Paddleboarding the Teton River

Teton River Stand Up Paddle Board Float Trip

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The Teton River flows northward through Teton Valley in Idaho. From Teton Valley there are amazing views of Grand Teton from the west. As we’ve said in our previous blog posts and vlogs of the area, it is the quieter side of the Tetons with just as spectacular views.

Instead of just enjoying the valley and the views from your car, make sure you check out some of the other activities in the area such as the Grand Targhee Resort cable car and the rails to trails bike rides. Getting on the water and floating the Teton River is another unique way to enjoy the area.

Watch the video of our experience below, and then read on for all the details!

Teton River

Man and kids getting paddleboard into river

The Teton River has multiple access points for putting your boat in the water and taking it out. Here is a link to an Upper Teton River Recreation Map. It shows the put in and take out access points, mileage between, approximate float time, suitable watercraft, and amenities. The first 6 access points from Fox Creek to Harrops Bridge are considered the Upper Teton River float area. Of this we did the Bates Bridge/Buxton River Park to Rainey “Big Eddy” section. If you go past Harrops Bridge you enter Teton River Canyon. This area includes technical whitewater sections for expert boaters only and even some sections that are not recommended.

Woman on paddleboard

We used our stand up paddleboard, but we saw many others on the river in kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and various sizes of tubes. There was even one tube that was a multi-person rainbow colored winged unicorn that was my daughter’s favorite watercraft we saw on the river during our stay!

Paddleboard on the Teton River

The river is fairly slow moving and smooth so it was a very enjoyable paddle. It does get pretty shallow in some parts so you have to paddle to the parts of the river that stay a bit deeper. If you bottom out on a shallow part like I did a couple times, you might just have to walk your boat to deeper waters before you continue on.


Moose sign

This area seemed to be full of moose! All in all we had 7 moose sightings, though several were probably the same moose. Our daughter Klara woke up one morning at sunrise, and ran to our room to show us the bull moose and baby running across the field behind our RV.

While paddling the river, Christine came upon a mama moose and her baby. They had just come out of the trees and seemed to be about to enter the water. Both Christine and the moose were startled and they quickly ran off back into the brush. When Kevin did the float the next day, he believes he came across the same pair on the riverbank as well.

Lastly, Christine’s float trip had a surprise ending when she picked up the kids on the river bank at the campground to take them with her around the corner for a little ride to the boat dock. They came upon a bull moose in the water and decided to turn around for safety. With the help of some friendly folks on the trail at the riverbank they all exited the river. Christine then signaled to Kevin at the boat dock that they wouldn’t be coming around the bend after all! Better safe than sorry!

Moose are beautiful creatures and we feel fortunate to have seen several of them. We didn’t manage to capture any good pictures or video footage this time though. It’s definitely better to see them from a safe distance!

Rainey Campground Boondocking

RV at Rainey Campground

An excellent place to camp when exploring the Teton Valley is the Rainey Campground just outside of Driggs, ID. It is a grass field just off the Teton River and next to the Rainey river access point. It’s the perfect spot to put in or take out of the river. And even if you’re not paddling the river, you can still walk to the river and enjoy the view or put your feet in. Our kids really enjoyed playing and splashing in the water here. The water is shallow enough at the edge that we also put a couple of chairs in the water and enjoyed an evening charcuterie spread while watching people go down the river. The Tetons are on full display from the campground as well.

Man and woman sitting on chairs in the Teton River

The field itself is nothing spectacular and can get quite crowded, but there seemed to be room enough for everyone with a decent turnover rate. The view and location can’t be beat and that’s what you’re there for!

A day out on the water of the Teton River is a must do if you are in the area!

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Pinnable image of paddleboarding the Teton River
Pinnable image of a riverfront boondocking site in Teton Valley
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