Exploring Yellowstone’s lakes by boat offers a great way to see the park from a different perspective. However, boating in the Nothern Rockies presents significant risks. Water temperatures on park lakes is 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.
If you plan to use your own boat or float tube in Yellowstone, you’ll need a permit. Permits for motorized and non-motorized craft can be purchased at the Snake River Ranger Station, Bridge Bay Ranger Station, and Grant Village Backcountry Office. Float tube only permits are available at the Mammoth, Canyon and Old Faithful backcountry offices, Northeast Entrance, and Bechler Ranger Station. The following fees are charged:
Nonmotorized: $5 for 7 days or $10/season
As part of the permitting process, all watercraft will be inspected for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Any watercraft suspected of harboring AIS will be subject to a non-chemical, decontamination treatment.
Addition regulations apply. If you plan to boat in the park, read our booklet on boating regulations and safety.
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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.