Jackson Lake is a place to re-energize and dabble in recreational activities alongside the glorious mountain backdrop of Grand Teton National Park. Spend a day cruising the calm lake water, exploring nature trails, fishing for trout and visiting islands. Jackson Lake stretches for 15 miles (24 kilometers) at the base of the northern Teton Range. It was created by glacial erosion and is fed by the Snake River.
A great way to experience the lake is to rent a boat and explore at your own pace. From May to September, canoes, motorized boats and sea kayaks are available at Signal Mountain Lodge. Visitors often bring their own water skis for more thrills on the lake. Enjoy the jaw-dropping views in all directions, dominated by Doane Peak, Eagles Rest Peak and Rammell Mountain to the west.
Fishing is permitted during the summer with a license. Brown trout, cutthroat trout, salmon and pike all inhabit the water. Be sure to visit one of the 15 islands scattered around the lake. The biggest, Elk Island, is a great place to camp overnight, walk through conifer forests and relax on pebbly beaches. Advance reservations at the park’s visitor centers are recommended for the island’s campsite.
Just a 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk north of the lodge is the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, a quaint church built entirely of logs. Its waterfront setting offers more views of the mountains and their reflections in the glass-like water.
At Colter Bay Village, also on the water, the Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail accesses a broad beachfront and a scenic pathway around a forested peninsula. Rent a boat at Colter Bay Marina. The Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop is another trail accessible from the village.
Find the lake about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of both Jackson and Teton Village. The most convenient way to get here is via rented car. Use the free parking at Colter Bay Village and Signal Mountain Lodge.
Visit Jackson Lake year-round, with June to September being the most popular months. Pick up maps and purchase permits at Colter Bay Visitor Center.