Grand Teton Paddling

Dotting the base of the Teton Range like pearls on a necklace is a series of lakes -- some large, some small -- that offer great paddling opportunities. And then, of course, there's the Snake River, a powerful stream that offers a watery adventure with the craggy Tetons always looming overhead.

There's something about being out on the water, away from shore and the crowds with those gorgeous mountains shining down on you, that makes paddling a wonderful part of your Grand Teton vacation.

So where can you dip a paddle?

Jenny, Leigh, String, and Jackson lakes are great places to paddle a canoe or kayak. Leigh and String are best for novices, while Jenny and Jackson can challenge even the strongest of paddlers.

Wherever you paddle you have to pay attention. Afternoon winds do appear and can make your leisurely paddle less than leisurely and even raise some waves that can capsize inexperienced paddlers (so always wear your PFD). But being able to leave shore behind and explore the watery side of the park, with stops planned at islands in Jackson Lake or along the shores of Jenny Lake for lunch or just to stretch your legs is a great time.

String Lake is also a great place to canoe or kayak. To reach String Lake, simply paddle across Jenny Lake. Once on String Lake, if you head for the north end of the lake you can portage your canoe or kayak a short distance to Leigh Lake where you can head for the base of Mt. Moran or the mouth of Waterfall Canyon and experience stunning views the whole way and see the mountains from a totally different perspective.

Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Jackson Lake with the Tetons for a backdrop

Kurt Repanshek photo


Experienced paddlers might consider a multi-day navigation of Jackson Lake. There are some nice shore-side backcountry sites for pitching camp, but you'll need permits and reservations, which can be made at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose. You can find boat rentals at a number of outfitters. Among them: Dornans at Moose and Rendezvous River Sports/Jackson Hole Kayak and Canoe School.

Another adventure for experienced paddlers is the Snake River. Canoeing from the Snake River Dam to Pacific Creek later in the summer when the water levels are down is also a great trip as there is lots of wildlife and very few people.

There is a need to be skilled and careful, though, as the river waters are cold, and downstream from Pacific Creek the narrowing river channel squeezes the flow and quickens its pace. Plus, there are sections that are braided with false channels that will trap the inexperienced.

For those who want to enjoy this adventure, but lack the experience or gear, there are a number of outfitters that offer daily float trips.

Resources

Grand Teton Lodge Company:www.gtlc.com
Jenny Lake Boating: www.jennylakeboating.com
Signal Mountain Lodge: www.signalmtnlodge.com

Float Trips
Barker-Ewing Scenic Tours: www.barkerewing.com
Flagg Ranch Resort: www.flaggranch.com
Grand Teton Lodge Company: www.gtlc.com
Heart 6 Float Trips: www.heartsix.com
Signal Mountain Lodge: www.signalmtnlodge.com
Snake River Angler: www.snakeriverangler.com
Solitude Float Trips: www.solitudefloattrips.com
Triangle X / National Park Float Trips: www.trianglex.com
Lost Creek Ranch: http://lostcreekadventure.com

JacksonLake Kayaking Tours
OARS: www.oars.com

Jenny Lake Shuttle
Jenny Lake Boating: www.jennylakeboating.com

Marinas
Grand Teton Lodge Company: www.gtlc.com
Signal Mountain Lodge: www.signalmtnlodge.com

SailboatTours
Signal Mountain Lodge: www.signalmtnlodge.com

Scenic Cruises
Jenny Lake Boating: www.jennylakeboating.com
Grand Teton Lodge Company: www.gtlc.com