The summer in Jackson Hole is personally my favorite time of year. With blue skies, warm temperatures and so many activities to participate in, you'll never be bored. One of the best ways to explore the area is through a river rafting trip. Whether you are looking for high adventure while rafting down the whitewater or you're looking to find wildlife while exploring Grand Teton National Park, you can't go wrong. There are numerous rafting companies located in Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park that offer a variety of trips. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 for a basic trip to $200 for a more custom experience. I'll highlight a few of my favorite types of trips but do a bit of research to figure out the best company to accommodate the needs of you and your family or friends.
This is the trip most people think of when they decide to go rafting. You can expect huge waves, intense moments and the possibility of ending up in the water instead of in your seat. Whitewater rafting down the Snake River is definitely created for those with a sense of adventure. Most companies have an age minimum for children (check ahead of time). If you have health issues or aren't comfortable with water, you may want to explore other options. These trips usually begin just south of Hoback Junction and wind through the scenic and beautiful Snake River Canyon. You can expect the trip to last anywhere from 3-5 hours so eat beforehand and drink plenty of water. Although the Snake River Canyon is an incredibly photographic canyon, leave your cameras at home. Depend on local photo companies to catch those exciting whitewater moments.
Scenic Float (In or Outside Grand Teton National Park)
One of my favorite ways to explore Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole in general is on the water. Taking a scenic float offers a fantastic vantage point to view birds, large mammals (including the rare bear or wolf sighting) and local flora. Bring your camera and be prepared to take quite a few photos. Local guides are often amateur (or professional) wildlife biologists and historians and can tell you so much about the area and its inhabitants, listen up and ask all sorts of questions. These trips are usually good for a multitude of ages, from grandparents to young children, but check with specific companies for their specific rules. Scenic float doesn't mean there isn't a possibility to end up in the water. Always follow your guide's instructions and be alert.
Looking for a bit more time on the river? Want to eat some tasty chow while snapping photos of the sunrise over the Grand Teton? Most companies offer creative packages to extend your time on the river, offer you a chance to sleep riverside or even combine scenic and whitewater trips. Your best bet is to look around at what local companies are offering to see what fits your needs. Specials are usually offered early season so if you don't mind the brisk air, you can usually save a bit of cash.
Whatever trip you decide, you can't go wrong with a day on the Snake River. From my personal experience, try them both! Both scenic and whitewater trips offer you such different experiences on the water that it's worth getting out and trying both if you are up for it. Whatever you choose, you aren't likely to forget your time on the Snake River anytime in the near future.
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