Jackson WY Rafting Overview
For those visiting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, rafting is a wonderful way to spend a summer day. The sparkling Snake River winds through the dramatic scenery of this area and offers both calm water and white water rafting experiences for every level of paddler. On Jackson Hole raft trips, there are opportunities to spot incredible wildlife like moose, deer, and a variety of birds, so rafters won’t get bored no matter what stretch of river or type of paddling they take part in. With rafting opportunities for the whole family, from toddlers to grandma, Jackson Hole rafting trips are a wonderful way to spend your vacation in Wyoming.
Why Jackson Hole Rafting is Great
From wildlife to wild views, here’s what we love best about Jackson Hole rafting:
Opportunities to See Wildlife
Getting on the river gives you far superior chances of seeing some local wildlife up-close and personal. From impressive birds like bald eagles, blue heron, and pelican, to beavers, deer, otters, and moose, to even the occasional bear or bison, rafting the Snake River has unrivaled wildlife spotting opportunities.
Floating in a raft gives you the time to really take in the Tetons from every angle. The combination of snaking, beautiful river, open prairie land, and jagged peaks is what makes this region so special.
The Snake River offers easy rapids and even exclusively calm water stretches that make it a perfect place to take children on their first (or fifteenth!) rafting trip. Outfitters and guides regularly allow children as young as 6 on rafting trips in Jackson Hole.
Where to Go River Rafting Jackson Hole WY
The rafting in Jackson Hole offers amazing opportunities for seeing mountain views and wildlife and splashing through the crystalline waters of the Snake River. These are our favorite Jackson Hole raft trips, offering equal parts thrill and relaxation:
West Table to Sheep Gulch
Launch your raft at West Table Boat Ramp about 30 minutes south of Jackson and float the Snake River Canyon 8 miles down to Sheep Gulch. This remarkable stretch of river combines calm swaths of water – perfect for swimming – with some exciting Class II and Class III whitewater. Famous rapids include Snake River Rapids, Lunch Counter, Big Kahuna, Champagne and Ropes. Depending on water levels, the trip takes about 3 hours and is perfect for all levels of paddler, including children as young as 6.
Deadmans Bar to Moose Overlook
For another great Jackson Hole rafting trip on the northern end of the river, put in at Deadmans Bar, located a half hour north of Jackson in Grand Teton National Park. Float 10 miles through the incredible scenery of mountains and prairies to the take out at Moose Village. The 2-3 hour float is some of the best rafting in Jackson Hole. All boats must have a permit to float the river in Grand Teton National Park, so this is a great trip to do with a guided rafting outfitter.
When to Go White Water Rafting Jackson Hole
Summertime makes for perfect rafting weather in Jackson. Swimming in the Snake River during the heat of a summer day can’t be beat. June through August is a popular time to visit, so there is some crowd navigation necessary in these beautiful months, but the mild weather makes it worth it. Jackson Hole is about 6200 feet in elevation, which means nice crisp mornings and comfortable night weather for camping, even in the heart of summer. Highs rarely get above the mid-80s and there are only 5-6 days of rain in the summer months.
June sometimes brings a swell of spring snowmelt which can increase the difficulty of some of the rapids, raising them from a level III or IV to a V. We recommend that beginners use a rafting guide or outfitter and confirm the accessibility and age limit for rafting during June.
Getting to Jackson, WY
Jackson Hole has a small local airport about 10 miles north of town and many visitors arrive here. As far as airports go, it’s a pretty one, made with timber and stone and featuring great views of the Teton mountains. Despite its small size, many airlines fly from major cities into Jackson Hole, including Delta from Salt Lake City and United from Denver. There are plenty of rental car agencies located at the airport so you can easily get outfitted for the 15-minute drive into town.
Jackson Hole Rafting Rentals, Tours & Lessons
If you are looking for a guided Snake River rafting trip, Jackson has plentiful outfitters to choose from. We’ve collected all the best Jackson raft outfitters here on TripOutside. These companies are all four-star rated or above and they provide top-notch service and trustworthy, high-quality gear. If you want a rafting guide, lesson, or tour, these outfitters are your go-to.
Jackson Hole Rafting FAQs
Can you raft the Snake River?
Yes! The Snake River offers some amazing rafting opportunities for all levels of paddler, from exciting whitewater to totally calm, flat stretches, perfect for swimming and admiring scenery. We recommend rafting with a guided outfitter so you have all your bases covered. Some sections of the river require a permit.
What class rapids is the Snake River?
The Snake River has rapids that typically run between Class II and Class IV, though some of the rapids can become more difficult and graduate to a level V rapid during the spring snowmelt (usually in June).
Is the Snake River dangerous?
Rafting the Snake River with a well-reviewed, qualified guide is a perfectly safe activity for the whole family. Always read the Jackson Hole whitewater rafting reviews before booking with a company.
What is the highest level of white water rafting in Jackson Hole?
The most difficult rapids on the Snake River are found in June during a particularly wet year, when some rapids can get as high as Class V.
How long does it take to raft the Snake River?
It depends on how long you decide to make your trip! Some people raft on the Snake for multiple days and sleep on the banks of the river, while others choose a short 8-10 mile trip that takes just a couple of hours.