Buffalo Fork River: Turpin Meadows to Teton National Park

CLASS - II

GRADIENT - 15 ft/mile

LENGTH - 13 miles

FLOAT TIME - 3 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Jackson Lake

PUT IN - Turpin Meadows on the Buffalo Valley Road

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - upstream from US-287 Bridge

Buffalo Fork River CFS Data

USGS Gage Station CFS near US-26.

Buffalo Fork River Map

 

The Buffalo Fork of the Snake River begins in the Teton Wilderness, across the Continental Divide from the head waters of the Yellowstone River, and flows west to the Snake River below Jackson Lake. Because the upper reaches lie in a roadless area and the lower section is in Teton National Park (floating through here is prohibited), there is only a short stretch of the Buffalo Fork that is floatable.

Access to the Turpin Meadows Landing is reached by turning off US-287 at mile #3 and following along the river on the Buffalo Valley Road. After about ten miles, the pavement ends at the bridge landing in Turpin Meadows (just below a campground). You can also turn off US-287 at mile #13 and take a dirt road five miles north to the bridge.

Beginning at the Turpin Meadows Landing, the river flows through a nice little mountain valley that offers a good view of the Tetons. The river does a bit of meandering and there are a few channel options to choose from during the first five miles or so. This area has numerous sections of snags and logjams to watch for giving the river a Class II rating.

About two hours from the put-in, the river leaves the Valley Road and swings around Burro Hill. Here Blackrock Creek joins the Buffalo (from river left) and you follow along the highway for a bit. The river then bends back to the Valley Road and the first take-out.

This first landing may be reached by turning off the Valley Road, three miles from US-287, and taking a two-track road down through an aspen grove to the river. The next take-out is downstream about two miles. This landing is reached by turning off the Valley Road, two miles from US-287, and taking a small road down and around an embankment to the river.

You can continue downstream from this landing to an area near the highway bridge (before you enter Teton Park), but this place requires a long drag-over and is a poor landing. Float time from Turpin Meadows to the second take-out is about three hours.

Photo Caption (image not shown): The Buffalo Fork meanders through a broad valley with several channel selections and a few logjams.