Are you searching for a location that is simple to travel to, breathtakingly gorgeous, and where your whole family can enjoy some wonderful river time? The greatest way to appreciate Grand Teton National Park’s breathtaking scenery is to take one of the Snake River float trips. Whether you reside in Jackson Hole or are just visiting, we are certain that a Solitude Float Trip will be an adventure you won’t soon forget.
In this article, we are going to discuss what is a float trip on Snake River? We guarantee that you will discover all about the Tetons and the snake river, float excursions, the Snake River, & where to begin.
The Columbia River’s greatest tributary is the Snake River. It begins in Wyoming, travels through Idaho, and ends in Washington State, passing through a number of states. People have inhabited the area around the Snake River for countless years. Canoeing and kayaking are two of the many leisure activities available on the Snake River.
Where Is the Snake River?
This Snake River flows from its source in Wyoming through southern Idaho before turning north along the boundary with Oregon. As it reaches Washington, the river continues west toward the Columbia River. The Snake River runs for 1,078 kilometers.
It is the greatest tributary of the Columbia or a crucial supply of irrigation water for crops such as potatoes & sugar beets.
The Snake River’s drainage basin spans six states, including these:
These six states’ runoff flows into the Snake River.
Along the Snake River are several significant cities, including:
- Wyoming’s Jackson
- Idaho’s Twin Falls
- Idaho Falls is in Idaho
- Idaho’s capital is Boise
- Washington’s Richland
The Snake River may be floated from a variety of starting points as a result.
Why Go Floating Down the Snake River?
We included the Snake River among the top 15 rivers in the US for paddling for a clear reason.
It’s ideal for float excursions, particularly given that it’s close to a lot of individuals who live in various cities throughout a number of states. The Snake River is also excellent for tranquil float cruises since it is abundant in animals and biological diversity. Your location on the river will determine everything.
Wildlife that you could encounter includes:
There are several fish species.
- The grizzly bear
- Lions of the mountains
There are several pastures and woodlands.
The Snake River, above all, provides access to some of the Northwest’s most beautiful natural scenery.
The Perrine Bridge, for example, is one of the lovely man-made structures that line the bridge.
The Snake River attracts many kayakers, canoers, and rafters because of its varied landscape. It’s a nice place for novice kayakers to go on float trips because the waters are often quiet. Additionally, several businesses provide kayak and float trip excursions along the river. Later in the article, we’ll cover them in greater detail.
What Exactly Is a Float Trip?
The definition of a float trip and how it varies from other kayaking methods must be covered before we continue. A float trip is a journey along a beautiful river during which you simply float in a kayak and canoe. The main distinction between float excursions and conventional kayaking trips is that there shouldn’t be a lot of paddling or strenuous physical exercise.
Float tours are ideal for people who enjoy being outdoors but don’t like to take part in strenuous physical activity. Although you can travel by float alone or with a spouse, many people go in groups. Some individuals do day float excursions, while others take multi-day adventures where they spend the night camped by the river.
In either event, there are a few crucial things to think about before embarking on a float trip down the Snake River, such as obtaining the necessary permits.
First Having a Permit Is a Must
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which was established to save rivers in the United States that contain exceptional wildlife, designates around 67.5 miles of the Snake River in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area as a Wild and Scenic River.
To float down the Snake River’s Wild and Scenic portion, you must have a permit. Depending on the season, different steps must be taken to get float permission. You must reserve ahead of time during the main season.
During the main season, only a few kayak launches per day are allowed in the area labeled as “Wild” because of the quota system through Hells Canyon Dam till Upper Pittsburgh Landing. Obtaining a self-issued permit is possible at any time during the second season without making a prior reservation.
You need to book a place by phoning the Clarkson Forest Service from Upper Pittsburgh Landing or farther downstream, till the “Scenic” part of the river ends. But only on Friday through Sunday as well as on vacations during the main season do you need to reserve a spot for that area.
You can acquire a self-issued permit at any other time.
In addition, you require a permit for aquatic invasive species.
