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    River Rafting in Jackson Hole: 10 things to know, our experiences, and companies

    people in a river raft

    One of the BEST ways to see the Teton Mountain range is from the river!

    You’ll get closer to wildlife such as moose, eagles, beaver, and osprey, and you’ll enjoy the peacefulness of being away from the crowds.

    In this article, I’ll provide 10 things you need to know if you’re thinking about river rafting in Jackson Hole, as well as our own experiences with both calm floats and white water rafting. Finally, I’ll provide a list of companies from which to choose!

    1. Understand the Terminology

    Sometimes people are confused by terms used when discussing this area, so it is important to clarify: 

    • Jackson Hole is the valley that encompasses Grand Teton National Park and the city of Jackson, Wyoming. 
    • Grand Teton National Park includes the Teton mountain range and much of the Jackson Hole valley floor. It does not include the city of Jackson or Teton Village Resort. 
    • Jackson, Wyoming is a town that lies within the Jackson Hole Valley and just south of Grand Teton National Park.
    • Teton Village is a resort that is right next to the south entrance of Grand Teton National Park but is NOT IN the park.
    • Wilson is a town near Teton Village that is located along the Snake River. It is not in the national park.

    2. The Snake River

    All river rafting trips in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole are on the Snake River. The Snake River originates in Yellowstone and flows through Jackson Hole before entering Idaho.

    3. Whitewater vs Scenic Floats

    There are two kinds of river rafting trips in Jackson Hole.

    Scenic Floats

    Scenic floats all go along the calm section of the Snake River. These are all located in the relatively flat Jackson Hole Valley. They are often referred to as “dry floats,” although it’s always possible you can get wet, of course.

    Although many of the companies have “whitewater” in their name, they all offer scenic floats as well.

    Whitewater Trips

    people rafting the river

    Whitewater trips all go through the Snake River Canyon, which is just south of Jackson Hole. This is a stunningly gorgeous canyon. This canyon is world-famous.

    It has class III rapids (class V is the most difficult). This means they are wild, but not too wild. They are family-friendly (must be 6 or older), though it’s definitely possible you can get thrown from the raft.

    We’ve had multiple family members thrown from the raft before. We have used our own raft and my father-in-law serves as our tour guide. I don’t know how he stacks up compared to the professional guides.

    If you’re concerned about getting tossed, ask the company you choose how often it happens.

    4. Families and Kids

    Whitewater trips

    The whitewater trips all require kids to be 6 or older.

    Almost all companies offer larger rafts of 14-16 people. Having this many people means you can have “non-paddlers” in your party, such as kids.

    All companies also offer smaller rafts of 8 people, in which everyone must paddle.

    Scenic floats

    Scenic float through Grand Teton

    All scenic floats are family-friendly. Most allow 4- and 5-year-olds, but some allow younger ones. If you have young kids, read the details for each company carefully below.

    5. Trip length

    Almost all trips are 3-4 hours long. This includes scenic floats and whitewater trips. This also includes the transportation time to shuttle to the dock.

    Scenic floats range from 8 miles to 13 miles, and the whitewater trips are almost all 8 miles.

    Some companies offer combination trips, which essentially doubles the time. Combo trips include a meal in between the scenic floats and whitewater trips.

    6. Inside vs Outside of Grand Teton National Park

    River rafting trips are offered both inside Grand Teton National Park and outside the park.

    The entire area is gorgeous, so don’t necessarily assume that inside the park is a better option. However, the best views of the Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton peaks are inside the park.

    The companies that offer floats inside Grand Teton National Park are:

    CompanyCostAgesExtras
    Grand Teton Lodge Company$90/$656+None
    Solitude Float Trips$95/$755+Private boats
    Triangle X$90/$705+Sunrise & dinner floats

    The companies that offer floats outside Grand Teton National Park are:

    CompanyStarting CostAges
    Jackson Hole Whitewater$100/$856+
    Mad River$924+
    Dave Hansen$100/$856+
    Teton Whitewater$75/$654+
    Sands Whitewater$80/$604+
    Lewis and Clark $85/$753+
    Black DogCheck siteAll
    Grand Teton Trip Planner 2022 | Watch before visiting Grand Teton NP!

    7. Rafting Season

    The river rafting season is generally from May to September. The Snake River is controlled by the Snake River dam, so the amount of water that is released varies, and each company makes changes (sometimes on the fly) based on the amount of water flow.

    For example, if the water flow is faster, you’ll cover more mileage, so they may extend your distance in order to meet the average float time.

    8. Rafting costs

    Rates vary slightly between companies, but here are the averages:

    • Scenic floats cost about $90 for adults and $80 for kids.
    • Large whitewater rafts (14-16 people) cost about $100 for adults and $85 for kids
    • Small whitewater rafts (8 people) cost about $110 per person (no child discounts).

    All pricing for each company listed below is based on 2022 rates.

