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Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting: The Essentials

A Jackson Hole whitewater rafting trip via the Snake River Canyon is a popular excursion for summer visitors. Learn everything you need to know about preparing and planning your own whitewater rafting expedition here!
Whitewater Rafting with SandsWhitewater Rafting with Sands

An 8-mile Jackson Hole whitewater rafting excursion through the Snake River Canyon is fun for the whole family and generally takes up about 4 hours of your day. It is recommended that you arrange your trip with one of the area's respected guiding outfits, as they have the expert knowledge to navigate the Class II and III rapids of the Snake River and keep the whole group safe. This is the perfect trip for you if you love sun and splashy thrills...and yes, you will be getting wet!

Quick Facts

  • Duration: Allocate 4 hours from door-to-door, with 45 minutes to an hour and a half on the river.
  • Cost: $60-100; reduced rates for children.
  • Where? The Snake River Canyon south of the town of Jackson.
  • Ages: It depends on the season. During most of the summer and early fall, ages 6 and up, and in the early season, ages 14 and up. Check with our chosen outfitter.
  • Intensity: Moderate. On smaller boats, you will be expected to paddle.
  • Highlights: Big rapids Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter, scenery, and getting to learn more about the Snake River.

Best For...

Folks that love a little bit of a thrill and don't mind getting wet. Keep in mind that you will be assisting with paddling, so be sure you feel comfortable with moderate physical activity. Seniors who can handle a bit of cold water and exertion should also be fine on a whitewater rafting trip in Jackson Hole, but check with your doctor to be sure. Children of varying age ranges are also welcome on expeditions depending on the season.

Related: Whitewater Rafting vs. Taking a Scenic Float Trip

What are my options?

Most of Jackson Hole's whitewater rafting tour operators offer a variety of options, including those that include meals or even an overnight in the Snake River Canyon. In addition, many offer a choice in boat size: an 8-person paddle raft or 14-person raft. The 8-person paddle raft means you'll have more of a chance to get involved in paddling the boat and really experiencing the drama of the rapids. The 14-person raft is perfect for you if you'd rather relax a little bit more during your trip, or are traveling with a variety of age ranges.

Due to the popularity of whitewater rafting in the summer, we recommend that you make reservations ahead of time. Occasionally, bad weather conditions can cause trip cancellations. 

What's included?

Your outfitter will provide transportation to and from Jackson and all paddles and lifejackets, as well as guide services. Wetsuits and other gear are available to rent.

When's a good time to go?

During the late spring and early summer, the Snake River tends to run high and fast due to snowmelt traveling down from the mountains. This results in bigger rapids, but also means that these trips are not recommended for young children or those in poor physical condition. From July onward, a bit of this high water smooths out.

Trips are offered at several time slots per day in peak rafting season. If you've got a busy day planned, be sure to set aside 4 hours from door to door for your whitewater rafting expedition; that way you won't be late to your next activity!

What should I bring?

Get the skinny on what to bring whitewater rafting with our complete list.

The Last Word

If you're still wondering what it's like to go on a whitewater rafting trip in Jackson Hole, perhaps it's time to book a trip for yourself! This is a great activity for groups and can be fitted around your other plans. It is also very safe—most of the risk lies in getting a sunburn or being whacked with your neighbor's paddle. Whitewater rafting also provided a chance to learn more about Jackson Hole and its amazing waterway from an experienced guide while enjoying unmatched scenic beauty and exciting rapids. Beat the heat today!

Traveler Tip: Don't forget to tip your guide!

Jackson Hole Whitewater Companies

Whitewater Rafting Snake River
307-733-1000|Map||
The coolest thing you'll do all summer! Providing 54 years of lifetime memories, we are Jackson Hole's original rafting company. Our river adventures include wet and wild whitewater trips, beautiful scenic floats with homemade lunch at our riverside picnic, ...

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307-733-6203|Map||
Mad River Boat Trips offers daily whitewater trips on three types of rafts. You can even join us for dinner on the river when you select our famous Riverside Steak or Trout Cookout trip.

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Sands Whitewater Rafting Snake River
307-733-4410|Map||
Half-day whitewater float trip led by Sands Whitewater’s professional guides, these trips are like nature’s roller coaster, but with much better scenery and zero motion sickness. Set against the backdrop of the lush Snake River Canyon, each one of our 8-mile...

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Leisure Sports
307-733-3040|Map||
Leisure Sports has been Jackson Hole’s leading “Do-It-Yourself” rental and retail outdoor store since 1986. Our company is a locally owned family operated business conveniently located in the town of Jackson.

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