your paddlesports destination

Jackson Lake in Wyoming

Trip Overview

I paddled Jackson lake solo in Teton NP from Colter Bay Picnic area to Moran Bay in my WS Pungo 14. I started at 7:30 AM in glass-like peaceful water and headed straight out from the eastern shore at Colter Bay to the West shore crossing open water in the shadow of the towering and glacier streaked mount Moran.

About half way out, I realized that this Teton was way further than the map and my eyesight may indicate. So I chose a tack about 2-3 miles north of the Moran Bay and upon reaching the western shore paddled south toward Moran. This route was approximately 7 miles, with 4-5 being open water.

The return route was less direct as the afternoon winds on Jackson lake are consistently high. Do not underestimate this certain fact.

After about an hour of rest and swim in Moran Bay which was victim to the big fires of 1987 and is recovering well, I headed out in open water to the first big island to the east and traveled the north shore. Then heading north east from one island to the next and along peninsulas, often crossing open water chop with waves big enough to break on the bow at a rate of every 5 seconds or so until finally reaching the picnic area beach at about 3:30 PM.

The Pungo worked out just fine but probably only because I am 6' and 295 with my 20# pack placed in the bow, I had plenty of butt ballast and weighted front end to track this rig acceptably. But if you are not as I, use a Sea worthy Kayak for this trip.

Make sure to pack for the night even if you are only intending to go for the day, bring a bear whistle, bear spray and a knife. Leave early and put the wind at your left back for the trip back. Do not under estimate the distance and intensity of this trip. If you have any question at all, travel either north or south from the picnic area without crossing open water and have the time of your life.

To call this flatwater is certainly an underestimate.


Numerous lodges and campgrounds. Jackson Lake lodge cottages are great, No TVs anywhere in Yellowstone or Grand Teton.


$10 weekly boat registration good at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP


Colter Bay is 35 miles out of Jackson or south of Yellowstone NP in Grand Teton NP. Driving is slow, long and courteous. Don't tailgate, be nice like everyone else. smile a lot.


Talk to the rangers at the visitors centers and anywhere you can buy registration stickers.

  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip