Whitewater Raft the Grand Canyon of the Snake River

Added by Josh Packer

Enjoy awesome views of the Snake River while getting some sun and cooling off in the water. Along the route, there are also areas for cliff jumping. There are no additional fees for floating down the river.

If you have never been whitewater rafting, you should definitely go for the first time to the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. It's an amazing experience, and you can float the river in about two hours depending on the water levels. Afterwards, you can spend the rest of the day at nearby Jackson Hole for the tourist attractions and then head out to Grand Teton National Park.

Whitewater Rafting: If you like adrenaline rushes, then you'll love the rapids on the river. The rapids are fun, but there are also calm sections of river that let you relax and enjoy the scenery all around you. There are up to class three rapids, including the biggest ones called Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna. Depending on the flow of the river, Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna will switch places as being the best rapid. There are also other rapids such as Million Dollar Fishing Hole, Gauging Straights, and Bailing Straights.

Activities Along the River: You can get another adrenaline rush by cliff jumping along the river, which is found on the left side. Ask the ranger at the station where is the cliff is, or make sure someone on your raft knows the location. You may also see people jumping off the cliff as you pass by. When cliff jumping, make sure to have a rope to throw to the jumper as the river current is strong and makes it difficult to swim back. People also jump into the river from the raft around the area called "Champagne." You'll know it by the thousands of bubbles coming up out of the river. This is a deep and slow area of the river that is safe to swim for a short time. Another activity is viewing the wildlife, but typically you will only see bald eagles and other birds. Mountain goats occasionally appear on or above the road that runs along the Snake River.

Who to Contact About the Raft: You can either float down on a commercial raft or a private raft. If you choose the commercial raft, you will have a guide that knows the river very well and will help you hit the rapids perfectly. The commercial rafting charges a per person fee around $75 to $100. If you choose a private raft, then you will need to find your own guide to float you down the river. You will need someone with experience whitewater rafting, and it would greatly help if he/she has floated down this part of the Snake River. For private rafts, there is about a $100 charge per raft for use the entire day, which includes the paddles, life jackets, and rope. There's an additional charge for a raft trailer as well. Some people will float down the river twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. There are multiple private rafting companies near Alpine, Wyoming that you can rent from, which are about 15 minutes or so from your float start point.

Notes about the Trip: Do not bring anything valuable on the raft as it's possible it will fall out of the raft during the float. If you bring anything, make sure to tie it to the raft. No permits are required for private rafts if you have less than 15 people.

Start and End Points of the River: The starting point of the float is at the "West Table Boat Ramp." Look for the sign that says "West Table." Head down to parking lot and either turn left for the commercial parking area or right for the private parking area. There is a free generator air pump at the ranger station if you need to pump up the private raft. The ending point of the river is Sheep Gulch, and you can see a concrete-docking area to the right of the river. There are no signs, so make sure to get out here; otherwise, you'll have a long trip getting back to your car! When facing the dock, the right dock is for commercial rafts, and the left dock is for private rafts.

Additional Notes for Private Rafts: If you take a private raft, make sure to bring two vehicles, so that you can leave a vehicle at Sheep Gulch. This enables you to have a ride once you get done floating the river. Also, make sure that you have the keys for that vehicle when you float and attach them securely to you while floating.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Cliff Jumping


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Overall rating: 

Super Fun!

I did this with my Mom two years ago and it was lots of fun. We had an awesome guide. I want to do it again - great write up!

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