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Jackson Lake
National Parks

Jackson Lake


As I sit here staring out my window at a melting, muddy landscape, my mind wanders to brighter summer days past filled with sunshine. Specifically, I keep dreaming of days spent on Austin-Lehman’s Yellowstone-Tetons Adventure, kayaking the cool, clear waters of Jackson Lake, the Teton Range seemingly shooting up out of its west side.

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You just can’t beat kayaking or canoeing on Jackson Lake. Getting away from the crowds and onto the deserted waters will put you into a state of solitude. Nothing but the noise of nature reaches your ears, and from your kayak you may see such wildlife as majestic bald eagles, tip-toeing mule deer, or playful river otters. As your paddle silently slices the glassy surface, you won’t believe your eyes again and again as you glance at the view in front of you: Mount Moran shooting out of the lake’s edge and rising skyward 12,605 feet! That’s a wow in and of itself!

But wait, there’s more! Sure, the kayaking part of exploring Jackson Lake is pretty amazing, but did I mention that you get to go “chill out” on your own private island for an hour or two? About three-quarters of the way through our escapade on Jackson Lake, we stop for a break on the rocky shores of a small unnamed island. The views from here are spectacular, providing unmatched photo ops for those wanting an amazing picture of the granite monolith that is Mount Moran.

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I love when kids experience kayaking Jackson Lake on our Family Adventure because there’s never a shortage of activities to do once we reach the island. Writing messages on the beach out of sticks, skipping rocks from the shore, creating log shelters out of drift wood, and searching for frogs are just a few things that completely capture a child’s imagination on this round rock paradise. Parents roll out a towel and bask in the sunshine as the guides flip over a boat, playing king of the kayak with the kids. All that can be heard are splashing and laughter as we enjoy ourselves (maybe a little too much) on our isolated island.

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Once the stomachs start rumbling a bit, we jump into our kayaks again for the short paddle back to the mainland. It’s always hard to bid goodbye to the island, but you just can’t keep lunch waiting! Again and again, I hear from guests that kayaking/canoeing is their favorite activity on this adventure that visits two national parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I must say, that I am among them when it comes to the beauty, seclusion, and specialness of this little piece of paradise.

Where will you create your next memory?

Kasey Austin

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