On the website of the US Forest Service, you may discover additional details about permits. There are also details regarding camping permits and other restrictions, such as the 24-person maximum party size.
You may apply for a permit to enter at Hells Canyon National Recreation Center at Recreation gov. More information regarding the Four Rivers Lottery system and the quota system may be found on that page. Remember that the river in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, which straddles Oregon & Idaho, is only completely designated by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. In other sections of the river, this unique permit is not required.
Nevertheless, even if the section of the river you are going on is not designated as Wild & Scenic, you can still require permission, especially if it is located in a national park. For instance, you require a permit to float in Grand Teton National Park.
Camping Close to the Snake River
Wyoming has a ton of camping options that will make your trip absolutely amazing and one-of-a-kind. Check at one of the several forest service campgrounds close to Jackson Hole for the best locations—they’re well worth it. Except for group campsite reservations, all of the riverside campgrounds are first come, first served.
Set up camp inside the Snake River Canyon for a great whitewater and flat trip combination. There are a number of campgrounds that are accessible quickly and easily without requiring much travel (but they do all fill up quickly, especially on holidays & weekends. Additionally, it’s really convenient if there are younger children who won’t be going on the whitewater since it’s simple to leave someone back at camp with them. The East Table camping, where you can access the river directly, is our particular favorite.
Here are some details about scattered camping in the region if you wish to venture further off the usual route.
When Floating Down the Snake River, What Should You Wear?
You could get slightly wet, but not significantly if you take a picturesque rafting float excursion down the Snake River. I suggest quick-drying jeans, comfortable water sandals, and, depending on the climate, either a quick-drying t-shirt or a light jacket for a float trip (early morning trips are very chilly).
The majority of businesses provide splash gear for free if you’re going whitewater rafting. This jacket or pants combo will keep you a little bit drier because it is mildly waterproof. Wearing a bathing suit is sufficient on warm days. Wear some good foundation layers below on days when it’s a bit chilly. A wetsuit is an excellent choice for rafting on really cold days.
Companies Offering Float Trips in Grand Teton National Park
The fact that you may book a tour with a variety of businesses is one of the reasons I suggest picking Grand Teton National Park for float excursions on the Snake River. Some of the top ones are listed below:
Angler & Float Trips on the Snake River
More river access is allegedly available via this firm than through any other outfitter. In addition to Grand Teton National Park, it offers full-day cruises on eight river segments. The tour is much more expensive than the previous two alternatives, but it is also much longer. There are full-day and half-day alternatives available.
Grand Teton Lodge Corporation
The Jackson Lake Lodge is the starting point for Grand Teton Lodge Company’s (GTLC) beautiful guided cruise on the Snake River. The trips last between three and five hours, and our guide will fill you in on the river’s past as well as the flora and animals you encounter. Children aged six are supposed
Where Should You Camp at Grand Teton National Park?
In seven campgrounds located across the park, there are over 1,000 campsites. In order to remain within the 7–14 day restriction, you must make a reservation for a campground in advance. Visit this page for further details on the regulations and how to secure a space. Mountain hotels, lake lodges, & cottages provide additional accommodation choices. View available lodging options here.
Float Trips to Solitude
For float cruises in Grand Teton National Park, this business is known for its expertise. Though the guides might reach you in Moose and Jackson town, all expeditions begin at Deadman’s Bar, which is located beneath the Snake River viewpoint. Two hours of scenic and animal viewing are included in the guided trips, which have a driver. For groups of up to 12 persons, you may even book a personalized trip. Children aged five and older are welcome in the National park of the Grand Tetons.
National Park of the Grand Tetons
All Ages are recommended.
Water type: flat water/float trip
Trip Duration: 10 miles, 2.5-3 hours, based on water flow.
Highlights include rafting vistas of the Tetons and animal viewing.
This 10-mile stretch of the Snake River is ideal for rafting and is located right in the middle of Grand Teton National Park. If you wish to see some of the locations where Ansel Adams took his photographs, this trip is perfect. Along this region, wildlife sightings are quite frequent. Watch out for wildlife including moose, deer (particularly in the morning), osprey, eagles, pelicans, blue herons, and even river otters.
