Hiking in Grand Teton National Park
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Most of Grand Teton's trails are unpaved, with just a few short paved sections in the vicinity of developed areas. You can get trail maps and information about hiking conditions from rangers at the park visitor centers at Moose, Jenny Lake, or Colter Bay, where you will also find bathrooms or outhouses; there are no facilities along the trails themselves. Of the more than 250 mi of maintained trails, the most popular are those around Jenny Lake, the Leigh and String lakes area, and Taggart Lake Trail, with views of Avalanche Canyon.
Front country or backcountry, you may see moose and bears, but keep your distance. Pets are not permitted on trails or in the backcountry, but you can take them on paved front-country trails so long as they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long. Always sign in at trailheads, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return, and carry plenty of water, snacks and a cell phone.
Cascade Canyon Trail. Take the 20-minute boat ride ($12) from the Jenny Lake dock to the start of a gentle, ½-mile climb to 200-foot Hidden Falls, the park's most popular and crowded trail destination. With the boat ride, plan on a couple of hours to experience this trail. Listen here for the distinctive bleating of the rabbitlike pikas among the glacial boulders and pines. The trail continues ½ mile to Inspiration Point over a rocky path that is moderately steep. There are two points on the climb that afford good views of Jenny Lake and the surrounding area, but keep climbing; after passing a rock wall you'll finally reach the true Inspiration Point, with the best views. Easy. Access trailhead from Jenny Lake Visitor Center, 1/4 mile off Teton Park Rd., 8 miles north of Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
Colter Bay Nature Trail Loop. This very easy, 1¾-mile round-trip excursion treats you to views of Jackson Lake and the Tetons. As you follow the level trail from Colter Bay Visitor Center and along the forest's edge, you may see moose and bald eagles. Allow yourself two hours to complete the walk. Easy. Trailhead at Colter Bay Visitor Center, 1 mile off U.S. 89/191/287, 5 miles north of Jackson Lake Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83013.
Lunchtree Hill Trail. One of the park's easiest trails begins at Jackson Lake Lodge and leads ½ mile to the top of a hill above Willow Flats. The area's willow thickets, beaver ponds, and wet, grassy meadows make it a birder's paradise. Look for sandhill cranes, hummingbirds, and the many types of songbirds described in the free bird guide available at visitor centers. You might also see moose. The round-trip walk takes no more than half an hour. Easy. Trailhead at Jackson Lake Lodge, U.S. 89/191/287, ½ mile north of Jackson Lake Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83013.
Jenny Lake Trail. You can walk to Hidden Falls from Jenny Lake ranger station by following the mostly level trail around the south shore of the lake to Cascade Canyon Trail. Jenny Lake Trail continues around the lake for 6½ miles. It's an easy trail—classed here as moderate because of its length—that will take you two to three hours. You'll walk through a lodgepole-pine forest, have expansive views of the lake and the land to the east, and hug the shoulder of the massive Teton range itself. Along the way you are likely to see elk, pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, a variety of ducks and water birds, plus you may hear elk bugling, birdsong, and the chatter of squirrels. Moderate. Trailhead at Jenny Lake Visitor Center, S. Jenny Lake Junction, ½ mile off Teton Park Rd., 8 miles north of Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
Leigh Lake Trail. The flat trail follows String Lake's northeastern shore to Leigh Lake's south shore, covering 2 miles in a round-trip of about an hour. You can extend your hike into a moderate 7½-mile, four-hour round-trip by following the forested east shore of Leigh Lake to Bearpaw Lake. Along the way you'll have views of Mt. Moran across the lake, and you may be lucky enough to spot a moose or bear. Moderate. Leigh Lake Trailhead, northwest corner of String Lake Picnic Area, ½ mile west of Jenny Lake Rd., 2 miles off Teton Park Rd., 12 miles north of Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
String Lake Trail. This 3½-mile loop around String Lake lies in the shadows of 11,144-foot Rockchuck Peak and 11,430-foot Mt. Saint John. This is also a good place to see moose, hear songbirds, and view wildflowers. This trail, which takes about three hours, is a bit more difficult than other mid-length trails in the park, which means it is also less crowded. Moderate. String Lake Trailhead, ¼ mile west of Jenny Lake Rd., 2 miles off Teton Park Rd., 12 miles north of Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
Taggart Lake Trail. Hike 1½ miles from the trailhead to the lake and then continue on a 4-mile route around the lake where the terrain becomes steeper near Beaver Creek. There are views of Avalanche Canyon and areas where you might see moose. Plan on two to three hours to enjoy this trail. Moderate. Taggart Lake Trailhead, 4 miles south of S. Jenny Lake Junction on Teton Park Rd., Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
Death Canyon Trail. This 7.6-mile trail to the junction with Static Peak Trail is strenuous, with lots of hills to traverse before the final 1,061-foot climb up into Death Canyon. Plan to spend most of the day on this steep trail. Difficult. Death Canyon Trailhead, off Moose-Wilson Rd., 4 miles south of Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 83012.
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