Best Time of Year To Raft
It’s a question we get all the time: what’s the best season to raft the Snake River? The answer is easy – all of them! (Okay, three of them. Snowmen don’t paddle hard enough to make good rafting buddies.) Spring, summer, and fall in Jackson Hole each bring fun and unique qualities and we love experiencing each of them from the river.
Spring Rafting on the Snake River
Early season (April-June) is surprisingly one of the best times to raft in Jackson Hole. While April – June may be considered summer season in many parts of the country, it’s definitely springtime in Jackson! The weather can still be a bit cooler, and other summer activities like hiking can be more limited. This is a great season for rafting though! Not only are the groups smaller, lots of animals are in the process of their spring migrations. As elk depart their winter feedgrounds, they travel along the same 13-mile stretch of river that our scenic floats cover. There’s nothing like watching native wildlife against a backdrop of the bright green valley and towering snow-capped peaks.
Early June provides the most thrilling whitewater of the entire year. The snowmelt from the mountains reaches its highest point and the rapids are rockin’! If you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled ride, this is it: Lunchcounter Rapid – a world-class wave train – can have 20-foot high waves this time of year! (Be aware that age limits for our whitewater adventures can vary during this time, so give us a shout with any questions.)
The water is still chilly in the late spring, and the air can be nippy, too – daytime highs in May tend to hover in the mid-60s F, and into the 70s as June arrives. But don’t worry! Dave Hansen has you covered (literally) with high-quality wetsuits for whitewater trips, and cozy blankets for scenic floats.
Summer Whitewater and Scenic Floats
The months of July and August bring some pretty spectacular rafting weather in Jackson Hole; afternoons hover in the low to mid-80s, which is ideal for playing in the Snake River. It’s no wonder rafting is one of the most popular summertime activities in Jackson. The river runs crystal clear and is the perfect temperature for a dip! (Take the plunge on your whitewater trip and you’ll become a member of the Snake River Swim Team – with a bracelet to prove it!)
Big Kahuna – one of the river’s most exciting rapids – is in full swing during the summer months, as are many others over the 8 miles of whitewater fun. Dave Hansen offers plenty of different launch times throughout the day, so whether you’ve got a morning hike lined up, or mouthwatering dinner plans, you can enjoy a trip that fits into your vacation schedule. Floating down the Snake River with Dave Hansen’s expert guides is great for first-time rafters and families as well as folks who have some whitewater experience under their belts.
Summertime is also ideal for scenic floats, especially for those who want to experience the magic of the river, but aren’t up for getting soaked. Kick back on a raft and enjoy the cool river breeze as you take in some of the native wildlife that frequents the riverbank. Let your guide point out all of the wonders around you. And for the littlest members of your crew – who might be too young to join the whitewater fun this year – they’ve got the chance to earn their Junior Guide badge!
Floating the Snake River in Fall
Many locals will tell you that fall is their favorite time in Jackson Hole. It’s not tough to see why. Fewer visitors mean that the valley is quieter, but the beautiful weather likes to hang around for a while. September highs are often in the 70s, and cloud-free bluebird days are frequent. Daytime lows can dip into the 40s, so we adjust our launch times to make sure that you’re enjoying the river during the warmest part of the day – especially if you’re getting splashed!
Since the flow of the Snake River is controlled by the Jackson Lake Dam, there’s plenty of water for exciting whitewater all the way into October. So, while other activities might be wrapping up for the chillier months, we’re still out having a blast.
It’s also the chance to witness some of the most dramatic changes in the valley. The cooler evenings start to turn cottonwoods and aspens breathtaking shades of gold. Elk, deer, and even bears take the change as a hint to move towards their wintertime spots. Autumn brings colors and mountain light that is truly spectacular, and best enjoyed from a raft on the river.
Okay, we admit that it’s kind of a trick question. There is no best time of year to raft the Snake River in Jackson Hole – we love them all! Regardless of when your travel plans bring you to this special place, we hope you’ll join us for one of the best family activities in Jackson.
The Best Time of Day to Raft in Jackson Hole
The Best Time of Day to Raft in Jackson Hole We get a lot of questions from our guests. Some of them are kind of tough to answer! (Um… we don’t actually know why bears like huckleberries so much?) Thankfully.
