Helping to drain no fewer than six states, the Snake River is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is the largest tributary of the Columbia River and for thrill-seekers, more importantly, it throws up some fantastic white-water rapids, as well as calm stretches with stunning vistas and wildlife-packed banks. The river rises in Wyoming and stretches of the Snake River around Jackson Hole are particularly suited to exciting rafting tours. It is here also that the mighty peaks of the Teton Range create an impressive backdrop beyond the winding river.
Certainly, one of the best ways to explore the great open wildernesses of Wyoming is by boat. Although you may be erstwhile engaged in trying to keep afloat, those moments of blissful calm seem to encourage a greater appreciation for the natural power and beauty of this corner of America. There is a broad range of Snake River rafting tours from Jackson Hole. Here are three of the best, taking into account health and safety, value for money, and previous reviews written by those who’ve come away from the river with suitably white knuckles.
FROM: $86/per person
If you want to get to know the Snake River at its most exciting, there’s a series of Class I to Class III rapids crammed into an eight-mile stretch near Jackson Hole. This white-water rafting trip is run by the much-loved company: Mad River. This tour offers the thrill of rafting down rapids without requiring experience or high levels of technique. In between rapids with names like Big Kahuna and Gauging Straights there may be calmer spells where you can spot wildlife like otters, ospreys and bald eagles before bracing for the next torrent. Safety gear and transport are all included, but some gear, like wet suits, is an optional extra.
From $85/ per person
Luckily, part of the allure of Snake River around Jackson Hole is that there are stretches of water to suit everybody, including those who’d prefer to enjoy the water at a more serene amble. After all, the surrounding views are pretty impressive, with the jagged Teton peaks in the distance and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife closer by. Sightings along this stretch have included moose, river otters, pelicans and plenty of other birdlife. In fact bring your own binoculars if you have them. This 13-mile float takes around three hours in total; plenty of time to get a feel for the great outdoors in these parts, with a minimal chance of getting wet.
From $144/ per person
The best of both worlds is also possible. Combine the previous two tours into one catch-all experience. This rafting tour is especially good value for anybody who wants to spend longer on the water as it also includes lunch. Like the other tours, the start and finish points are in Jackson, with transport provided. Providing that the weather allows for it, the scenic tour comes first, and the final 8 miles of the river are brought to a thrilling conclusion with a series of rapids that reach up to a Class III level.