Yellowstone Lake

I will be paddling on Yellowstone Lake for the first time next week. We are taking the boat shuttle from Bridge Bay marina to the southern part of the lake. The shuttle drops off at campsite 5L8 which happens to be our campsite for the two nights we are on the lake. We will set up camp and do day paddles for two days. We will do the shuttle back. So no long distances to paddle. Based on other people’s comments & some trip reports I’ve read, I have a full wet suit on order that should arrive tomorrow. I have paddle pants & a hooded paddle jacket. Neoprene socks plus a pair of knee high water blocker socks that are pretty warm. I’ll be paddling my Necky Vector 13 SOT kayak. The others in my group of 5 will be in a mix of SOTS & SINKs. I have a bug jacket for camp. Bear spray, air horn, bear canister for food, and a bear bag rope set-up. Right now the forecast looks good upper 70/low 40 temps. and sunshine.

Anything I’m missing? Any advice to pass along? Anyone paddled Yellowstone Lake and have advice on where to day paddle with just two days. We will be at 5L8, Promontory Tip both nights. Is a tour of the South Arm or Southeast Arm possible in one day?

The others in my group are heading home after we get back to Bridge Bay marina. They are paddling at Leigh Lake in Grand Teton this weekend. I will stay in Yellowstone for two extra days and I’d like to paddle the West Thumb area to check out the geyser basin from my boat. I see that the commercial outfitters do day trips from Grants Village marina to the West Thumb area. I’ll be camped at Grants. I figured I’d get to the marina around the time the outfitters launch and kind of follow along behind them for safety. I’ll stay close to shore and not go very far.

Thanks for any advice.


– Last Updated: Jul-02-16 8:38 PM EST –

into the wind mornings, downwind afternoons.

there is a Falcon tour guide at Barnes n Nobull.


WU offers an adjustable almanac for your dates.

'During late summer, Yellowstone Lake becomes thermally stratified with each of several water layers having a different temperature. The topmost layer rarely exceeds 66°F, and the lower layers are much colder. Because of the extremely cold water, swimming is not recommended. Survival time is estimated to be only 20 to 30 minutes in water of this temperature.

Ystone L
Plan your paddling in the mornings. Avoid being on the lake most afternoons. Dress for immersion. Keep a clean camp and watch out for bears. It will be a great trip.

lake photo

I have my wetsuit now and we will definitely paddle early in the day. I have two bear canisters for food and toiletries, plus a bear bag set-up.

ive paddled the whole lake
If you are at the Promotory point…paddle down each arm to the end. Shouldnt take you too long depending on wind. Maybe a couple hours each way.

I’d hike to the top of the promotory…about in the middle. GREAT VIEWS! You could also check out Peale Island (sp?) a ranger cabin on the island.

In the SE arm bottom, get out near the ranger cabin and take a day hike to the upper Yellowstone river. Nice in there.

You got all the gear you need. Probably wont need the wetsuit but cant hurt to have with. Be safe. hang food.

remember …
the date on your paddle ? I’ll check the weather archives.

What was the weather report on your end ?

1st week of august
1st week of August 2012

Cold front in Montana today. Snow maybe above 10,000

great trip
I got home from Yellowstone yesterday. We were on the lake 2 nights/3 days. Camp was Promontory Tip, 5L8. That’s the camp where the shuttle drops you off at. Wonderful views from this camp. Hike up to the ridge top for sunset was spectacular. My first bear bag experience,plus I had my food in two bear canisters. We saw bear prints on a gravel beach on one of our day paddles, but no actual sightings. We did have four buck deer who hung around our camp the whole time. They’d come within 15 feet and hang out munching on plants & staring at us. We had good weather, but the usual afternoon wind. I didn’t wear the wet suit, as it was pretty warm & sunny. Smart wool and paddle pants/jacket were fine. We kept an eye on the wind at all times and headed back to camp when the chop picked up.

Before this trip, I had no concept of how huge that lake is. Now I have a better idea and can plan for future trips with better information. One person in my group had done an 8 day canoe trip from Grant Village down the South Arm, so he knew all about the wind & distances. Perhaps a 4-5 day exploration of the Flat. Mt. arm with a boat shuttle in & out next time?

Super !

– Last Updated: Jul-14-16 10:23 AM EST –

like peeling peanuts

work back n forward from the 1st Aug ....then have an idea of what a good Lake weather forecast will be...

this wroks for Haro Strait off San Juan Island and generally for the Island area (but doahn bet in that)

ystone L
I have a 1951 Old Town Guide 18. I got it used about 25 years ago. Under the front deck is a sticker issued by the NPS for Yellowstone Lake and it is dated 1968.

That sticker is a keeper for sure. 1968…before all the beautiful tress burned down. That was the only downside of the trip, seeing all the burned trees.

Check out the Lewis Lake - Shoshone Lake trip, which is very nice.

I think a paddling friend is planning a Lewis/Shoshone for next summer. We have been talking about it.