Top Jackson Hole Activities
Vacations are never long enough, especially summertime family trips to Jackson Hole. You definitely want to make sure your visit is as unforgettable as possible, and we’re here to help! From an exciting river trip adventure to a sunset concert.
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How Cold Is The Snake River? (Complete & Easy Answer)
Water flow on the Snake River can be controlled by the Hells Canyon Dam. September, the highest water is found. In the spring and fall, air temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees and most nights are in the 40s. In the winter, the temperature drops to about 30 degrees.
In the summer, it can be as low as 20 degrees, and the nights can get as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures can drop to -40 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Table of Contents
What is a good temperature for a river?
The ideal temperature for most aquatic organisms is 5 to 25 degrees celsius. Changes in aquatic life can be caused by increases in water temperature. For example, warmer water can increase the growth of algae, which can lead to a decrease in oxygen levels in the water. Increased water temperatures can also affect fish and other aquatic animals, such as frogs and salamanders.
These animals depend on oxygen to survive, and if they are deprived of oxygen, they can die. Water temperature also affects the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface. If the temperature is too warm, the sun’s rays are not able to penetrate deep into the Earth’s crust, causing the surface to become too hot for plants and animals to grow.
Some of these factors include pollution, overfishing, pollution from human activities, invasive species, climate change and pollution.
How hot does it get in Hells Canyon?
The weather in Hells Canyon is absolutely gorgeous in the summer. In the summer, Hells Canyon is usually about 10 warmer than surrounding towns, which makes it ideal for whitewater rafting trips. The temperature on the Snake River is perfect for paddling and fishing. Waterfowl are abundant in the area, especially during the fall and winter months.
What is the climate of Snake River Idaho?
The “dry-summer subtropical” climates are often referred to as “mediterranean”. Mediterranean climate is also known as the “Middle East” or “Arabian Peninsula” climate. The climate zones of the Middle East are the same as those of Europe and North America, except for the fact that the Mediterranean region has a much higher average rainfall than the other regions. This is due to the large amount of rain that falls in this region.
What do you wear to the Snake River?
It’s a good idea to wear casual clothes for a snake river float trip. Just wear the same clothes you would wear on any other day of your life. If you’re going to be in the water for more than a few hours, you’ll want to bring a dry suit.
Dry suits are a great way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. They’re also great for keeping you dry and comfortable while you float. Drysuits come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. Some dry suits come with a hood, while others don’t.
The hood helps keep you cool and dry, but it can also make it difficult to breathe. A hooded drysuit is the best option for most people, and it’s also the least expensive option. You can find drysuits with hoods for as little as $20.
What is the coldest it’s ever been in Idaho?
Dam experienced a bone-chilling temperature of -55 degrees Fahrenheit in 1943, making it the lowest temperature ever recorded in Idaho. The record low temperature in the state was recorded on July 1, 1945, at the same location. The record high temperature was also recorded at that location on that same day.
How cold is too cold to swim?
The national center for cold water safety recommends that you don’t swim if the pool water is below 70 degrees. The perfect temperature for a swimming pool is between 77 and 82 degrees. The average temperature is around 78 degrees, but that is not always the case. If your pool water is below that temperature, it’s best to stay out of the water.
If you do decide to swim in the pool, make sure you’re wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are designed to keep you warm and dry in cold water, so they’re a good idea if you plan on swimming in a cold pool.
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All About Rafting the Snake River
At Winding Waters River Expeditions , we love all the rivers we raft here in the land of the winding waters. However, the Snake River holds an extra special place in our hearts.
The primary tributary of the vital and powerful Columbia River, the “Snake” holds a wealth of recreational opportunity, particularly through Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge.
Read on to learn about rafting and recreating on this majestic river.
Where is the Snake River?
The Snake River runs through the states of Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and is the largest tributary to the mighty Columbia River. The river meanders along the border of Idaho and Eastern Oregon for much of its track.
