Your Snake River Adventure: Scenic Float or Whitewater?

Scenic Floats on the Snake River - Jackson Hole

There are two options for rafting down the Snake River and I’ve always been struck by how they epitomize the two main sides of Jackson Hole. From one perspective, Jackson is a place of peace and tranquility. This is a great place to get lost in nature. You can take a long walk down a quiet path and listen to the wind as it flutters through the aspen leaves. The striking vistas make it hard not to breathe deeply and clear your mind of everything but the stunning natural beauty of the present moment. I moved to Jackson Hole from Los Angeles and spent the first year marveling daily at how relaxing the environment is compared to city life. The people are nice, happy and friendly and they create an atmosphere that is contagious. A few days in Jackson and it’s hard not to chill out.

Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River

Not everyone comes to Jackson for relaxation though. Jackson is just as much a get away for adrenaline junkies and action addicts as those in search of peace and quiet. In the winter, there is snowmobiling, dogsledding and some of the most extreme skiing terrain in North America. In the summer, there is everything from mountain biking to paragliding. Even a trip to the rodeo will get your heart pumping. There is always a new opportunity for an epic adventure just around the corner. It’s what makes living here, in the mountains, incredibly exciting and fun, although, at times, exhausting.

The balance between these two sides of Jackson is what makes it such a magical place. You can easily experience either the leisure or thrill by taking a rafting trip down the Snake River. Visitors to Jackson frequently ask, should we do the scenic trip or whitewater rafting? To be honest, even locals contemplate the question.

Questions to Ask When Choosing Your River Experience:

Snake River Rafting

Are you looking for relaxation and time to learn about local terrain, history and plants? Would you like to focus on animal sightings? Would you love an opportunity to ask your river guide some questions about the Snake River and Jackson Hole? Do you have children under the age of six? Does the thought of possibly being ejected from the raft and into the water make you shake with fear? If you are answering yes to the previous questions, you should be taking a scenic rafting trip. Click here to learn more about Float Trips on the Snake River

Whitewater Rafting - Jackson Hole

On the other hand, are you ready for some heart-pumping adventure with your family and friends? Are you ready to dig your paddle into the water and ride the rapids? Are you excited by the thought of getting a bit wet and maybe even getting in the river? Is it time for more action and less sight seeing? If you are nodding an enthusiastic yes, then you are ready to go whitewater rafting. Click here to learn more about Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River

Both are a great experience for totally different reasons. If you have the time, a lot of people enjoy taking both trips down the river. Each will expose you to a side of Jackson Hole that is not to be missed. And, hey, if you only have time for one you can always come back next year.

Interested in getting on the Snake River? Check out our Saddles and Paddles Package and experience a horseback ride with Teton views!

Float the Famed Snake River

Floating the Famed Snake River in Jackson Hole Offers a Fresh Perspective

The Snake River winds itself through much of the Pacific Northwest of the United States including the Jackson Hole Valley. Why not follow its path during your stay to see the spectacular sites from its perspective?

Float Trips through Grand Teton National Park are something everyone should have (and knock off) their bucket list. Spring Creek Ranch will set you up with the float trip that’s right for you and your family.

Snake River Whitewater Rafting Float Trips

Barker-Ewing Whitewater Rafting - Drenched but smiling!

Barker-Ewing Whitewater Rafting - Drenched but smiling! Photo: Barker-Ewing


The Snake River is internationally known as one of the best and most consistent white water adventures in North America.

Running through rapids with names like the Big Kahuna, Three Oar Deal, the California Curl, Taco Roll, and Lunch Counter, you know that you are in for a top-notch adventure.

On a scale from I-VI, the rapids on the Snake River are class II-III during normal water flows and are termed, “pool and drop,” which means they are spaced out with calm water sections in between.

You don’t need any experience to whitewater raft and it’s a great activity for most people. Usually the minimum age is six years old, but can change with varying river conditions. Spring Creek Ranch representatives will set you up with the right trip and may even recount some of their own tales from firsthand experience.

Whitewater Rafting Float Trip Essentials

Spring Creek’s qualified whitewater rafting outfitters provide type V personal floatation devices (PFD’s), or “life jackets,” and shuttles to and from the float. You should dress in clothes that can get wet like swimsuits or quick-dry shorts, avoiding cotton and relying on wool or polypro layers if you need warmth. Wear water shoes like Teva or Chaco sandals (but, they shouldn’t be flip flops or the slip-on type) or sneakers that can get wet. If you wear sunglasses, use a retention device like Croakies, so they won’t get lost if they come off. Wear plenty of sunscreen and bring some water.

Since whitewater rafting is a wet activity by nature, you could consider bringing a change of clothes and a towel along to leave in the shuttle car or bus in case you get wet. Don’t bring binoculars or a camera along, unless they are waterproof. Some outfitters sell disposable, waterproof cameras. A local company called Float O Graphs will take your picture while you are going through either Big Kahuna or Lunch Counter rapids. They are located in the town of Jackson and photos of your trip can be viewed after you get back from town or online when you get home.

Snake River Scenic Float Trips

Solitude Scenic Float Trip - What Wildlife Will You See? Photo: Solitude

Solitude Scenic Float Trip - What Wildlife Will You See? Photo: Solitude


A scenic float trip down the Snake River is a perfect way to see wildlife in their natural habitat peacefully going about their daily lives without the intrusive nature of a vehicle. In the summertime, Grand Teton Park teems with wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, bison, eagles, osprey, a large variety of ducks, song birds, and small mammals.

View all this with the awe-inspiring Teton Range as backdrop. Chances are high that you’ll learn a lot about the area and its animal inhabitants, as well. The Valley’s tour guides have countless river trips under their belts and often have educational expertise in wildlife biology, geology or other related fields.

Photo opportunities abound on your tranquil float down the river. Bring a camera and have it ready for special wildlife sightings and unfathomable Teton views. Guides will often alert you to popular photo ops or those with historical significance, so listen up!

Scenic Float Trip Essentials

Spring Creek’s qualified outfitters provide personal floatation devices (PFD’s) and usually rain panchos, and shuttles to and from the float. You should dress in casual clothes (including layers like a sweater/jacket in case of cooler temps) and wear soft-soled shoes, and bring sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars and a camera. It’s recommended to have a secure strap to hold binoculars or cameras, so that they do not fall into the water, and maybe even a dry bag.

Spring Creek’s Packages and Specials

The Spring Creek Ranch Summer Adventure Package includes whitewater rafting. Find a Spring Creek Ranch summer special that’s perfect for you during this magical time! Call today to learn more about packages and specials (800) 443-6139.