Article By Jeanne
There are many reasons to hit the trails, one of the biggest is the amount of tourists drastically decreases when it requires hiking. You can hike the 4.8-mile hike to the Amphitheater Lake, which takes about 6 hours round trip including stopping for amazing photo ops & to catch your breath. If you plan on taking similar hikes in the Grand Tetons like this, here are 7 tips for hiking the Grand Tetons trails.
Hiking In The Grand Tetons National Park
The earlier you start your hike the better, for several reasons. The earlier, the less tourist you’ll encounter on the trails. The sooner you hit the trails the more time you will have to stay out on the trail before you have to head back before dark. The earlier your start the cooler the temps are, which may be a plus or minus to you. Hit the trails at 8:30 a.m. you will be chilled at first, but within 10 minutes you will be warm and feeling great.
Don’t Trust the Park Map
The park map that the rangers give you at the park entrance is fine for driving but not ideal for hiking. The map covers too large of an area to give you the true scale or details of the hike. For example, on the hike to the Amphitheater Lake the park map shows only 3 switchbacks, when in reality there are at least 50.
Bring A Snack & Pack Lunch
After hiking for miles, your body will be craving some energy. I suggest packing more than you think, you may end up having a snack half way up and then enjoying lunch at your destination and then having another snack half way down. That is exactly what happens with most hikers. Pack apples, peanut butter sandwiches, and some pretzels. You might be the only people at Surprise Lake for your lunch stop, and you couldn’t ask for a better place to sit and take in the Grand Tetons.
Bring Bear Spray
No, I am serious! Bears are real and they are really in the Grand Tetons. Better too be safe than sorry, carry bear spray. You’ll see signs all over the Grand Tetons telling you to “Be Bear Aware” and to carry bear spray. The Park Service also recommends attaching bells or other noisemakers to make sure you don’t startle a bear as you hike the Grand Tetons.
1 Liter+ Of Water Per Person
Depending on the length of your hike will determine how much water you should bring. On a 10 mile hike, you should each carry 1 liter, all of which you will consume. before you get back to the car. You have to remember you are at 6,500 feet above sea level at the start of the hike, and the elevation increases to as high as 10,000+ feet on many hikes in the Grand Tetons
Don’t Hike Alone
Hiking with someone is safer for many reasons! If you can don’t hike alone, but if you must make sure to bring enough water and supplies that you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to sign the trail log (where available). You’ll probably pass other hikers along the trail and you should be fine hiking in the Grand Tetons. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
Wear Layers of Clothes
You might be hitting the trails when it’s 30°F (0°C) if you leave in the morning. Visting in the first week of September the temps will be in the 30’s most mornings. Once you start moving and the sun comes up you’ll warm up fast, in the summer months expect temperatures in the 70-90’s. On most hikes you will take off almost all of our layers as you are heading up. However, when you have reached your destination that is an elevation of 9,000+ feet, you will be throwing your sweatshirt back on because it will be chilly.
Bring Your Camera
The views you will find along the hiking trail and at your final destination will be one you will want to capture. Make sure to pack your camera, double check your battery life & make sure you memory card is ready to make some memories. The Grand Tetons are very photogenic.
Now go lace up your hiking shoes and hit the hiking trails in the Grand Tetons. Happy Hiking!
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