Snake River Permit Information

The Upper Snake River is known worldwide for it’s crystal clear waters, unique geology, numerous recreation adventures, and amazing varieties of wildlife. The ability to experience wild water, amazing fishing, great hiking, and memorable camping is just one of the reasons we all visit the Snake River. The privilege of use carries the responsibility to help care for this unique watershed. Your actions leave an impression on the river and on other people. The most important thing you can bring to the river is an attitude of cooperation and consideration for wildlife and other river users. Adherence to rules and ethics regarding responsible use and a friendly demeanor towards others will leave a positive impression that will prevent the need for more restrictions. Together we can work together to protect this remarkable recreation resource we call the Snake River.

Each summer from the June to August, the portion of the Snake River between South Park Bridge and Sheep Gulch hosts over 200,000 visitors. This is an extremely crowded and sought after section of the Snake River due to the great variety in boating challenges, fishing opportunities and beautiful scenery. In an effort to alleviate some of the crowding, the Jackson Ranger District river program enforces a permit program for large groups that has been in effect since 1998.

If you are a single kayaker, or a small group we encourage you to help us further reduce congestion by launching at East Table or Elbow boat ramps rather than at West Table boat ramp. East Table boat ramp is specifically a “no-trailer” site to help reduce congestion and the no trailer rule is strictly enforced for this purpose.

The Jackson Ranger District requires special use permits for non-commercial groups over 15 people and for institutional outfitters (for example-but not inclusive; non-profits, school recreation groups, school classes, special camps, etc.). Please read the following to find out if your group needs one of these permits. Groups that require a permit, but do not have one when they come to the river will be turned away. No exceptions will be made. This permit program is for your safety and enjoyment of the river and we want you to have a great time while you’re here. Please respect the rules that have been set up in order to protect the river and your recreation experience.**

Please read the following list and click on the following appropriate link for your group:

  • The group does not have an entry or participation fee.
  • No money is charged for goods or services related to the trip.(beyond cost-sharing)
  • Donations and fees are not accepted that exceed the actual costs of the trip.
  • Guides and leaders are in no way compensated.
  • The opportunity to participate is not limited to a specific segment of society.

National Outfitter Guide Policy Changes- 2009

If your group MEETS these qualifications click here…


If your group DOES NOT MEET these qualifications click here…


**Any group that reimburses a guide in any way for a trip and is not a permitted outfitter or an institution with a Forest Service permit, is guiding illegally and will be prosecuted.

**Any group that requires a permit and floats the river without one will be caught and cited. All violations of permit requirements are punishable by up to six months in jail, and/or a $5,000 fine.