The first big population center downriver from the headwaters is the scenic Wyoming city of Jackson. Other cities along the path of the river include Idaho Falls, ID; Twin Falls, ID; Lewiston, ID; and the city of the mouth, Pasco, WA.
What is the course of the river?
The Snake River is one of the most scenic and wild places that exists in the United States.
The headwaters of the river are in Yellowstone National Park, and the first 50 miles of the river flows through Jackson Hole, a valley between the Teton Range and Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming. From here, the river passes through the Snake River Canyon and the Snake Range. There are some major waterfalls in this area, including Shoshone Falls, the historical limit of migrating Salmon on the Snake River. This waterfall is higher than Niagara Falls and truly a sight to see!
After this, the Snake gains steam as it collects water from several major tributaries and begins to form the border of Idaho and Oregon. North of Boise, ID, the Snake enters Hells Canyon, which is formed between the peaks on both sides (more on the incredible canyon below). Halfway through the canyon, the river reaches an incredibly remote stretch of river that’s inaccessible by vehicle.
A little after halfway through Hells Canyon, the river begins to form the Washington and Idaho border. After leaving the canyon, the river flows through the Palouse Hills of Eastern Washington, before losing much of its liveliness in a series of dams in the lower river. It then enters the Columbia River, from there flowing together 325 miles to Astoria, OR and the Pacific Ocean.
As mentioned above, one of the most remote and impressive parts of the Snake River is Hells Canyon, a 10-mile wide river canyon that is the deepest river gorge in North America. The gorge runs for 125 miles. For 40 miles, the gorge sits at more than a mile deep!
The gorge itself is located along the Idaho and Oregon border for most of its journey and sits along Idaho and Washington for the remainder. Most of the canyon is completely inaccessible with your vehicle, and can only be accessed through rafting, horseback riding, and backpacking.
At Winding Waters Rivers Expeditions, this remote section is the part of the gorge we raft. Depending on your trip, your float will travel 79 miles through class III-IV rapids through the heart of the canyon.
Throughout your trip, you’ll find:
- • Abundant wildlife , wildflowers, and other flora & fauna
- • Artifacts from prehistoric tribes
- • Relics of early miners and settlers
Rafting the Snake River
White water rafting on the Snake River is a truly epic experience. For those who have not experienced the high desert landscape, there is nothing quite like it. Whether it’s the dry, pristine desert air, bright stars, or rushing cold water underneath you as you bask in the sun, it’s unlike anything else in the world.
While there are desirable floats upriver, the best rafting (we wholeheartedly believe, especially for whitewater) on the Snake is through Hells Canyon.
Part of the wonder of rafting is getting away from it all and experiencing the awe of nature. Hells Canyon provides just this opportunity. Unlike many other popular rafting trips that take you through remote wilderness areas, this trip can be completed in under a week. Compare that to the Grand Canyon, which lasts up to 3 weeks!
Other activities on the Snake River
In addition to the stunning white water rafting, the Snake River is known as a world-class Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass fishery. While wild Steelhead still stalk these waters and offer productive fishing in many tributaries, dams have depleted numbers and made the Snake more of a Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass fishery through Hells Canyon.
With Winding Waters River Expeditions, we bring fishing tackle so you can experience this fishery while rafting the beautiful water.
Additionally, there is bountiful hiking and swimming throughout the course of the river, and you’ll have opportunities to enjoy both when rafting with us.
What gear do you need for a Snake River white water rafting trip?
Rafting this powerful river is not something that should be taken lightly and should only be undertaken by VERY experienced private rafters or under the guidance of an experienced outfitter and guide.
At Winding Waters River Expeditions, we provide everything you need for a fun, safe, and fulfilling experience out on the water. This includes:
- • Transportation to and from the river (on most of our launches except our 3 day trip)
- • All the rafting and camping gear you need for a safe and comfortable experience
- • campsites set up for you every night
- • All-inclusive gourmet meals for the entirety of your trip
- • Professional white water rafting guides with decades of white water rafting experience
- • All necessary permits and legal requirements to float the river
Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime?
We’re currently accepting reservations for all of our white water rafting trips. Spots are limited and sell out fast every year.
To reserve your spot, contact us online or learn more about our Snake River trips.