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Summer Adventures in Jackson Hole: Canoeing on Leigh Lake

Summer’s in full swing here, and the days are getting hotter. Normally a retreat to the mountains is an effective way to escape the heat, but we have our share of hot days and find ourselves looking to beat the heat on one of the many bodies of water in the area.

So that’s a great idea right? There’s just one problem: you don’t have a boat. Solution? Become a regular at the local rental shop: Rendezvous River Sports where each week you can try something new – Paddleboards, Duckies (inflatable kayaks) and this week, Canoes. Read on for our recommendation for a great day canoeing on Leigh Lake.

A Day Trip To Leigh Lake

Head to Rendezvous River Sports around 8am, and slap a canoe on the roof of your car (they provide straps and foam pads) before heading north into Grand Teton National Park (a park pass is required, 7-day passes are $35). Canoe rentals are $45 and include a paddle and life jacket. Another place to rent canoes in town is Leisure Sports. They rent canoes for $45 as well.

Your first stop will be String Lake. Here you’ll likely pull into a semi-crowded boat dock where you’ll unload the canoes. Be sure and fill em up with lunch, plenty of water, extra clothing and the camera, of course. After a short paddle to the North end of String Lake, you’ll huff the canoes out of the water for a short portage. The portage is about 200 feet long and slightly uphill with a steep re-entry into Leigh Lake. You can manage it easily with 4 people per canoe (great family bonding!), or two if you want to get a good workout in.

Beautiful Day Canoeing On Leigh Lake

Leigh Lake has a small hiking trail around it, but it’s relatively remote. Aside from a few people on the shoreline and two or three other boats, you’ll likely be alone on this stunning lake.

Canoeing On Leigh Lake

Once in the lake, head north again until the lake opens up on the left-hand side. There’s a large inlet that provides sweeping views of Moran, a small canyon and Mt. Woodring. This is the perfect spot for lunch after that portage. Find a small pebbly beach and get to work polishing off your sandwiches and snacks. After lunch, enjoy a short snooze in the sun before packing up and heading back to String Lake.

String Lake is by far the most popular of the two, and it’s probably the portage that deters most people from making it over to Leigh Lake. Once you get back on String Lake you’ll be greeted by hordes of paddle boarders, kayakers and swimmers. The boat take-out can get crowded with tourists and locals alike, enjoying the small beach and cooling off in the water.

So there you have it! If you’re looking for something unique to do in Jackson Hole complete with water and gorgeous views, we highly recommend canoeing on Leigh Lake. You won’t regret it!