Paddling In Jackson WY

We’re planning a trip to Jackson in August and want to spend a day paddling. (Would be more if it were up to me.)

My wife and 8 year old have limited interest. Anyone in the Grand Teton area that could suggest an easy 1/2 day or day guided excursion for beginners?


Jenny Lake
or Leigh Lake, String Lake all at the base of the Tetons would be your best bet for the you and the crew. Flat water and scenery that can’t be beat!

Jackson Lake is the big one…but it too would be ok as long as the wind wasn’t up.

Falcon Guides has a book, Paddling Yellowstone and Grand Teton Nat Parks… by Don Nelson

If someone tries to talk you into the Snake River around there…be VERY cautions… depending on where you go it can develope into some significant ww.

Paddle Safe and Have fun!

We went in May on the Snake…
with Jackson Hole whitewater on a combo package:

The am 1/2 day was a scenic float looping around the west of Jackson, with a guide in a 12 person raft doing the only paddling. Very benign

The pm 1/2 day was class 2-3 whitewater south of Jackson, again with a guide in the boat and all passengers paddling. More exciting but stable enough for my 9 year old twin girls. They had a blast.

Highly recommend if your thinking “moving” water


Jackson Lake at its lowest since the 50s
At least, that’s what a ranger said when I was there last week. Water levels are so low that only hand-launched vessels are allowed to put in at Colter Bay. This is GOOD news for you if you are interested in paddling a little bit of Jackson Lake. You will need to get a boat permit ($5 for 10 days), available right in the Colter Bay visitor complex, if you use your own boats rather than using a guide service’s package tour.

String and Leigh Lakes were beautiful the year that I paddled them (2002)–not sure if low water levels have made them less attractive. Two Ocean Lake was down enough to make it not worth paddling, IMO (reduced shoreline mileage). But it would still be a nice place for a new paddler to go.

There are at least two outfitters out of Jackson Hole who run day trips in the area.

Boat Rental at Colter Bay
Several years ago you could rent a canoe at Colter Bay, no real need for a guide to paddle around the shore. Unless you already have reservations at Colter Bay cabins you have to do first come first serve camping or drive in from Jackson area.

String&Leigh Lake rentals
Many years ago you use to be able to rent canoes from the lodge over by String/Leigh lakes. You can also rent them from Dornan’s (Family owned buisiness that has a store, gift shops, tepees to eat in, laundromat etc.) right were you turn off of the main drag to go into the Jenny Lake entrance. You would need away to car top it from them.

G Tetons/Yellowstone
Jenny lake, string lake, lake moran and of course yellowstone lake, the oxbow section of the Snake River is very nice also for safe paddling conditions and plenty of wildlife such as moose, bald eagles, otters, etc. Waters can be quite cold in some of the lakes so be careful.

Falcon books has a paddling guide to GT and YS, local outfitters seem to push for lessons first if your renting boats or taking a tour.

Lots of rafting outfitters as well for the trickier sections of the snake.



Thanks for the suggestions! Gonna have to research a tour of one of the lakes.

whatever you do try and do a sunset paddle up near the top of lake yellowstaone at sunset. you’ll see lots of moose near the waters edge in the marsh area


paddle across jenny lake to the ‘other side’ and have a piucnic at the base of the tetons

Yellowstone Lake
Yellowstone Lake is where kayakers and canoeist go. I’d look there. It’s close enough.