Stand up paddle boarding near Oxbow Bend.

Summertime = SUP Time

Stand up paddle boarding near Oxbow Bend.
Stand up paddle boarding near Oxbow Bend.

July means clear, open lakes and waterways in Grand Teton, which mean great opportunities for stand up paddleboarding. Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has become an exhilarating way to explore the glacial lakes and rivers of the Tetons. For SUP novices and pros, the Jackson Hole valley has all of the resources you need to get out on the water.

SUPing has been increasing in popularity around the globe for nearly two decades. Originally built to allow surfers access to outer breaks far from the beach, SUPs are buoyant boards that translate well for people to use to explore various bodies of water. A SUP forces the user to balance and engage both core and upper body strength to paddle around and makes for a great opportunity for exercise while adventuring. 

Given the exquisite quality and quantity of water in the park, it makes sense that active visitors to Grand Teton and the surrounding Jackson Hole region have fully embraced the SUP movement. 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.

Incredible views from the water.
Incredible views from the water.

Where to Paddle


If you are a beginner, try String Lake for a fantastic spot to test your balance on a board for the first time. It is a shallower lake, offering stunning, unobstructed views of the Cathedral Group and Mount Moran and is very accessible from the parking lot. This area can be quite busy during peak summer season, so be sure to arrive early in the day or later in the afternoon to ensure you can find parking. Also, please store your food and any other attractants in a bear box or your car while you are on the water to ensure that bears (or other wildlife) do not get into your belongings.


Once you’ve checked String Lake off of your park SUP list and need something a little more challenging, there are several places in Grand Teton that will do the trick. Leigh, Jenny, and Two Ocean lakes all offer easy access and much larger areas to explore. For a one-stop SUP adventure, check out the several smaller bays on Jackson Lake, like Colter and Spaulding bays. 


Feeling very comfortable on calm, flat water? Then the Snake River can be a thrilling place to test your paddling skills. Launch at the Jackson Lake Dam and take out at Pacific Creek for a more mellow experience on the Snake. Sections of the river below the Oxbow, including Pacific Creek to Deadman’s or Deadman’s to Moose, are a bit longer, more committing, and require expert level river navigation skills. The options are plenty in Grand Teton, and spectacular views and opportunities for spotting wildlife are available at all of them.

Remember Your Permits!

Remember to purchase the $25 non-motorized permit at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal from a local fishing gear store or online at for any paddleboard taken into the park. Another option is to rent. Several businesses in town have SUPs with both the non-motorized and AIS permit available as rentals for around $50 for one day.

Safety is Key

Wherever your skill level and experience may lead you, it is very important to remember safety when engaging in any water sport. Knowing how to swim is critical and it’s always important to stay up-to-date on weather conditions and water temperatures, and always remember to 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.

So, grab your board, paddle, PFD, and decals and get out on the water!

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