Hang On To Your Hat!
Jackson Hole Whitewater has been conducting raft trips down the Snake River since 1963. They offer river trip of various kinds, as well as combination packages that include other types of non-water adventures, such as horseback riding. They also combine breakfast, lunch and dinner options on a number of their trips. They’re seasoned veterans who take groups of people downriver every day, shuttling folks to and from the river in their own bus, providing all the gear you need. You can even rent a raft if you care to make the trip yourself.
Going down the Snake River in a inflatable raft can be calm and relaxing, an activity for every age, or it can be a heart-throbbing, whitewater experience where everyone gets wet and must help paddle through whitewater rapids.
The Eight Mile “Classic” whitewater trip down the Snake River allows folks to paddle or sit in the middle and hold on. This is an excellent option for families who have young children or for folks who want to enjoy the ride without the responsibility of paddling. If you want to increase the thrill level, book an 8-man raft trip. This is the kind of trip that requires everyone to paddle.
Scenic trips allow you to sit back and let your professional guide do all the rowing. We boarded a raft at 9:45 am and took the two-and-a-half hour cruise down the Snake with four other persons aboard. Everyone gets involved in conversation, asking the guide about the river, and sharing an adventure together. The chilly morning air in early October meant that it was a good idea to bring a hat and gloves, in addition to a warm jacket. Our guide provided not only the required life jackets, but extra blankets for those who wanted them. The trip was fantastic beyond belief. There was even a sack lunch waiting for us at the end of the almost 3-hour tour.
Our journey took us through gorgeous country. Evidently, there were others who felt it was so beautiful that they wanted to build a house overlooking this part of the river. We passed by a home said to be owned by an individual you might recognize for her role in the movie “Miss Congeniality,” among other roles she’s played. Another actor said to live in the area whose spread we bypassed was one who had a prominent role in the “Indiana Jones” movies. A third homeowner whose home overlooked the river was a former CEO of a worldwide organization known for its famous cartoon Mouse.
But more important than viewing an occasional dwelling, we were in wild country where animal life was present. Down in the clear water we could see rainbow and cutthroat trout. We passed several fly-fisherman, in boats and along the shore. Occasionally the speed of the raft would increase a little as we sailed through a riffle, but, in general, the current moved us along at a quiet, steady pace. We saw evidence of beaver by the gnawed edges of some tree limbs and a couple of lodges they built along the way. No moose were spotted that day and our guide said he’d never seen any bear, but we did spot a couple of eagle’s nests and found, every so often, at least five bald eagles sitting peacefully in the deciduous trees that lined the banks. Seeing those majestic birds, with the aid of binoculars that the Jackson Hole Whitewater outfitters had provided, was definitely the highlight of the trip.
Jackson Hole Whitewater offers unique combination packages too. In one such combo, they team up with Teton Expeditions to offer a 13-mile scenic expedition coupled with rafting the whitewater section in the lower part of the Snake River. After floating some of the most beautiful scenery in Jackson Hole, you get to splash through some of the wildest whitewater in Wyoming. A second combination package pairs horseback riding with rafting. “Paddles and Saddles” includes lunch at the Granery. A third combo goes for 9 hours. It begins with a four-hour wildlife safari in Grand Teton National Park. The second portion allows you to choose between a 13-mile scenic float or to run the famous 8-mile whitewater section of the Snake River Canyon.
Taking a raft down the Snake River is probably the best way to experience the natural wonder of Jackson Hole. It’s also fun for all ages. A raft trip provides everyone with a feeling of having been on an adventure while experiencing some of the best vistas in this scenic wonderland. You’re almost guaranteed to see some form of wildlife and come back from your trip with pictures and stories you’ll be proud to share with others. Don’t hesitate to give the folks at Jackson Hole Whitewater a try. They came highly recommended to us by a local hotel, so you know they’ve been treating people right for a long time. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and know you will too.
Jackson Hole Whitewater
650 W. Broadway
Telephone: 1-800-700-7238 (RAFT)