What’s more beautiful than sprawling lakes with a mountain back drop? Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on a lake while taking in the ridiculously amazing mountain and lake views simultaneously. Stand Up Paddleboarding has gained popularity in Jackson Hole over the past few years, and there are now several rental options in the valley, including Gear Grab Rentals, located at MMM! Just rent online and grab your gear from their lockers just outside the motel.
Check out our recommendations of where to go paddleboarding in Jackson Hole and information about some rental shops below.
Where to go Paddleboarding in Jackson Hole
If you’re a beginner paddleboarder, we would suggest that you start on String Lake, which usually has flat, calm water, before moving up to Jenny or Jackson Lake or the Snake River.
The best time of year to SUP is July and August (when the water is warmest), and the best time of day is morning or evening (the wind tends to come up midday).
String Lake – the calmest and warmest of the nearby lakes make it a great beginner spot. It’s also easily accessed from the parking lot, so no lugging the board too far. (But if you want to lug your board, you can portage it over to Leigh Lake which is usually a bit colder & windier)
Jenny Lake – just down from String & Leigh lakes, Jenny lake is larger and tends to get a but of wind.
Jackson Lake – the largest and likely coldest lake that usually has quite a bit of boat activity and wind (read: rougher water). We’d recommend sticking to the bays and near the shoreline, which is also great for wildlife viewing!
Snake River – If calm water isn’t your thing or you’ve already mastered the lakes in the area, the Snake River will give you an adrenaline rush and put your balance to the ultimate test. Be aware of rapids and be sure to wear a lifejacket and helmet
Recently, 8 of us rented 3 paddleboards and headed up to String Lake for a day on the water. We brought a grill, camp chairs, beers, sunscreen and staked out a nice part of the beach. It was a gorgeous afternoon and the still snow-capped mountains popped under a blue bird sky.
A note about the weather in Jackson – thunderstorms are common during summer afternoons, so plan accordingly. We’d suggest getting your paddle in during the morning or keeping an eye on the ever-changing weather during the afternoons. Also, at 15 miles long and 7 miles wide, Jackson Lake is a large lake. When it’s windy, white capped waves easily form and grow, some becoming as large as 3-foot breakers – not something you want to be paddle boarding in.
Where to Rent Boards
Rendezvous River Sports – Located on West Broadway by Sidewinders Grill, Rendezvous River Sports rents non-inflatable paddleboards for $51 a day. They also rent inflatable Paddleboards for $41 a day.
Leisure Sports – Located on West Broadway just pass South Park Loop Road, you may rent an inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard for $41 a day and a non-inflatable Paddleboard for $51 a day.
Gear Grab Rentals – Located at MMM! Gear Grab touts the ultimate in convenience, with lockers adjacent to our motel. Rent inflatable paddleboards on their website, then receive a code to access one of their lockers right outside our doors. Everything you need is in there, including life vests and pumps. Keep as long as you like, and you’ll be charged each day.
When renting the Paddleboards, you may want to ask the rental shop if you need a permit for your SUP. Permits are $10 for non-motorized water crafts and are available at the Grand Teton National Park Visitor’s center in Moose. Make sure to bring your camera, because photos of you paddle boarding under the Tetons are guaranteed to make your friends jealous! Enjoy your time on the water and make sure to wear sunscreen to avoid looking like a lobster by the end of the day.
Paddleboards may fit on a roof rack (tied down with rags between the bars and the board) or in the back of a truck.
You don’t have to be an experienced paddleboarder to enjoy a day on the lake. All you need is a sense of balance and a good sense of humor.
Hope to see you paddleboarding in Jackson Hole soon!