Grand Teton: Wild and scenic float on the Snake River

Road Journals Blog—I moved to Jackson with the intention of staying for one year, then returning to the “real world” to begin law school. I can recall the exact moment during my second week as a Wyoming resident that I knew for sure there was no way a year would be enough time.

 

I was reclining in the front of a raft drifting down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

It's one thing to stand on the banks of the Snake River, admiring bald eagles and osprey swooping overhead, and the way the glacial runoff reflects the mountains and aspens and pines along its banks—and quite another to float the river for several hours and watch the scenery change.

Even though it’s been 13 years since my first float down the Snake, I remember it like it was yesterday. (My memory is helped by the fact I re-create the experience several times every summer.) My new friends and I put in at Pacific Creek, a launch area just inside the park’s Moran entrance. Within the first mile, there was a moose on the shore and a bald eagle’s nest high in a tree.

We came upon some trees downed in the river and, as the moose and eagle nest passed from view, had to concentrate on the water. Looking down at the river—so different from the Lake Michigan water I was used to—I saw trout hiding in holes along the banks and rising to nibble bugs on the surface.

Every so often, we’d catch a glimpse of another boat ahead of us . . . and then it or we would disappear behind a bend and our boat would again have the Snake all to itself.

Q: What do you prefer—a leisurely float or a rip-roaring raft adventure? I'd love to hear your stories.

[The Grand Teton Lodge Company runs daily float trips on a 10-mile section of the Snake daily from May 21 – Oct. 1 (water levels permitting). Trips depart from Jackson Lake Lodge; (307) 543-2811; gtlc.com.]

Dina Mishev's article, "An Insider's Guide to Grand Teton National Park," can be found in VIA's 2011 spring edition in the Mountain West region, comprising Montana, Wyoming and Alaska.

 

This blog post was first published in January 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.