Updated: December 2017

Jackson Lake Cruise Review:

As you drive into Grand Teton National Park the 13,000 foot peaks are the main attraction. They seem to rise from Jackson Lake up to meet the sky. On a clear day they are amazing to look at and even when it's overcast they are still quite impressive. Jackson Lake sits at roughly 6700 feet in elevation and the backdrop of the Tetons makes for incredible photo opportunities. We stayed in Colter Bay Village in July 2012 and did the afternoon cruise on Jackson Lake to get a better view of the mountain and learn more about the lake and the surrounding areas. I had called ahead to see about booking the cruise in advance but the salesperson said that I would be fine just showing up about 45 minutes before the cruise and buying tickets. We arrived into Grand Teton NP on a Monday and took the 3:15 cruise that day. No problems getting 4 tickets for my family and the weather went from cloudy and rainy to sunshine right in time for the cruise.

If you have a larger group wanting to all get on the same cruise, we suggest making a reservation by calling 307-543-2811. The scenic lake cruises leave Colter Village Marina at 10:15AM, 1:15PM, 3:15PM, and 6:15PM. They also offer breakfast cruise that departs at 7:15AM (except Friday) and a dinner cruise that leaves at 5:15PM and it only runs on certain days of the week. For a complete schedule check out http://www.gtlc.com/activities/marina-lake-cruise.aspx. We bought our tickets near the General Store in Colter Bay Village. It was really easy, they just added the amount to our bill as we were already staying in a cabin. You catch the cruise in the marina - parking is right there. The cruise boards pretty much right on time, so don't be late. Stand near the docks and someone will announce the cruise time and they will take your tickets and get you on the boat. The scenic cruises take 1 1/2 hours (3 hours for the breakfast and dinner cruises). One person drives the boat while the other person narrates on the history of the Grand Tetons with facts about people that inhabited the area, animals that are prevalent in this region, and the geologic formation of mountains that have shaped the Tetons. The weather was just stunning, sunshine and warm conditions out on the massive lake. There is seating for about 40 within the boat (covered) and there is additional room out back if you want unobstructed photos. The boat moves along at a decent clip but nothing too fast. We suggest taking along a good camera, binoculars, bottled water, a good hat, and sunblock. On our cruise the guide had 2 sets of binoculars and he showed us things like an Osprey nest and then handed the binoculars around so everyone could see it. I found the cruise to be very relaxing and educational. Our 2 kids (ages 7 and 11) were able to sit still and listen the entire time without any problems. You are allowed to ask questions along the way and our guide did an excellent job of answering them all. You can watch the short video clip below to see what the boat looks like and see what it's like to be on Jackson Lake. For more reviews and feedback on which cruise to take, we recommend checking out the Tripadvisor website that lists hundreds of consumer comments about all the cruises. Find one that fits your time schedule and family needs. See the reviews online at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g143029-d1875058-r118067550-Grand_Teton_Lodge_Company_Lake_Cruise-Grand_Teton_National_Park_Wyoming.html. Pricing is about $30/adult and $13/kids. The breakfast cruise is $37/adult and $22/child and the dinner cruise is closer to $60/adult and $37/child.

Boat/Canoe/Kayak Rentals at Jackson Lake:

Beyond taking a cruise - with a tour guide - we suggest looking into the other water craft available on Jackson Lake. At the Colter Bay Marina you can rent canoes, kayaks, and motor boats. Getting out on the lake is a wonderful experience and being in a small canoe or kayak will make it a memorable one as well. The kayaks and canoes rent for about $15/hour and the motor boats are available for $35/hour or $175 for the day. We saw lots of families getting onto kayaks and into canoes - so don't be afraid to try this even with smaller children. They can wear life jackets and be safe. There are no reservations available last time we checked - first come first serve. Although, from the pictures below, you can see that there are lots of kayaks, canoes, and motor boats at marina.

Canoes for rent at Colter Bay Marina.

View of the Tetons while leaving the marina.

Motor boats.

View from marina looking over the canoes.

Plenty of kayaks and canoes to choose from.

Kayakers heading out.

Colter Bay Marina - General Store.