    9. Private boats

    Almost all companies offer private boats if you have a large party or just want your own boat. I did not list them under each company below, but they generally range from $700-$1000 for a private boat.

    10. Packages

    Most companies offer longer rafting trips that include a scenic float AND a whitewater trip.

    Almost all companies offer lunch or dinner floats for an extra charge.

    Many companies have teamed up with hotels, horseback companies, the Jackson Hole Rodeo, or wildlife tours to offer discounts if you book both.

    Companies inside Grand Teton

    Triangle X

    Triangle X is a dude ranch that operates within Grand Teton National Park. But you don’t have to stay at the dude ranch to enjoy one of their scenic floats!

    Grand Teton Lodge Company

    The Grand Teton Lodge Company is one of the official concessionaires of Grand Teton National Park. It runs multiple lodges in the park and is authorized to give river rafting trips within the park boundaries.

    • Scenic floats only
    • Grand Teton National Park
    • 3-5 hours
    • $90 adult, $65 child
    • Ages 6+

    Solitude Float Trips

    Solitude Float Trips has a contract with Grand Teton National Park to give float tours INSIDE Grand Teton National Park.

    • Scenic floats only
    • 3 hours
    • Grand Teton National Park
    • $95 adults, $75 kids
    • Ages 5+
    people river rafting

    Companies outside Grand Teton

    Jackson Hole Whitewater

    Jackson Hole Whitewater has been around since the 1960s and they recently merged with Barker Ewing.

    Whitewater trips

    White water trips go through a canyon just south of Jackson Hole with rapids rated class 3 (out of 5).

    • 8 miles
    • 3-4 hours
    • 14 people: $100 adults, $85 kids
    • 8 people: $110 per person.
    • Ages 6+

    Scenic floats

    Scenic float trips go through a privately-owned section on the Snake River Ranch that is closer to Grand Teton National Park and provides views of the mountains.

    • 7 miles
    • Departs from Jackson
    • 3.5 hours
    • Lunch included
    • $100 adults, $90 kids
    • Teton Village Area
    • Ages 4+

    Combo

    Combination of scenic float and whitewater trip

    • 16 miles (8-mile float; 8-mile whitewater)
    • 11:30 departure from Jackson
    • 5 hours
    • Lunch is eaten on the boats in between
    • $175 adults, $160 kids
    • Teton Village area and Snake River Canyon

    Packages

    They also offer a variety of other combination packages:

    • Wildlife Safari Combo
    • Paddles and Saddles (rafting and horseback riding)
    • Jackson Hole Aerial Tram
    • Rodeo and Raft
    • Group Trips

    Mad River Boat Trips

    Whitewater

    • 4 hours
    • 8 passengers: $110 per person
    • 10 passengers: $150 per person (lunch included)
    • Ages 6+

    Scenic float

    Scenic floats start in Wilson (just south of Teton Village) and go south for 13 miles.

    • 3.5 hours
    • 13 miles
    • $92 per person
    • Ages 4+

    Dave Hansen Whitewater

    Whitewater

    • 8 miles
    • 3.5 hours
    • 16 people: $100 adult, $85 kids
    • 8 people: $110 adults and kids
    • Ages 6+

    Scenic floats

    • 13 miles
    • 3.5 hours
    • $100 adults, $85 kids
    • Ages 6+

    Packages

    They also offer combo packages for lodging and other experiences in Grand Teton:

    • Pillow to Paddle (lodging discount)
    • Paddle to Saddle (horse riding)
    • Wet & Wild Wildlife (wildlife tours)
    • Cast & Splash Fly-Fishing

    Teton Whitewater

    Whitewater

    • 3.5 hours
    • 16 people: $89 adults, $79 kids
    • 8 people: $99 adults, $89 kids
    • Ages 6+

    Calm Floats

    • 13-miles
    • $75 adults, $65 kids
    • Must be 4+

    Combos

    • 16 people: $150 adults, $140 kids (ages 6+)
    • 8 people: $160 adults, $150 kids (ages 6+)

    Sands Whitewater

    Whitewater

    • 14 people: $80 adults, $65 kids
    • 8 people: $85 per person
    • 3 hours
    • Ages 6+

    Scenic floats

    • 8 miles
    • 3.5 hours
    • $80 adults, $60 kids
    • Ages 4+

    Lewis and Clark River Expeditions

    Whitewater

    • 3.5 hours
    • $99 adults, kids $80
    • Ages 6+

    Scenic Float

    • 3 hours
    • 13 miles
    • $85 adults, $75 kids
    • Ages 3+

    Black Dog Raft Company

    • Scenic floats only
    • 3 hours
    • 13 miles
    • All ages
    • Only offer private trips – cost depends on the number in your party
    • Dinner trips offered

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    ABOUT US

    We’re Matt and Cheryl, and we’re in the Rockies. :) We are both teachers. Cheryl teaches special ed, and Matt teaches American history. We love the American West and the national parks. We want to help you have a great vacation on your next trip to the Rockies.

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