Stretching 1,080 miles (1,735 kilometers) from Yellowstone National Park to the Oregon border, the Snake River is one of North America’s longest rivers. It serves an important role in the ecosystem as a home for tons of wildlife, including wild salmon, and is also a top location for water recreation like rafting, fishing, and kayaking.
Snake River activities are all about the water and one of the most popular ways to enjoy the rushing white water is rafting through Snake River Canyon. Join a guide to safely navigate Class III rapids from Jackson Hole in Wyoming, or head out on trip from Grand Teton National Park for amazing mountain views. Floating trips offer a calm alternative with chances to see animals like moose, deer, and river otters in their natural habitat, while jet boat tours cover the most miles in the least amount of time. Or, make a full day out of exploring Grand Teton National Park from Jackson Hole to combine a Snake River white-water rafting trip with hiking and sightseeing.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
Though the largest portion of the Snake River is in Idaho, the river also runs through Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington, where it joins the Columbia River. It is most readily accessed from a number of US parks, including Yellowstone National Park and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area—roughly six hours from Portland. Other popular put-ins include Clarkston, Washington; Lewiston, Idaho; and Astoria, Oregon.
When to Get There
Visit during the summertime for the most pleasant weather and best chance of joining a guided tour, as many are only offered seasonally from May through September.
Snake River Origins
The Snake River was created by a volcanic hot spot that today sits under Yellowstone. Once known as the Lewis River, the name Snake River actually comes from a mix-up: Early pioneers misunderstood the Shoshone peoples’ hand signal for fish and thought they were signifying snakes.