I find myself adjusting the point of sail to frame the skyline of the Grand Teton to Mount Moran off my starboard rail as I head out of the marina at Colter Bay. I come to the marina often in the summer for evening sailing to decompress and enjoy the solitude of the lake while staring into ever-shifting sunlight streaming across the Teton Range.
Often referred to as the “little Switzerland of America,” Grand Teton National Park’s Jackson Lake amplifies how the mountains appear to rise right out of the water to a height of 13,770-feet at the top of the range’s highest mountain, the Grand Teton. Jackson Lake is one of the largest high altitude lakes in the United States. It sits at an elevation of 6,772-feet above sea level. The lake is about 15 miles long, 7 miles wide and 438 feet deep.
Jackson Lake has three marinas, Signal Mountain, Colter Bay and Leeks and the boating season runs from Memorial Day through late September. With the exception of Colter Bay, all boats are on mooring balls and you need to get on a waiting list to acquire one. Signal Mountain and Colter Bay also offer limited boat rentals as an alternative to ownership.
Weekends on the lake are a social event with families and friends rendezvousing in various bays under sunshades and indulging in elaborate picnics. If you wish for more than a day outing, you’ll need a permit, but there are over 10 backcountry camping sites along the shoreline.
From the deer we named Clyde that shared our camp, to waterskiing during a full moon and my son learning nautical navigation at night, some of my favorite memories with my have family have been during summer outings on Jackson Lake.