Grand Teton National Park Foundation

Adventure Journal: Stand Up Paddleboard Grand Teton

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

SUP photo

Stand up paddleboarding on String Lake.

In the last several years a new trend has taken over the waterways in Grand Teton. Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) has become an exhilarating and popular way to explore the glacial lakes and rivers of the Tetons. Whether you are a SUP novice or a pro, the Jackson Hole valley has all of the resources you need to get you out on the water.

Stand up paddle boarding has been increasing in popularity around the globe for the last decade. SUP boards are buoyant, long surf boards that were originally built to allow surfers access to outer breaks far from the beach. Now an international trend, SUPing has become a way for people to explore various bodies of water and exercise at the same time. A SUP board forces the user to balance and engage both core and upper body strength to paddle around a body of water. It is no wonder that active visitors to Grand Teton have fully embraced the SUP movement.

A major contributor to the rising SUP trend in Jackson is the abundance of beautiful waterways to explore. Whether it is calm glacial lakes at the base of the mountains or the meandering Snake River, Grand Teton has several suitable venues for SUPing. If you are a beginner, String Lake is a fantastic spot to test your balance on a board for the first time. It is quite shallow and easily accessible from the parking lot. String Lake also offers stunning, unobstructed views of the Cathedral Group and Mount Moran. If you have tested out your skills at String Lake and need something a little more challenging, there are several places in Grand Teton that will do. Leigh, Jenny, and Two Ocean Lakes all offer easy access and a larger area to explore. Also, several smaller bays on Jackson Lake, like Colter and Spaulding Bay, are great places to paddle.

For SUPers who feel very comfortable on calm, flat water, the Snake River can be a thrilling place to test your paddling skills. Launching from Cattleman’s Bridge allows users to experience a more mellow section of the Snake by paddling around the Oxbow Bend. Sections of the river below the Oxbow, including Deadman’s to Moose or Moose to Wilson, are a bit longer, more committing, and require river navigation skills. The options are plenty in Grand Teton, and spectacular views and opportunity for spotting wildlife are available at all of them.

Several businesses in town can help aspiring SUP adventurers. There are plenty of places to rent paddle boards and some even provide instruction. Most businesses that have SUP rentals charge between $35 and $50 for one day.

Wherever your skill level and experience may lead you, it is very important to remember safety when engaging in any water sport. It is crucial to know how to swim, stay up to date on weather conditions and water temperatures, and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD). All SUP users are required to have PFDs on board, and children who are thirteen or younger are required to be wearing their PFD's at all times. Also, all SUPs are required to have a current GTNP boat sticker which can be purchased at any visitor center in the park.