At Many Glacier, you could paddle Lake Sherburne, but it’s a man-made lake from the New Deal days, and although the surrounding mountains are beautiful (bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose and elk abound), the lake itself is almost ugly. 'Hope this helps and have a great trip! wd

we flew two FCs to Glacier last Septembe
and paddled on L.McDonald and Mary L.

nice way to get a difference angle on the park. We had hiked up to Apgar Point and it was cool looking at where we’d be paddling the next day.

Used a rental on Yellostone Lake, beat the crowds paddling four days in the Arm region and saw only one backpack on the CDT in that time.

One about high altitude lakes, you’ll get wind almost always after lunch. When we paddled Mary Lake in Glacier we started between 6 and 7 am.

Addendum to Glacier Pk
Be advised that St Mary’s is very windy and rough much of the time, beautiful though.