Snake River Flows & Water Levels
Jackson Hole River Report
Last Updated: November 29, 2023
|Cubic Feet per Second (CFS):|
|Morning River Temperature:||Degrees|
|Conditions:||RIVER TRIPS HAVE ENDED FOR THE 2023 SEASON, BUT WILL RESUME ON MAY, 24TH 2024|
|River Gauge Height:|
|Current Age Limit:|
What do the river levels mean?
The Snake River water level changes dramatically throughout the rafting season. Spring and early summer generally bring higher water levels, while mid to late summer brings lower flows. This river presents a combination of class II and III rapids at any water level, but the size of the waves is largest at high flows and decreases as the water drops. Different waves appear and disappear depending on the water levels, so you can always expect an interesting and exciting trip.
The river levels are measured in cubic feet per second, or cfs. This explains how much water is flowing past a specific spot each second. For simplicity, you can imagine a cubic foot to be similar in size to one basketball. Different rivers experience high, mid, and low water at different levels due to a variety of conditions. Below is an explanation of how the various river flows impact the Snake River Canyon in Jackson Hole and what you can expect for your rafting trip with us.
We consider any water level above 14,000 CFS to be a high flow here on the Snake River. These flows generally occur anywhere from late May to mid-June. Because of the larger wave sizes and increased current speed, we take our small boats off the river and only use our larger sized rafts. Our Classic Snake River Whitewater rafting trip is a great option for this time of year. In flows above 15,000 CFS you can expect to see an extra safety boat joining the trip and may be required to wear helmets. The water will be cold, so renting a wetsuit is highly recommended and may even be required depending on conditions. At high water, the largest rapid is Lunch Counter, and it packs a punch, so be ready to paddle when your guide asks you to.
During high water flows, our age limit begins to increase. It is dependent on the specific level that the river is running at, you can call the office or reference the chart above for a current age limit. Generally, we don’t know what the level will be for a specific date ahead of time. We will reach out close to the date of your trip if there are children in your group who might be under the current age limit. Our Wilson Scenic Snake River Float is a good option during high water flows if you are nervous or have children in your group.
These flows, anywhere between 14,000–7,000 CFS, generally occur in late June to mid-July. With the return of more normal water flows, the waves become slightly smaller but remain fun to navigate, and you are sure to be in for a splash. Both our Small Boat Slam and Classic Whitewater are a great time at these levels. The water temperature is starting to warm up, and you may pass by river surfers on your float. Lunch Counter is still the largest rapid at mid-flows, but as the water drops the other well-known rapid of the Snake River begins to appear, Big Kahuna.
Once the flows drop below ~7,000 cfs, the low water time of the season has begun. This flow starts sometime after mid-July and stays until the end of the season. Big Kahuna is the main rapid at this level and is a fun time. There are several great rapids at low water in addition to Kahuna, but you can generally expect to see smaller waves and more flat water at these levels when compared to high water. Our Small Boat Slam is a great option for these flows! In mid-August we rotate our larger raft for a mid-sized raft on our Classic Whitewater to account for the lower flows keeping whatever trip you book with us a fun time. The river is both warmer and slower at this time of year, so it’s a good time to enjoy a quick swim next to the raft in the safe swim zones or take in all the scenery the Snake River Canyon has to offer on our Jackson Hole whitewater rafting trips.