Boating

Protect Yellowstone from Aquatic Invasive Species

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1 minute, 10 seconds

Prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species to Yellowstone by making sure you clean, drain, and dry your boat before you arrive.

 

Exploring Yellowstone’s lakes by boat offers a great way to see the park from a different perspective. However, boating in the Northern Rockies presents significant risks. Water temperatures on park lakes are in the 40s (Fahrenheit) in June, and may reach the 60s by late summer. In addition, sudden strong winds can produce three to five foot waves, making open-water crossings very dangerous. Boaters in canoes, kayaks, and other small craft must be aware of these hazards and plan accordingly.

Guided Trips & Rentals

Yellowstone National Park Lodges provides boat rentals and guided boat trips at Bridge Bay Marina on Yellowstone Lake. Other companies offer guided services for canoeing, kayaking, and motorized boating.

Permits & Inspections

If you plan to use your own boat or angler float tube, you’ll need a permit and a free Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection. You can speed up the inspection process by arriving with a boat that is clean, drained, and dry. Watercraft that arrive dirty or with standing water will be subject to decontamination. Watercraft that cannot be properly decontaminated will be prohibited from launching.

 
Applying a Yellowstone AIS sticker to a boat
All watercraft, including angler float tubes, must pass a Yellowstone AIS inspection before a boating permit can be issued.

NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Locations

Permits and inspections are issued at the locations listed below. These facilities are open seven days a week from 8 am to 4:30 pm during the summer season.

Motorized & Non-motorized Watercraft (including angler float tubes)
Bridge Bay Ranger Station
Grant Village Backcountry Office
Snake River Ranger Station

Angler Float Tubes Only
Bechler Ranger Station
Canyon Backcountry Office
Mammoth Backcountry Office
Northeast Entrance
Old Faithful Backcountry Office

Fees

The following fees are charged for boating permits:

Non-motorized: $5 for 7 days or $10/season
Motorized: $10 for 7 days or $20/season

Regulations

  • Transporting or introducing invasive species is prohibited: make sure you clean, drain, and dry boats and gear before arriving for your AIS inspection.
  • Motorized boats are only allowed on Lewis and Yellowstone lakes.
  • All park rivers are closed to boating except for the section of the Lewis River between Lewis Lake and Shoshone Lake, which is open to non-motorized watercraft only.
  • Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and other non-motorized boats are permitted on all lakes except Sylvan Lake, Eleanor Lake, Twin Lakes, and Beach Springs Lagoon.
  • All vessels must have a US Coast Guard approved, wearable PFD (Type I, II, III, or V) for each person on board.
  • Vessels must not exceed 40 feet in length.
  • The use of jet skis, personal watercraft, airboats, submersibles, and similar vessels is prohibited in Yellowstone.
  • Towing water skiers, wakeboards, parasails, or performing similar activities is prohibited.
  • Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips.

Addition regulations apply. If you plan to boat in the park, read our booklet on boating regulations and safety.

 

Water-related Regulations & Safety

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5 minutes, 31 seconds

Over 100 people have lost their lives in the park’s cold lakes and streams. Strong winds can make open-water crossings very dangerous. Boaters in canoes, kayaks, and other small craft must be aware of these hazards and plan accordingly.

 

Last updated: June 13, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

Contact Us