Despite the fact that the river is level here, if you don’t know what you’re doing, this may be a risky part to raft or kayak. Read the water carefully to avoid any strainers or log jams, both of which may be quite deadly. You must have permission to float alone because you are in a national park. A 7-day pass costs $10 and is available at the Moose visitor center. Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours will be spent on this Snake River rafting adventure.
Rafting on the Snake River, Wilson to South Park
All Ages are recommended.
Water type: flat water/float trip
Trip Duration: 13 miles, 3.5 hours, based on water flow.
Location: Wyoming, between Wilson & Jackson Hole.
Rafting vistas of bald eagles are among the highlights.
Those vacationing in Jackson Hole and the enthusiastic anglers in your company will love this Snake River rafting adventure. Just a few miles south of Jackson, at South Park bridge, this 13-mile float travels from Wilson bridge, which is located close to the base of Teton Pass.
Looking north will provide you with breathtaking vistas of the Tetons from the Snake River, which is another breathtaking journey. Wildlife is common, even if the range is not as large as in Grand Teton National Park. Bald eagles are common in this area, so keep a watch out for them. Bald eagles may be identified by their white heads, which stand out against the surrounding trees and are frequently perched approximately 3/4 of the way up trees. In addition, keep a watch out for dead or trees with few branches at the summits of which they frequently build their huge nests.
Whitewater rafting on the Snake River at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is one of most dangerous in the world. There are several side channels that you’ll see as the river meanders over the valley floor. Many of these channels are frequently blocked by strainers or log jams, or they may even have split so many times that getting a boat through them is challenging. Keep it straightforward & stay on the mainstream. While the part may not appear tough to raft, having an expert local guide along with you can be helpful. Depending on the flow, about 3.5 hours to complete the floating.
With youngsters who can paddle well but aren’t quite ready for major rapids, this is a terrific spot to go kayaking.
Rafting from East Table or Elbow to Astoria or Pritchard
All Ages are recommended.
Water type: Flat water, although faster paced than others discussed earlier.
Trip Duration: 8-10 miles based on the route, 2 hours depending on water flow
Highlights: Hot Springs close to whitewater rafting on the Snake River.
Location: South of Hoback Junction, approximately 20 min from Jackson, Wyoming.
Given that it’s located in the canyon close to the faster stretch, this is the ideal choice if you’re combining the rafting float trip with certain Snake River whitewater rafting adventures. This is fantastic since it’s not particularly technical as well as rafting the Snake River on this portion allows you convenient access to both a float trip or whitewater trips, however, you won’t get the breathtaking mountain vistas that the other runs offer.
When we float through Jackson Hole during the summer, here is where we always start our whitewater rafting excursions. It provides us a great opportunity to break up the day by taking the youngsters on a few leisurely runs, followed by something more challenging through the canyon for the adult crowd. The distance is between 8 – 10 miles, and the time required is around two hours, based on the starting & finishing sites. Large parking spaces & copious signage make each boat launch in this region clearly visible.
Start near the Astoria Bridge put-in if you want a good time on an adventure. There is a brand-new public hot springs facility on the south bank of the river, but you may also reach several unmanaged hot springs from the north bank. As you go as far as you can through the parking lot and gravel road, you will have traveled about 1/4 mile upriver. There is a hardly used track that descends to the river where the dirt road re-enters the highway. The Snake River’s hot springs are accessible by following that down, where you’ll discover a number of tiny rock pools where you may soak.
Waterfront Park Centennial
Twin Falls, Idaho, is the closest city to Centennial Waterfront Park. Right on the river, it is situated at the outskirts of the city. There are many lodging options in Twin Falls, Idaho. You may take an Uber, or a cab to the falls, rent a vehicle, or utilize Booking.com or Airbnb.
It should be noted that camping overnight is not allowed.
River cruises with a view are available through Idaho Guide Service. Tours may include food, beverages, and a guide. You may paddle in a canoe, inflatable kayak, SUP, touring kayak, or canoe.
