Yellowstone Kayaking

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 3-10
Activity level
Starting from
$949 for REI Members
$1,049 for non-members
Departures Jun 2020-Sep 2020

Spend four days paddling the lakes of America?s first national park.

Yellowstone National Park is a classic; home to abundant wildlife, otherworldly geothermal features and vast expanses of impressive landscapes. Seeing such an iconic area on a kayak takes the adventure into a new and exciting perspective.

Led by our local guides, we spend our days paddling high-altitude lakes, keeping an eye out for wildlife as we pass. Explore beautiful shorelines and take in the spectacular views of the Yellowstone backcountry. Take a break from kayaking to enjoy the wild beauty around us and share a picnic lunch far from the park crowds. We reconvene in the evening over a delicious meal and good conversation, before tucking comfortably into our sleeping bags under the starry night sky. Whether exploring deep into the solitude of Flat Mountain Arm or leaving the kayaks behind for a hike to the Shoshone Geyser Basin, the journey is guaranteed to inspire. We finish each day with a deeper appreciation of all that the remote corners of Yellowstone can offer us.

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Trip Highlights

  • Kayak the beautiful waters of Yellowstone National Park
  • Camp comfortably near the shore each night
  • Go at your own pace and extend your days with optional trips


This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. You should be capable of kayaking up to 14 miles (up to 6 hours) each day in calm to moderately rough conditions including choppy waters and variable winds. Additionally, you should be capable of lining kayaks up to 3 miles should water levels be low. You should be comfortable camping in the back-country without access to bathrooms or running water.?

  • Kayaking

What's Included

Paddling gear including dry bags, paddles, spray skirt, PFD, paddling jacket, paddling pants and/or wetsuit as conditions warrant;�single and tandem kayaks; group camping gear including tents; professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted in the daily itinerary and snacks; one group transfer from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone National Park on Day 2 and return to Jackson Hole on Day 4; park entrance fees.

All Yellowstone kayaking trips are conducted under the authorized concessionaire permit of Jackson Hole Kayak School.


Camping, 2 nights (night 1 accommodations not included)

Your Adventure Itinerary

Route Variation

Our route may vary depending on water levels and conditions.

REI Adventures operates two standard paddling routes for this trip: Yellowstone Lake and Lewis & Shoshone Lakes. The specific route your kayaking adventure will follow varies depending on expected weather conditions, water levels, permitting, and several other factors. REI Adventures will send a final itinerary outlining specific routes approximately two weeks before your departure.

Day 1

Meet your guides for an orientation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Meet the trip guides and your fellow travelers at Rendezvous River Sports in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 6:30pm. Light refreshments and appetizers are served. Following introductions we go over details for the upcoming trip including the trip?s packing list, kayaks (benefits of tandem versus single), personal flotation devices, paddling jackets, etc. Trip members will be provided with three dry bags for packing personal gear. No meals included. Accommodations in Jackson are not included.

Day 2

Paddle to camp, with gorgeous scenery along the way.

Eat breakfast (own expense) prior to meeting your guide and fellow travelers at 7am at Rendezvous River Sports. We load up in the van and drive through Grand Teton National Park into Yellowstone National Park. Arriving at our put-in point, we review kayak entry and exit techniques, basic paddling skills, and on-water safety. We then head out for a weekend of adventure, exploring the shorelines and taking in the spectacular views of Yellowstone?s backcountry. Our camp for the night promises to deliver even greater memories as our guides prepare a well-earned meal and share their vast knowledge of the natural history of Yellowstone. Lunch and dinner included.

Kayaking: 8-12 miles (2-6 hours); Some departures include lining boats upstream through ankle to thigh deep water for up to 1.5 miles; Transfer: 2 hours.

Day 3

Explore by kayak today, looking for wildlife and other sights.

Today we paddle on Yellowstone Lake or Lewis and Shoshone Lakes. Whether exploring deep into the solitude of Flat Mountain Arm or leaving our kayaks behind for a hike to the Shoshone Geyser Basin with its myriad of hot pools, steam vents, cauldrons and geysers, we finish the day with a deeper appreciation of Yellowstone?s remote places. Tonight we eat a gourmet backcountry meal by a campfire (if conditions allow). Our guide will provide a naturalist presentation on Greater Yellowstone. All meals included.

Kayaking: 5-12 miles (2-6 hours); Some departures include hiking up to 1 mile (1 hour).

Day 4

Make our return paddle and bid farewell to Yellowstone.

Following breakfast, we break camp and pack into our kayaks. A challenging yet rewarding day of paddling brings us back to our entry point. After loading into the support van we drive to Jackson Hole, stopping at various viewpoints along the way to enjoy the many vistas of Grand Teton National Park. We plan to arrive in Jackson Hole between 4?7pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Kayaking: 8-10 miles (3-6 hours); Transfers: 3+ hours with stops.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff. If you do not already own all of the necessary gear and are not certain if you will participate in outdoor trips on a regular basis, please consider renting.

Single kayaks are the standard used by most guests on our Yellowstone Kayaking trips; however, our guides will assign single or double kayaks individually based on each guest's skills and experience.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Photo Identification

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.