Jackson Watering Holes
While we may be known for the towering, jagged peaks of the Teton Range, water is just as much a draw to the Jackson Hole region as it is an important element in our ecosystem. There are several water-centric activities that are ideal for experiencing in the warm summer months. Our Pathfinders put together a few of our favorite ways to get out on and get in the water during your visit.
Experience Jackson's Elemental Summer
Canoeing & Kayaking
Gliding through the water atop canoe or kayak is one of the most peaceful ways to take in our beautiful surroundings, and Jackson is chock-full of awe-inspiring options. Be sure and bring along lunch, water, extra clothing and a camera and enjoy a serene day on the water.
Jackson Lake is a stunning, 15-mile long lake at the base of the Tetons where you can rent a canoe, kayak, or even a small motorboat. Offering up incredible views and plenty of shoreline and islands for exploring, it’s a great place to spend a sunny day. No reservations are necessary.
String & Leigh Lakes are connected by a small stream, so after you launch at String Lake and paddle north, you’ll portage your canoe or kayak to get over to Leigh Lake. Both offer a memorable experience, but Leigh Lake is a bit more remote and the idyllic spot for a lakeside picnic and an afternoon snooze.
The Snake River offers a memorable kayaking experience for the more advanced adrenaline junkies. If the whitewater rafts don’t provide enough excitement for you, going down the canyon in a Ducky (inflatable kayak) is going to be your best bet. Featuring Class III rapids, you will need to be confident in reading the water and have excellent paddle skills.
Another serene yet challenging way to take in the views and enjoy a sunny summer day is Stand Up Paddleboarding. Many outfitters in town offer various paddleboard and transport options, and many of the same lakes that are good for canoeing or kayaking are great for paddleboarding as well. The best time of year to “SUP” is the summer months of July and August when the water is its warmest, and the best time of day is either morning or evening as the wind tends to come up midday. Novice and experienced paddleboarders alike will enjoy wildlife watching, mountain vistas and the solitude of being out on the water.
Whitewater Rafting & Scenic Floats
Whitewater rafting the Snake River is an exhilarating experience no matter your age. Guides will navigate you down the river on either 8 or 16 person rafts, taking you through Class II & III rapids and ensuring a wet ride. It’s hard not to smile as you’re careening down the canyon, surrounded by towering trees and the occasional glimpse of wildlife. Our local rafting companies all provide life jackets, paddles and helmets, with wetsuits and booties also available.
Prefer a calmer experience on the Snake? Scenic floats offer a unique perspective of the region as you drift down the river. Guides will educate you on everything from local legends to the surrounding flora and fauna. You will likely spot wildlife along the way, so a waterproof camera is handy to have along.
Another way to appreciate Jackson’s waterways this summer, few destinations in the world measure up to this region when it comes to fly fishing. Serene landscapes, legendary blue ribbon trout streams and accessibility for all levels make Jackson a dream destination on any angler’s list. Whether guided or solo, there are options for every type of fishing experience you can imagine. We recommend a full day float down one of our area rivers, allowing you to comfortably fish as you drift downstream. A number of guides in the Valley provide expert service, local insights and all you need for a day on the water.