From Centennial Waterfront Park, a trip departs towards Shoshone Falls. On the Snake River, Shoshone Falls is one of the biggest waterfalls in the nation; it is taller than Niagara Falls!
Even though they are affordable, guided trips must have six people in order to proceed. Additionally, you may lease a boat for a personal excursion.
Adventure Sports: AWOL
A beautiful boat excursion on the Snake River is provided by AWOL Adventure Sports, also known as PaddleTheSnake.com. In addition to visiting Pillar Falls, the journey travels beneath the lovely Perrine Bridge. If you reside in Twin Falls, Idaho, or are just visiting, and you’re on a tight schedule, this trip is ideal for you because it just lasts 70–90 minutes. The price range of $35–45 is likewise extremely reasonable.
Check to see this website for additional details because of seasonal variations in availability. Additionally, AWOL Adventure Sports rents out watercraft so that you may go on your own.
Depending on the time of year, fishing and kayaking trips could also be offered.
Hells Canyon Float Trips
Although rather remote, Hell’s Canyon offers a spectacular journey. Oregon and Idaho both have access to the canyon’s south entrance. Highway 71 may get you there from Cambridge, Idaho. You may travel Highway 86 from Baker, Oregon.
The trip shouldn’t take up to 2 hours in any case, barring heavy traffic.
Companies that offer float trips in Hell’s Canyon include:
Idaho River Tours
In Hells Canyon, Idaho River Guides provides a three-day excursion. Additionally, you’ll get the chance to go hiking and fishing. There are expert guides available, and there is a river kitchen for fine dining. Along with transportation from Riggins, Idaho, sleeping pads are also provided.
Rafting at Hells Canyon
On the Snake River, Hells Canyon Raft provides excursions for both adults and kids. Explore the several trips on the site & decide one that fits you best. Trips last anywhere from 3 to 6 days. The distance traveled ranges from 34 – 81 miles.
Stay in Hell Canyon
Many visitors camp along the river banks since Hells Canyon is better suited for multi-day excursions. In addition to providing campsites & RV camping places, Pittsburgh Camping also offers camping at Kirkwood Ranch. The Pittsburgh Campground is appropriate for folks who want to embark on a float trip without the need for a guide because it also has a boat launch place. Only a few additional approved boat launches are located in Hells Canyon.
Q1. Is It Safe to Float the Complete Snake River?
Before leaving, we weren’t completely sure if this expedition could be completed. 30 miles every day for seven days while paddling 206 miles across uncharted rapids, portages, obstructions, and currents. The river path is perfectly achievable, & more people should and can undertake it, according to our experience after having completed the full route.
Q2. What Is the Duration of the Snake River Float Trip?
Enjoy floating the Snake River for 10 miles between Deadman’s Bar and Moose (2-3 hours).
Q3. What Is the Duration of a 7-Mile Float?
The float vacation may last anything from a good few hours to a full week. It is typically thought of as an all-day float because the normal excursion is 5-7 miles long. Due to the fact that they handle all of your floating requirements, local rafting outfitters are the most practical place to go when planning a trip.
Q4. What Is the Cost of a Snake River Float Trip?
The annual non-motorized park permit charge is $10. Each boat operating within the non-motorized
Q5. Is a License Required to Float the Snake River?
The Wild & Scenic Snake River may only be floated with a permit, all year long. This “Four Rivers Lottery” is the only way to apply for a license during the main season, which starts from Memorial Day to September 10th.
The float trip on the Snake River requires much planning. In order to find the most reputable float trip providers or a convenient starting point, I advise visiting Grand Teton National Park. Although Centennial Waterfront Park is also reachable, Grand Teton National Park is more picturesque.
However, if you can embark on multi-day float trips that involve trekking & are more of a rough camper, Hells Canyon is even more amazing.
Meet Bian, a passionate watersports enthusiast and founder of kayakwave.com
Brian has written guides extensively about kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, sharing surfing tips, techniques, and personal experiences with readers. Brian has also contributed to many publications and websites, sharing his expertise and love of the water with others.