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Yellowstone National Park Boating

There are several opportunities in Yellowstone National Park for boating. You can kayak, canoe, float tube (while fishing), rent an outboard, or go on a scenic boat cruise or a fishing excursion on Yellowstone Lake. You are limited to where you can boat in Yellowstone. Motorized boats are only allowed on Yellowstone Lake and Lewis Lake. You can float tube in areas that are open to fishing, but you must have a boat permit for your float tube. The only non lake boating is permitted in the channel between Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, where only hand-propelled vessels are allowed.

There are dangers that are inherent in boating in Yellowstone National Park. All waters are at high altitude and thaw late in the spring or summer. They are fed mainly by snow melt and water temperatures are very cold in both spring and summer. The danger of hypothermia is very real and needs to always be considered on any boating adventure. Individuals have lost their lives while boating in the park, even while wearing personal floatation devices, due to hypothermia.

The next serious thing to be aware of and consider, are winds and storms. The winds on Yellowstone's Lakes can be and usually are very strong or harsh almost daily. Thunderstorms materialize very quickly and the weather is very unpredictable. Please do not attempt to cross lakes in small water crafts - rowboats or canoes. The weather and wind may be calm and nice when you start on the water, but storms can appear quickly with no warning, putting your life and anyone with you in danger.

It is recommended that you travel early in the morning and stay within 100 yards of the shore. There is usually less wind activity during the morning and if a storm appears, you can head for shore and cover. Use the afternoon and evening hours to explore inland.

You can bring your own motorized boat for use on Yellowstone Lake. There is a boat dock where space can be rented to dock your boat at Bridge Bay Marina. The dock is run by the park concessionaire, Xanterra. You can reach them at: 307-344-7311.

You can download a pdf copy of the Boating Regulations.

A permit is required for all vessels and must be obtained in person at any of the following locations:

Bridge Bay Marina

Grant Village Backcountry Office

Lake Ranger Station

Lewis Lake Campground

South Entrance

Non-motorized boating permits only are available at:

Bechler Ranger Station

Canyon Backcountry Office

Lewis Lake Ranger Station

Mammoth Backcountry Office

Northeast Entrance

Old Faithful Backcountry Office

West Entrance

Boating Fees

Yellowstone National Park Boating Fees
Non-Motorized Vessels $ 20.00 for ten (10) days $ 30.00 Annual
Motorized Vessels $ 40.00 for ten (10) days $ 60.00 Annual

A Coast Guard Approved "wearable" personal floatation device is required for each person boating.

Activity Table

Bridge Bay Marina Activities

Yellowstone National Park Bridge Bay Marina Activities
Activity Begin End Start Schedule Duration Adult (12+) Youth (2/11) Child (- 2)
Scenic Cruise 11 Jun 12 Sep 9:00 am Varies 1 Hour $19.25 * $11.25 * Free
Times 9:00 am 10:30 am 1:00 pm 2:30 pm 4:00 pm      
Dates 11 Jun 05 Sep            
Times: 9:00 am 10:30 am 1:00 pm 2:30 pm 4:00 pm 5:30    
Dates 11 Jun 09 Aug            
Times: 9:00 am 10:30 am 1:00 pm 2:30 pm 4:00 pm 5:30 pm 7:00 pm  
Guided Fishing Begin End People Boat Duration Fee Start End
  11 Jun 08 Aug 6 22 foot 2 hours $206.00 § 7:45 am 8:00 pm
  09 Aug 11 Sep 6 22 foot 4.5 hours $463.50 § 8:45 am 6:30 pm
  11 Jun 11 Sep 6 22 foot 7 hours $721.00 § 8:45 am 6:30 pm
  11 Jun 11 Sep 6 22 foot 9.5 hours $978.50 § 8:45 am 6:30 pm
  11 Jun 11 Sep 6 22 foot 12 hours $1236.00 § 8:45 am 6:30 pm
Backcountry Shuttle Begin End Open Close Last Drop Fee    
  11 Jun 08 Aug 8:00 am 5:00 pm 3:00 pm $214.00 * 6 people $107.00 per hour
  09 Aug 12 Sep 9:00 am 5:00 pm 3:00 pm $214.00 * 6 people $107.00 per hour
Canoe Rental 11 Jun 12 Sep       $54.00 * Per Night
One Day Excursion 11 Jun 12 Sep       $315.00 *    
Boat Rental Begin End Duration Fee Comment      
18' Outboard 11 Jun 12 Sep Hour $60.00 *        
Boat Dock Rental Start End Duration Fee Duration Fee Duration Fee
18' and under boat 17 Jun 13 Sep Day $22.00 * Per Day    
Over 18' boat 17 Jun 13 Sep Day $28.50* Per Day    

   * plus 6% tax

Guided Fishing Excursions

§ Price is $ 103.00 an hour, with a two (2) hour minimum. Plus a 6% tax. The 22 foot Grady White does not have a bathroom. Maximum is six (6) people. Fishing gear for three (3) people is provided. Price includes boat, gas, guide, fishing gear for three, and cleaning of fish. Price does not include Yellowstone Fishing Permit.

The Guided Fishing Trip Includes: boat, guide, fishing gear for three people, life vests, and gas. Dining room will prepare fish if the fish are delivered to the dining room at least an hour before the dining room opens.

The Guided Fishing Trip does not include a park fishing permit. The fishing permit must be obtained or purchased before the trip. See Fishing Fees for permit information and fees.

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Backcountry Shuttle Service

The price of $214.00 includes up to two (2) hours loading and transport time. Additional charge of $107.00 per hour over 2 hours. Canoe rental $54.00 per night. All prices do not include a 6% tax.

For more information and Reservations Please call Backcountry Shuttle Office at 307-242-3893.

The Backcountry Shuttle Service can carry you and your gear to some of the most remote areas of the continental United States for a backcountry hiking / camping / canoeing or kayaking adventure of a lifetime. Drop off points include:

Columbine Creek on the east shore of the mouth of the Southeast arm

Eagle Bay

Plover Point


Wolf Bay

The shuttle can be booked one way, round trip or for any point to point service from the five mentioned drop off points as well as to and from Bridge Bay Marina.

Typical loads:


up to six backpackers with backpacking gear per shuttle trip.


up to six campers with gear including three or four kayaks/canoes per shuttle trip determined by weather conditions and overall weight


book multiple shuttle trips to accommodate large parties or outfitters

Canoes may be rented in conjunction with a backcountry shuttle.  Canoe rental includes: 17' canoe, paddles, life vests, and outriggers.

*** 12 Sep last drop-off / pick-up for the season.

For more information and Reservations Please call Backcountry Shuttle Office at 307-242-3893.

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Boat Rental

18' Outboard (motorboat) - 40 hp Electric Start Outboard. For 2 to 6 people. Price includes gas and life jackets. Deposit required. NO Advanced Reservations Accepted.

Please Note: No reservations are taken - Boat Rental is by first come, first served.

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Boat Dock Rental

Please Note:

Fees vary by boat length. You can get more information or make reservations by calling: Bridge Bay Marina: 307-242-3893.

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