Renowned for their natural beauty and incredible wildlife, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks draw millions of visitors each year. Fortunately, there are ways to explore both parks that are truly off-the-beaten-path. Grab a paddle, hop in a kayak, and slip away on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake or Jackson Lake. Visit lakeside geysers, take in the majestic Tetons, and witness wildlife roaming the shores. This is a side of the wilderness few visitors ever get to experience.
In Grand Teton National Park, rent canoes and kayaks for a two-hour minimum at the Colter Bay Village Marina in the park to explore Jackson Lake. Or really get away from it all by spending two days sea kayaking Jackson Lake, hiking in the park and sleeping on Grassy Island with OARS on a guided and catered kayaking and camping trip. This trip is great for first-time kayakers and families and more seasoned paddlers alike.
Because OARS is the only commercial outfitter permitted for overnights on the lake, this kayaking trip guarantees you a rare sense of solitude.
“You have the best views of the Tetons, and you are sharing these areas with no one else in the park,” says OARS spokesman Steve Markle.
OARS also offers a three-day Jackson Lake kayaking and Snake River Rafting combo. It’s two days of kayaking Jackson Lake and a half-day of rafting along the Snake River, which travels more than 1,000 miles through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to become the Columbia River’s largest tributary. In the Grand Teton area, it offers mellow floats and splashy whitewater. You may even spot moose hanging out on the banks of the river.
For those looking to paddle in Yellowstone, OARS offers a half-day, three-hour guided kayaking tour of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake where you’ll catch unique views of geysers, hot springs and mud pots.
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