Searchers Find Kayak And Paddle, But Not Missing Kayaker On Jackson Lake

A search continues Monday for a Minnesota kayaker who went missing on Jackson Lake on Saturday. His kayak and paddle have been found, but the man is still missing.

Clair McFarland

June 17, 20242 min read

Kayaking in Colter Bay on Jackson Lake.
Kayaking in Colter Bay on Jackson Lake. (Nolan Ventures via YouTube,

Grand Teton National Park and Teton County authorities continue searching Monday for a Minnesota man who vanished on the cold waters of Jackson Lake while kayaking Saturday.

The 43-year-old man from St. Paul, Minnesota, was kayaking in his own vessel along with a friend on Jackson Lake on Saturday. The two friends left Colter Bay around midday, planning to go to the Waterfalls Canyon on the lake’s west shore, according to a Monday statement to Cowboy State Daily from Grand Teton National Park Chief of Staff Jeremy Barnum.

The friends got separated amid high winds at about 2 p.m., Barnum told Cowboy State Daily during a later phone interview.

The friend tried to get back to the pair’s starting point, but the wind drove him northward instead to Leeks Marina, where he reported his friend’s disappearance. 

Kayak And Paddle Found

Canyons fringe the large lake, making it “very susceptible to wind” and sometimes dangerous, said Barnum, who noted that he doesn’t believe the Minnesota man was wearing a flotation device.

“We’re continuing to search,” said Barnum. “We still don’t know exactly what happened.”

There’s no indication of foul play, and the friend who reported the incident was not harmed, Barnum added.

Grand Teton National Park rangers started searching by boat, and Teton County Search and Rescue deployed a helicopter Saturday, says the statement. At about 8 p.m. searchers found the missing man’s folding kayak, paddle and dry bag floating off Moose Island.

The helicopter searched every area it could, so the teams continued the search with ground and water units only Monday, Barnum said.

Search dogs are also scouring the lake’s shores.

The missing man was last seen wearing a red ballcap bearing the NASA Kennedy Space Center logo, a blue T-shirt and black shorts, the statement says.

Authorities are urging anyone who may have seen the man or his belongings to contact the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301.

Barnum said he doesn’t have information about the height of the highest waves he’s seen on that lake, but “today, even with the winds we have, there are waves 2 to 3 feet high in the lake,” he said Monday.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter