The 10 Best Hikes in Grand Teton National Park

Hiking Grand Teton National Park is a real treat.  Canyons take you deep into the mountains so are you surrounded by dramatic scenery; ponds, rivers and ponds give you a good chance to see moose up close and personal; stunning mountain views are reflected in mirror-like alpine lakes; trails take you to hidden waterfalls….  There are easy strolls, moderate day hikes and even challenging multi-day treks.   No matter what your comfort (and fitness) level, there is a hike (or 10) for you.

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Best Hikes Grand Teton National Park

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Preparation for hiking in Grand Teton National Park

A couple of things to start:  

Chances are very good on many of those hikes of seeing wildlife, including moose and black bears.  Moose can be aggressive if they feel threatened – and they are VERY big – so stay well away form them.  Always take something with you to scare bears away before you get too close to them.  Get bear spray here and a bear bell here.

Some of the longer hikes can be over rough terrain and in windy canyons.  For those hikes, especially, it can be a good idea to take trekking poles with you.  There are things you need to consider when choosing hiking poles, including the weight, material, price, pole design, grips and straps, tips and shock absorbers durability.  I like the Foxelli ones – they are lightweight, shock absorbent and collapsible with cork grip handles. Check them out on Amazon here.

Finally, the weather can change quickly, so it is important to always be prepared.  If you aren’t sure what you need to take and wear, check my Day Hike Essentials list.

Best Hikes in Grand Teton National Park

The first five hikes on this list are all connected in some way and can be done together as one really long hike or can be broken up into easier chunks.

1. Jenny Lake Loop, Grand Teton NP

Jenny Lake Loop Trail

The next four hikes on this list all start at the opposite side of Jenny Lake from the parking lot and visitor center, half way around the loop, so they can be combined with all, or part of, this loop hike.  Most people bypass the loop trail by taking the shuttle boat instead, but the flat loop around Jenny Lake is a fairly easy Grand Teton hike that is well worth doing.  There are stunning views of Cascade Canyon and the Cathedral Group of mountain peaks.   

All or part of this trail can be easily combined with other easy hikes in Grand Teton National Park, including Moose Pond and Hidden Falls, to make a full day of it.

  • Trail length: 7.5 miles / 12 km
  • Elevation change: 275 feet/ 84 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • Do the hike counter-clockwise in the morning for the best light (or clockwise in the afternoon). 
    • Part of the trail goes near the road, so early morning, when there is less traffic, is best.
    • There are several popular Grand Teton day hikes in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.
    • The trail is quite narrow in parts, so if you are new to hiking, I recommend checking out my Guide to Hiking Etiquette 101

The hike goes around the entire Jenny Lake, the second-largest lake in Grand Teton NP.  To go counterclockwise, start near the boat dock area and head north along the eastern shore of the lake.  It is fairly flat through woods here, though there are a couple of small hills.  There are plenty of incredible views of the Cathedral Group and Cascade Canyon from this part of the trail.  In the early morning, the surface of the lake is often as still and clear as a mirror, so there are perfect reflections of the mountains in the lake. 

You will see a large sloped area that was burned by fire in 1999.  You hit this after about 2.6 miles/ 4.1 km as you get to the junction of the String Lake Outlet. This side trail takes you a bridge about 0.5 miles/ 800 m away that then connects to String Lake.  The junction to the main String Lake trail is off the right another 0.8 miles/ 1.3km along. You can take this if you also want to do the String Lake loop.  

Continue straight to follow the Jenny Lake loop. At the 4.9-mile/ 7.9km mark, you get to the West Shore boat dock.  If you have had enough, you can take the Jenny Lake shuttle back to the trailhead/ parking lot.  You could also take the shuttle to this point and complete half the loop.

If you want to hike to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon or Lake Solitude, then this is where all of those trails start.

To keep going around the Jenny Lake Loop, take the right fork. The trail goes through more woods on this side of the lake. At around 6.4 miles/ 10.3 km, there is another trail to Hidden Falls (the horse trail).  Stay left. Just after that is a short trail off to the left to Moose Pond.

At 6.6 miles/ 10.6km is the Valley Trail junction – stay left.  Soon you will come to the boat dock and then the end of the trail.

How long does it take to hike around Jenny Lake? About 2.5 hours. This is a lovely walk with frequent lake views, mountain views from the eastern shore and through pine forest. 

2. Hidden Falls Trail, Grand Teton NP

Hidden Falls hike Grand Teton National Park

One of the most popular places to visit in Grand Teton, Hidden Falls can be reached by hiking 2.4 miles of the Jenny Lake Loop trail (clockwise) each way to the trailhead, or by taking the Jenny Lake shuttle to and/ or from the trailhead.  The shuttle takes about 12 minutes and leaves throughout the day in season.  The Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point trails are connected, and since they are two of the best short hikes in Grand Teton National Park, combining them is very common.

  • Trail length: 1.3 miles / 2.1 km
  • Elevation change: 230 feet/ 70 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:  
    • There are several popular Grand Teton trails in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.  
    • Best combined with the hike to Inspiration Point.
    • This hike is ideal for beginner hikers. If you are a novice hiker, read my hiking guide for beginners.
    • The trail is often busy, so be prepared for crowds.  Early morning or late afternoon have fewer people.

Start on the Inspiration Point trail.  Grand Teton NP does have black bears, so I recommend taking  bear spray or a bear bell.

The trail heads uphill from the West Boat Dock through spruce forest for about 0.3 miles/ 0.5 km, crossing a wooden bridge over Cascade Creek, before reaching the Jenny Lake Loop trail.  Another 0.2 miles/ 320 m along is the horse trail; go straight.  Soon after that is the side trail to Hidden Falls. Turn left here. The falls are a short distance along this side trail.

The falls are hidden from view until you get right to their base, hence the name Hidden Falls.  Grand Teton National Park has several waterfalls, but at about 200 feet high (over several drops), these are probably the most impressive. 

After visiting the falls, return back to the main trail.  You can then turn right to go back to the lake or turn left to continue on to Inspiration Point (recommended).

3. Inspiration Point, Grand Teton NP

Inspiration Point hike Grand Teton national Park

This is one of the most popular Grand Teton hikes and is usually combined with Hidden Falls and often with Cascade Canyon and/ or the Jenny Lake Loop trails.

  • Trail length: 2.2 miles / 3.5 km
  • Elevation change: 450 feet / 137 m
  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • Due to the position of the sun, photos are best in the afternoon.   Late afternoon will give you nice light and fewer people, but be prepared for the 2-mile hike around Jenny Lake or coordinate with the last boat back.
    • There are several popular Grand Teton National Park hiking trails in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.
    • Best combined with Hidden Falls.

Start by following the description above to Hidden Falls.  If you are unfamiliar with reading trail markers, check out my Guide to Reading Trail Markers. Either continue straight along the trail and skip Hidden Falls (not recommended – it is just a short distance down a side trail) or when returning from the Hidden Falls side trail, turn left to Inspiration Point. From the Hidden Falls trail, it is less than 0.5 miles/ 0.8 km and 200 feet/ 61 m elevation each way. 

The trail gets rockier and is uphill, but is worth it for the views.  Near the point, there is a short section of the trail that goes along a steep ledge.  If you have a fear of heights, this can be a little hairy; however, it is fairly short.

From Inspiration Point, there are clear views over Jenny Lake, Jackson Hole and the Gros Ventre Mountains in the distance.  There are views behind you of Symmetry Spire and Storm Point; however, the main views are to the east of the lake and valley. 

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think this view is as stunning as the views of the Grand Teton range, but it does give you a different perspective from the ubiquitous mountain views that you see for most of your trip to Grand Teton National Park.

Previously, you could continue on from Inspiration Point to Cascade Canyon.  However, for the past few years, this connecting trail has been closed for rehabilitation of the trail.  If you wanted to hike to Cascade Canyon, the only option was to return back to the lake and take the other trail up to Cascade Canyon.  Check when you arrive to see if the connecting trail is open or not.

4. Cascade Canyon

Cascade canyon hike Grand Teton National park

One of the best day hikes in Grand Teton National Park, this is my personal favorite.  It’s not too hard or long and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.  Plus, I saw moose and river otters.  Read a full description of the Cascade Canyon hike here.

The hike can easily be combined with other popularGrand Teton National Park hikes, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

  • Trail length: 9 miles/ 14.5 km
  • Elevation change: 1,110 feet/ 338 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • There are several popular Grand Teton National Park trails in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.
    • This is quite a long hike, so I recommend making sure you have everything on my Day Hike packing list with you.
    • To get to the trailhead, you hike 2.4 miles from the Jenny Lake parking lot along the Jenny Lake Loop trail; hike 1.7 miles/ 2.7 km from the String Lake parking lot; or take the Jenny Lake shuttle boat across the lake (recommended).  What time does Jenny Lake shuttle start? The times vary throughout the season, but I recommend taking the earliest boat. Reservations for the shuttle boat are not necessary.

Unless you are hiking to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point first, take the right trail from the boat dock.  The first 1.5 miles/ 2.5 km is quite steep as it climbs up through woods to the start of the canyon.  Once you are in the canyon, it does flatten out though. 

When you turn around a corner and the forest thins out and you see the canyon for the first time, your jaw will hit the ground.  The view of Grand Teton and Mount Owen to the south and the craggy cliffs of the south side of Hanging Canyon to the north will take your breath away!  Literally. 

For the next 1.5 miles/ 2.4 km, the trail follows alongside Cascade Creek, with stunning views the whole way.  There are good chances of seeing black bears, moose and even river otters. 

The trail then heads into woods, so the views are more obscured.  However, the further the trail goes, the steeper the south canyon wall gets.  About another mile/ 1.6 km or so, there are stunning views through the trees of the waterfall that gives the canyon its name cascading down the entire side of the mountain from a glacier atop the craggy peaks of Mount Owen down to the creek far below. 

Another half a mile/ 800 m onward, the trail reaches a fork.  The left/ south fork goes to Hurricane Pass and Alaska Basin and the right/ north fork goes to Lake Solitude and eventually connects to the parallel Paintbrush Canyon.

If you just plan to do the Cascade Canyon Trail, this is the point most people turn back.  If you have some more steam left, you can continue on to Lake Solitude (another 2.5 miles/ 4 km each way).

I LOVED this hike – not that hard and such amazing scenery!  And so easily combined with Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

5. Lake Solitude

Lake Solitude Grant Teton National Park hike

One of the more challenging Grand Teton hiking trails, this is an extension of the Cascade Canyon trail.  The gorgeous alpine lake surrounded by steep mountain slopes makes it one of the best hikes Grand Teton and well worth the extra effort to get there.

  • Trail length: 15.3 miles / 24.6 km
  • Elevation change: 2,350 feet / 716 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • There are several popular Grand Tetons hiking trails in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.
    • There are backcountry campgrounds near Lake Solitude.  Staying there breaks the hike up, making the hike from here to Paintbrush Canyon easier in one way, but keep in mind that you will need to carry your gear up steep trails.  If you plan to do this, you will need a back-country permit
    • This can be a challenging hike, so make sure you have the right gear.  Check out my Best Hiking Gear list

How do you get to Lake Solitude? To start, hike through Cascade Canyon.  At the fork at the end of the canyon, take the North Fork.   The trail continues through spruce forests and crosses Cascade Creek twice.  The first time is just after the fork.  Look to the left to see an historic cabin that was built in 1935.  The second creek crossing is another 0.4 miles/ 640 m along.  You emerge from the forest here to see a jaw-dropping U-shaped, glacier-carved canyon in front of you. 

Soon after this, the trail starts to climb from the canyon floor up the west side of the canyon.  The trail is rocky for most of the rest of the way.  It is possible to camp here (get a backcountry permit from the national park office).  If you don’t want to carry all that gear with you, although it is one of the longest Grand Teton National Park day hikes, it is definitely doable in a day.  However, if you want to combine it with the Paintbrush Canyon hike, then I recommend camping overnight (though the combo is also possible in one long day).   

Note that this part of the trail can still be covered in snow into June and July, but is usually covered in wildflowers late July/ early August. The canyon narrows as the trails becomes steeper.  The last mile/ 1.5 km is quite tough.

After about 7.5 miles/ 12 km, the views open up and there an absolutely breathtaking view of Lake Solitude below you, surrounded by a steep granite wall about 1,500 feet/ 450 m tall.  A waterfall cascades down the cliff into the lake. 

To get down to the lake, take the side trail about 100 yards/ meters further on.  A small rocky peninsula in the lake makes a perfect viewpoint. 

After enjoying the stunning views, you can either continue on to Paintbrush Canyon Divide (this adds another 5 miles/ 8 km to your hike and the first couple of miles are steeply uphill, so it best done by breaking it up by camping overnight at one of the nearby campgrounds) or return through Cascade Canyon.  The return trail has great views of Mt. Owen and Grand Teton.

This tag-on to the Cascade Canyon hike is hard going, but if you are fit enough, the views of this gorgeous alpine lake is worth the effort.

6. Moose Ponds

Moose Pond Grand Teton national Park

One of the best hikes in Grand Tetons to see wildlife, it is also one of the most popular Grand Teton easy hikes.

  • Trail length: 2.7 miles/ 4.3 km
  • Elevation change: 195 feet/ 59 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • TrailheadJenny Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • This hike is often led by a park ranger. Check the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and sign up if you can.  You will hike in a small group, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but you will get a commentary from a ranger with interesting facts about the park, wildlife and geology.   Of course, you can also do it by yourself.
    • This is just of the many hiking trails Grand Teton National Park has in the area, so the Jenny Lake parking lot fills up early, especially in summer. Stay at the Jenny Lake Campground or get there before 9:00am to be sure you get a parking spot.

The trail starts along the Jenny Lake Loop trail.  Go down the paved path to the boat deck, turn left and cross the footbridge.  There are stunning views of the mountains across the lake, which can look like a mirror, especially early on the morning.  At 0.8 miles/ 1.3 km is the junction with the Lupine Meadows Road trail.  Keep straight. 

About 0.2 miles/ 320 m further on, the trail to Moose Ponds is on your left. It’s a bit of a climb up to a point where you can see the pond below.  There are often moose sighted in the pond, eating grasses growing in the shallow water, surrounded by woods and framed by the stunning Teewinot Mountain.  Be careful not to get too close to the moose though, as they are wild animals and can be dangerous if they feel threatened.  This is a good time to use a zoom lens.   If you take photos with your iPhone, as I do, you can get an attachable zoom lens on Amazon here.

The trail goes back downhill to the pond, circles around the first pond and continues around the top/ north of the second pond.  At 1.3 miles/ 2km, there is a small side trail to a small lookout with views over the pond.

From there, you can turn back or extend the hike by almost a mile and continue in a loop through Lupine Meadows via Lupine Valley Road.

Of course, everyone has their own experiences, but this was the best – and by far the most picturesque – sighting I had of moose in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

7. String Lake Loop

String Lake Trail grand teton national park

This is one of the best day hikes Grand Teton National Park because of the incredible views of some of the key Teton peaks seen across a gorgeous lake. 

  • Trail length: 3.8 miles/ 5.7 km
  • Elevation change: 275 feet / 84 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • TrailheadString Lake Trailhead (or Leigh Lake Trailhead)
  • Tips:
    • This is one of the most popular hikes at Grand Teton National Park, so the parking lot at the trailhead fills early.  I recommend getting there before 9:00am in summer to get a spot.
    • Go around the lake counter clockwise for the best mountain views in the morning light.

Going counter clockwise from the String Lake Trailhead, the trail, which is mostly paved at this point, follows the east shore of the lake, passing some interpretative signs.  There are amazing views of the Cathedral Group (Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton and Mount Owen) and Mount Moran.   The path ends after 0.3 miles/ 0.5 km and for the next 0.3 miles/ 0.5 km follows the road to the Leigh Lake Trailhead. 

You will then be walking on the Leigh Lake Trail for the next 0.8 miles/ 1.3 km.  This part of the trail, around the eastern shore of String Lake, provides wonderful views of Mount Moran across the lake.  At the one-mile/ 1.6 km mark, you’ll pass the String Lake Horse Trail to the road.  Keep straight.  Another 0.4 miles/ 640 m takes you to the Bearpaw Lake Trail junction.  If you turn right, you get to Leigh Lake and then Bearpaw lake. 

For the String Lake loop, turn left. You will soon cross a small wooden bridge over the Leigh Lake Outlet then continue on through lodgepole pine forest until the 2-mile/ 3.2-km mark.  At this point, you would turn right to continue on to Paintbrush Canyon.  However, you will turn left to continue around String Lake. There are lovely views of String Lake below you for parts of this stretch of the hike.

At 3.4 miles/ 5.4 km, you will get to the junction to the Jenny Lake Trail to the right.  If you wanted to combine this hike with the Jenny Lake loop, you would turn right. 

To continue around String Lake, turn left. Another 0.2 miles/ 320 m along there is a small bridge over the String Lake Outlet.   Turn left and another 0.1 miles/ 150 m takes you back to the trailhead.

This is an especially lovely hike in the morning, when the lake often provides a perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains.

8. Paintbrush Canyon, Grand Teton NP

Paintbrush Canyon HIke Grand Teton National Par

Although this is a challenging hike due to its length and elevation change, it is easily one of the best hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park because of the spectacular mountain scenery and not one, but four, lakes.

  • Trail length: 5.8 miles/ 9.3 km to Holly Lake. 7.6 miles/ 12.2 km to Paintbrush Divide.  9.8 miles/ 15.8 km to Lake Solitude.
  • Elevation change: 2,592 feet/ 790 m to Holly Lake.  3,865 feet/ 1,178 m to Paintbrush Divide.
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • TrailheadLeigh Lake Trailhead or String Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • Starting at the Leigh Lake Trailhead is 0.2 miles/ 320 m shorter each way; however, starting at the String Lake Trailhead takes you around the bottom of String Lake, which is a particularly pretty trail. 
    • This can be combined with the Lake Solitude hike through the parallel Cascade Canyon for an epic 20-mile/ 32-km loop (17.5 miles/ 28 km if you take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake).  If you do that, it is recommended to hike in a counter-clockwise direction for the best light for photos. 
    • Paintbrush Divide is high (10,696 feet/ 3,260 m) and can be covered in snow even in July, so check conditions before you set out if you plan to do the full Paintbrush-Cascade Canyons loop.
    • String Lake Trailhead especially fills up early as hiking in the Grand Tetons is popular, so get there early (before 9:00am is best).

If you start at the Leigh Lake parking lot, go down to String Lake and turn right on the String Lake Loop Trail. There are stunning views of Teewinot Mountain, Rockchuck Peak and Mount Moran.  About 0.5 miles/ 800 m along, the String Lake Horse Trail branches off to the right.  Continue straight.  is You will pass the junction with the Bearpaw lake Trail, which goes to Leigh Lake, at 0.9 miles/ 1.5 km.  Turn left and you will soon cross a small bridge over the Leigh Lake Outlet, which joins Leigh and String Lakes. The trail slopes up slightly, going through pine forest.  1.6 miles/ 2.6 km in, the trail meets the main Paintbrush Canyon trail to the right.   This is where you meet up with folks who started at the String Lake Trailhead. 

If you start at the Spring Lake Trailhead, head left and you will almost immediately meet up with the Jenny Lake Loop trail.  Turn right and follow this trail for about 0.3 miles/ 0.5 km until the junction with the String Lake Trail.  Go straight ahead/ right to continue around String Lake for about half a mile/ 800 m.  You will then get to the junction of the Paintbrush Trail to the left.  The String Lake loop goes around to the right.  This is where you will meet up with people who started at the Leigh lake Trailhead. Go left/ straight.

The trail then proceeds up a series of switchbacks to the canyon.  3 miles/ 4.8 km into the hike, you’ll pass through huckleberry bushes for about a mile.  This is prime bear country, so be sure to have a  bear spray or a bear bell with you.  3.9 miles/ 6.3 km in is the mouth of Paintbrush Canyon.  Cross the creek and the views open up and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the canyon.  You can often see moose in the creek along this section of the trail.

Around 4.5 miles/ 7.2 km, there are large boulders and the trail is steep and rocky.  Trekking poles are a good idea here.  There are lovely views of Leigh and Jackson Lakes.

6 miles/ 9.7 km from the trailhead, the trail splits.  These trails join up again, so you can go either way, but the right trail is shorter and more scenic.  Soon after you take the right fork, there is a small marshy lake with great views of Paintbrush Divide.  Another 0.5 miles/ 800 m takes you to Holly Lake, nestled below Mount Woodring.

Holly Lake Paintbrush Canyon
Holly Lake

0.2 miles/ 320 m further along, the trail rejoins the other trail (that you took if you turned left at the fork). The trail then ascends quite steeply and it can be snowy around here. There are a couple of short sections on narrow ledges with sheer drop offs on one side – if you are afraid of heights, these can be quite hairy!

7.6 miles/ 12.2 km in, you get to Paintbrush Divide.  There are absolutely stunning 360° views of the incredible Grand Teton ranges.  This is the common turning back point, though it is possible to continue on another 2.2 miles/ 3.2 km (downhill) to Lake Solitude.

9. Signal Mountain

Signal Hill Grand Teton national park hikes

Although you can drive to many places in Grand Teton National Park (read about the ‘don’t-miss’ 42-mile Tetons scenic loop drive here), hiking is much more rewarding.  This is definitely true of Signal Mountain.  A road goes right to the top, but the trail gives you more time to enjoy the views and your surroundings along the way.

  • Trail length: 6.6 miles/ 10.6 km
  • Elevation change: 1,040 feet / 317 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • TrailheadSignal Mountain Lodge
  • Tips
    • Jackson lake Overlook is a great place to see the sunrise and Signal Mountain Overlook is a great place to see Jackson Hole and the Gros Ventre mountains late afternoon or sunset.

The trailhead is about 0.2 miles/ 300m from the main parking lot, opposite where the park employees live.  Walk west along the road after the general store and campground office or walk along the path just east of the campground office. The trail almost immediately crosses Teton Park Road and then starts a steep uphill, crossing Signal Mountain Road after 0.5 miles/ 800 m. 

Soon after you cross the road, you pass a small pond covered in water lilies and proceed through a pine forest.  About 0.6 miles/ 1km, there are great views of Mount Moran.  0.1 mile/ 150 m further along, there is a fork in the trail.  The trail splits here, but rejoins later, so you can go either way.  However, it is best to take the right fork for the ascent, which goes past a lake, and take the other trail coming down so that you get mountain views on the way back.

1.9 miles/ 3km into the hike, the trails rejoin and is fairly steep uphill, passing through meadows and more lodgepole pine forests for 0.6 miles/ 1 km before reaching Jackson Lake Overlook. This is an especially lovely spot to see the sunset/ early morning light, with stunning views of Jackson lake and the Grand Teton Mountains.

You can continue on to Signal Mountain Overlook, but this last 0.8 mile/ 1.3 km is along the road.

10. Taggart Lake

Explored by fellow bloggers Ashley + Nick from Illness To Ultra

Taggart Lake one of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park
Taggart Lake. Photo credit: Ashley + Nick from Illness to Ultra

If you are looking for a calm and gentle hike that still provides a stunning view of the Grand Tetons, then you need to head out on the Taggart Lake Trail, one of the best hikes in the Grand Tetons.   You have the option of making this a 3.3 mile/ 5.3 km out and back or an almost 4-mile/ 6.4 km loop hike. With only 300 feet/ 91 m of elevation gain, Taggart Lake is a great little hike for the entire family. 

  • Trail length: 3.3 miles/ 5.3 km (out and back) or 4 miles/ 6.4 km (loop via Beaver Creek Trail)
  • Elevation change: 300 feet/ 91 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • TrailheadTaggart Lake Trailhead
  • Tips:
    • The Taggart Lake trailhead is located only 2.3 miles north of the Moose Entrance Station or 3.5 miles south of the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. 
    • Can be extended by adding Bradley lake and by returning via the Beaver Creek Trail

As you start from the trailhead, veer right (the Beaver Creek Trail is to the left).  You can expect to hike through aspen-covered moraine until the trail opens up to spectacular views of the Grand Tetons for the rest of the way.

The hike itself can get a little confusing as it crosses both the Beaver Creek Trail and the Bradley Lake Trail.  At about 1.1 miles/ 1.7 km is the junction with the Bradley Lake Trail off to the right.  Continue straight to Taggart Lake. A GPS or map is helpful when you reach these junctions to make sure you stay on track. However, this is usually a heavily trafficked trail, so friendly hikers are always available to offer directions should you need them.  

Once you arrive at the 305-acre, glacially carved lake, feel free to hop in for a swim to cool down – that is if you can handle cold water temperatures!  Having lunch next to the lake is the preferred way of enjoying the incredible lakeside view of the nearby Grand Tetons.

After lunch, if you are up for a longer hike, consider tacking on the extra 1 mile/ 1.6 km to the nearby, but smaller, Bradley Lake. If not, feel free to head back the way you came or take the loop trail back to the parking lot.

Grand Teton National Park Trail Map

Click on the Grand Teton National Park trail map below to see each individual hike.

Books about Grand Teton National Park

Whether you can;t travel right now and want to do some arm chair traveling; you have your trip planned and want to get in the mood by learning more about the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole; you want some topical reading to take with you; or you are back from your trip and want to keep the memories alive, reading books about the Grand Tetons is a great thing to do. I love to read more about my travel destinations – fictional stories set there, history books, personal accounts of traveling or living there or guide books t help me plan…. Here are my top picks for books about Grand Teton and Jackson Hole:

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Teewinot: Climbing and Contemplating the Teton Range (2000), Jack Turner

The peaks of Grand Teton National park are popular with climbers and Teewinot is one of the most beautiful.  Jack Turner describes in detail the mountain, its weather, terrain and, most importantly the climbs he and fellow climbers do.  I am not a climber, so this was a safe way to experience the thrill from the safety and comfort of my sofa!  I didn’t want to rush out and become a climber, but I do appreciate the opportunity to gain a fascinating look into the world of climbers and see the Tetons from a different perspective. 

Buy it on Amazon here

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Wapiti Wilderness (1987), Margaret Murie and Olaus Murie 

The Muries lived in the Tetons for thirty seven years and document their personal stories in alternating chapters.  Margaret writes about their lives camping and travelling in the wilderness and Olaus writes about his work as a biologist studying wapiti (elk) and other animals.  It’s a fascinating insight into life, wildlife and the inhabitants of Jackson Hole and the Teton mountains.   The book includes drawings and photos. This is an interesting introduction and insight into the region. 

Buy it on Amazon here

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A Place Called Jackson Hole (1999), John Daugherty

This book, commissioned by the National Park Service, is a history of the people of Jackson Hole.  It starts with the prehistoric native peoples, and moves on to include fur trappers, explorers, prospectors, pioneers and homesteaders, cattle ranchers, conservationists and even tourists.  This is a nice balance because so much you read is about the landscape and the wildlife.  Learning about the human history gives a different perspective and depth to your experience when visiting the area.

Buy it on Amazon here

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Compass American Guides: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Brian Kevin

This is the guidebook I used to help plan my trip.  I usually balance blogs and a good guidebook.  Most of the book focusses on Yellowstone, but there is a sufficient section on Grand Teton National Park too.  Lots of practical information.

Buy it on Amazon here

Happy hiking!

Do you have any favorite hikes or tips for hiking Grand Teton National Park? I’d love to hear them. Comment below. 

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Best Hikes Grand Teton National Park

Read other posts about Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks:

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About the author


James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He is passionate about experiential travel, i.e. meaningful travel that actively engages with the environment and culture.  He helps people have similar experiences that involve active participation in activities and festivals; engaging with the local food and handicrafts through lessons and food tours; and interacting positively with environment by hiking, riding, rowing, diving and low/no impact animal encounters. 

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