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Jackson Hole Day Hikes

A list of great day hikes in Jackson Hole.

 
Hidden Falls & Cascade Canyon
Grand Teton N.P. hike near Jenny Lake. Good low impact hike.
When you see this hike’s setting just north of the Teton Range’s highest peaks, it easy to understand why it is one of area’s most popular outings. A moderate, mostly flat two-mile hike around the south end of Jenny Lake brings you to scenic Hidden Falls. From there the trail climbs steeply for about a mile to the mouth of Cascade Canyon proper. Then the route flattens and once again offers easier hiking for the next several miles. Park for this trip at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station on the east side of the lake. If you prefer, a boat shuttle carries hikers across the lake every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, dropping you within a half mile of Hidden Falls.

Bradley & Taggart Lakes
Quiet 2.5 Mile hike in GTNP.
Another classic Teton hike, this one is generally a bit less busy than Hidden Falls. Leaving the parking lot 2.5 miles north of the Moose Visitor Center the trail soon divides, one to the south and one to the north, and these paths reunite at Taggart Lake. Heading either way makes a nice loop trip of about four miles through old glacial moraines and creek bottoms. The trails are well maintained and the hiking is fairly easy with a bit of up and down. If you take the right fork, another trail branches right at Taggart Lake. This route requires about another mile to reach neighboring Bradley Lake.

Leigh, Bearpaw & Trapper Lakes
Easy hike with stunning views of the Tetons
This straightforward, flat hike offers stunning views of the sheer north faces of the main Teton peaks. Leave your car at the String Lake parking lot and head north along a well-marked path. After about a mile the trail forks. The right path heads to Leigh Lake. Another mile-and-a-half brings you to a series of sandy beaches with astounding views of the mountains. The trail continues another mile or so along the lake before crossing into a meadow that is beneath the southeast side of Mount Moran. A final mile goes to secluded Bearpaw Lake, and Trapper Lake lies just beyond.

Rendezvous Mtn. from the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram
A variety of hikes with spectacular views
Teton Village’s aerial tram gains 4,139 vertical feet before you start hiking in a high alpine setting. It’s worth the ride just for the view, but 15 minutes of effort takes you worlds away from the cable car that brought you up. A summit loop around the top ridge of Rendezvous Mountain is an easy three-tenths of a mile, while a four-mile trail loops underneath Cody Peak to the south and through the top of Rock Springs Canyon. Those with lengthier hiking goals can hike seven miles down the front of Rendezvous Mountain back to Teton Village. This route follows dirt access roads used for maintaining the ski area.

Swan Lake, Heron Pond & Hermitage Point
Easy hikes along Jackson Lake in GTNP with possible wildlife viewing.
Hikers who like to get out early will find that the varied terrain here is great habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife, such as moose. The hiking starts at the Colter Bay parking area north of Moran Junction and varies in length. Simply going to Swan Lake and returning is an easy two miles. For a little more effort and a three-mile hike there is a loop involving both Swan Lake and Heron Pond. Hiking by both ponds and out to Hermitage Point, a peninsula on Jackson Lake, is a more industrious undertaking, involving about eight miles. It is, however, all on flat terrain .

Two Ocean Lake
A different view of GTNP.
You’ll find Two Ocean Lake is a bit more off the beaten path, and its setting on the northeast end of the park features more rolling terrain along with views of the peaks that give the park its name. Driving north from the Moran entrance station, turn right after about a mile onto the Pacific Creek Road and follow the signs about another four miles to the parking area. There is a six-mile trail around the lake from the trailhead at the lake’s east end. A side trip from the west end of the lake climbs about a mile steeply to a lookout area called Grand View Point where you can see much of the surrounding valley.

Phelps Lake and Death Canyon
Moderate hiking to Phelps Lake overlook or a longer hike into Death Canyon.
This hike can be easy or quite challenging depending on how far you go. Starting from the parking area near Whitegrass Ranch, which is south from the Moose Visitors Center, you reach a spectacular view of Phelps Lake after just a mile of moderate walking. From here the trail drops steeply via switchbacks toward the lake. A fork after about three-quarters of a mile will either take you down to the lake via the left branch or into Death Canyon to the right. The trail into Death Canyon ultimately climbs more strenuously on a trail perched partway up the canyon’s steep side. After four miles, hikers reach more flat terrain and the Death Canyon Patrol cabin.

Paintbrush Canyon & Holly Lake
A hike that covers a treed area, a steep canyon and views into the valley.
This hike accesses one of the quieter canyons in the central part of the Tetons. It shares the same start with the path to Leigh, Bearpaw and Trapper Lakes. Follow the route toward Leigh Lake, but take a left at the junction near the end of String Lake. The lower part of this hike is heavily treed, but once you get into the canyon proper there are intermittent views of the steep canyon walls. Ultimately, you’ll be able to see back down to Leigh Lake, and further out in the distance, Jackson Lake. Go a couple of miles for a moderate hike or spend the day climbing the roughly 2,500 feet to Holly Lake.

Goodwin Lake
A beautiful mountain lake not far from the town of Jackson.
Popular for its proximity to the town of Jackson, this hike starts by driving your car on a rough dirt road to about 8,000 feet. Drive out of Jackson on the Elk Refuge Road about five miles until you see a well-used road turning right into Curtis Canyon. Follow this road and, at the only fork, take a right and drive until it ends at the trailhead parking area. Roughly 2.5 miles of moderate uphill hiking brings you to Goodwin Lake. The lake itself makes a nice half-day outing, but the trail continues southeast from here toward Cache Peak and deeper into the Gros Ventre Range.

Surprise & Amphitheater Lakes
"A Teton Classic"
This ten-mile round trip is a Teton classic, but because it climbs about 3,000 vertical feet over five miles it is considered difficult. An early start is recommended. Reach the parking area by turning left into Lupine Meadows just south of the Jenny Lake parking area, then drive to the end of the road. The trail winds 1.7 miles, climbing gradually until reaching a fork. Take the right, uphill fork where the trail begins the first of about 10 switchbacks. The two lakes are carved into a high cirque on Disappointment Peak with the Grand Teton in the background.
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