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Paddling in Yellowstone

Though most backcountry travelers come to Yellowstone to hike, paddling is another excellent way to head into a wilderness setting and find solitude and beauty.Between them, Yellowstone, Shoshone, and Lewis lakes over sublime paddling opportunities for the experienced paddler. Though at times these lakes can look quite placid and calm, it doesn't take much wind to kick up swells and even waves that can capsize the crafts of even the most experienced paddlers.

Shoshone Lake, Yellowstone NPShoshone Lake, Yellowstone NP.

As with backcountry hiking, you need a permit to dip your paddle in these lakes if you plan to spend a night or longer in the backcountry. You'll also need to reserve campsites for overnight trips, so download a copy of the park's Backcountry Trip Planner for how to go about that.

A permit is required for all vessels (motorized and non-motorized including float tubes) and must be obtained in person at any of the following locations: South Entrance, Lewis Lake Campground, Grant Village Backcountry Office, and Bridge Bay Ranger Station.

Non-motorized boating permits are available at West Entrance, Northeast Entrance, Mammoth Backcountry Office, Old Faithful Backcountry Office, Canyon Backcountry Office, Bechler Ranger Station, West Contact Station, West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and locations where motorized permits are sold. The fee is $20 (annual) or $10 (7 day) for motorized vessels and $10 (annual) or $5 (7 day) for non-motorized vessels. A Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device is required for each person boating.

Boat permits issued in Grand Teton National Park are honored in Yellowstone, but owners must register their vessel in Yellowstone and obtain a no-charge Yellowstone validation sticker from a permit issuing station.

Jet skis, personal watercraft, airboats, submersibles, and similar vessels are prohibited in Yellowstone National Park.

All vessels are prohibited on park rivers and streams except the channel between Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, where only hand-propelled vessels are permitted.

Paddling Trips Featured on the Traveler

Glamping Far And Away In Yellowstone National Park

* If you have ever stood on the shores of Yellowstone Lake and looked way across the water to the southeast, into that area of the park where few visitors go, and wished to experience life in the backcountry without hiking with a heavy backpack, go glamping!

You can read the rest of the story at this page.

Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park

* Slipping away from the Lewis Lake boat dock in Yellowstone National Park opens the door to a backcountry adventure few parks can match. Paddling, hiking, and hot springs are just part of the package.

You can read the rest of this story at this page.

The Wild Side of Yellowstone National Park

* Bigger than a saucier pan, the paw print held in the wet sand of a beach deep in the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake was unmistakable: Here was the home of Ursus arctos horribilis, aka grizzly bear.

You can read the rest of the story at this page.

Visiting the Parks: Yellowstone National Park's Shoshone Lake

* Bats, of all things. Deep in Yellowstone National Park's outback, where we had hoped to see wolves and grizzlies and elk and moose, we seemingly were under siege by a bevy of bats.

You can read the rest of the story at this page.

Yellowstone National Park

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide