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Old 07-21-2018 Thread Starter
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Sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming

Does anybody have any experience sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming in the Tetons. We are looking to take our bombardier sailboat (1991 model 4.8) there in August and do our own version of island camp cruising. We are new to sailing so any advice would be welcomed!
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Old 07-21-2018
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Re: Sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming

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Originally Posted by britt1234 View Post
Does anybody have any experience sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming in the Tetons. We are looking to take our bombardier sailboat (1991 model 4.8) there in August and do our own version of island camp cruising. We are new to sailing so any advice would be welcomed!
I am still working on my boat to get out on the lake but IDtrucks may check in soon to help out as his boat is on the second season sailing Jackson Lake. Getting a camp site on the lake can be tough, if you anchor you need to be 100 yards from shore unless you have a camping permit at a nearby campsite. Permits can be gotten 24 hours in advance from the Park Service, Elk Island is nearly impossible to get but if you show up early the morning before other spots on the lake are available.

With Rocky Mountain weather wind can be great or not at all but expect to be fluky and swirly, not an easy place to sail as a Noob, thunderstorms can come up unexpectedly.

Jordan
West Wight Potter 14 "Lemon Drop"
Oceanside CA
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Old 07-22-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming

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Originally Posted by jephotog View Post
I am still working on my boat to get out on the lake but IDtrucks may check in soon to help out as his boat is on the second season sailing Jackson Lake. Getting a camp site on the lake can be tough, if you anchor you need to be 100 yards from shore unless you have a camping permit at a nearby campsite. Permits can be gotten 24 hours in advance from the Park Service, Elk Island is nearly impossible to get but if you show up early the morning before other spots on the lake are available.

With Rocky Mountain weather wind can be great or not at all but expect to be fluky and swirly, not an easy place to sail as a Noob, thunderstorms can come up unexpectedly.
Hey! Thanks I really appreciate this. Would you suggest not doing this for newbies?
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Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming

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Hey! Thanks I really appreciate this. Would you suggest not doing this for newbies?
I might have mistaken your goals with mine. I want to be able to pack my boat with gear and explore different camp sites on the lake. For a total newbie it is probably not a good idea to pack all your camping gear into a dinghy and set out on this lake or any mountain lake.

If you want to come and camp at say Colter Bay or Signal Mountain and go day sailing, go for it. Just check the weather forecast each day and right before you go out, keep an eye to the West for darkening skies.

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk

Jordan
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Old 07-23-2018
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Re: Sailing Jackson Lake, Wyoming

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Hey! Thanks I really appreciate this. Would you suggest not doing this for newbies?
My opinion? Yes i absolutely think you should do it, just change the plan a little. Jackson lake and the tetons are beautiful and not many people get the chance to sail beneath them. Given what you've got to work with I think overnight on the boat might be more work than its worth. So I would get a nice camp site at Lizard creek or something (get there early, like 8 am or sites fill up) and enjoy day sailing on the lake. I would go to leeks marina, and shove off from the dock with a gentle breeze so you can sail past the boats on mooring balls and be right in the middle of the lake.

Jordan pretty much hit the nail on the head. There are a couple things working against your goal, any lake campsites have been reserved since January, or they are "walk ins" which you have to be the first one at the back country office to get it, so if someone is coming off a weekend, you might be able to get it Monday or Tuesday. You can anchor on the lake (100 yards lol?! i didnt know that, i usually do about 10 ft from shore) and sleep anywhere and cruise the shore or islands during the day, but I wouldn't want to anchor and camp overnight in your dinghy (just a comfort thing).

I like colter bay marina, it has plenty of parking and the most facilities and is centrally located in the park, but unless you have a motor colter bay is probably out unless you feel comfortable sailing through the relatively windless chanel to get in and out (getting in with a breeze on the stern isn't hard, getting out on a calm morning, good luck). Theres a campsite in little mackinaw bay right at the mouth of colter bay, that might be fun, and not needing to haul your camp stuff all the way across the lake.

Leeks marina is fairly open so you can sail in and out from the ramp, its just where the biggest mooring field is on the lake, so you have to dodge the other boats.

The last marina option is signal mountain at the south end of the lake. This is by far the easiest to sail in and out of, nothing in the way, exposed ramp so you just push off the dock and go. Only bummer thing is its tucked away in the south end of the lake, so if you want to go sail right at the base of the tetons, its a long jaunt across the lake.


The wind on these lakes can be extremely varied and will swing around all 360 degrees and can go from 5 knots to 20 knot gusts real quick, so check the weather and get a feel for it first. Usually the wind is calm in the morning, and gets its best around 1-7 or so. Where is calms back down. So if you are out in the morning or early afternoon you might be doing more bobbing than sailing. Luckily in august its warm enough to swim and not freeze to death, or we bust out some fishing rods, or get our lunch going. Then when the winds pick up (10 to 15+) I can tow a stand up paddle boarder behind the boat under sail alone. Just have to take what the mountains and wind gives you.

Go to the gtnp site and find the back country camping site map and see where your options are, and check out google maps for the marinas I described. Let us know when you'll be in the area, and ask any other questions you come up with!

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvis...y16-access.pdf

Last edited by IDtrucks; 07-23-2018 at 11:38 AM.
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