Grand Teton National Park Easy Hiking Tips and Trips 

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No matter what your fitness level, there are many hikes to be enjoyed in Grand Teton National Park. Best of all, you do not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the beautiful vistas, canyons, and waterfalls in the park.

Be Prepared
Weather can and does change rapidly in the mountains. Take along extra clothing when hiking into the higher elevations, wear sunscreen, and take plenty of water and high energy snacks. If you are planning a long hike, start in the morning and keep your eye on the time. You do not want to be caught on the trail after dark.

Be Bear Aware

You will notice these signs everywhere in the park. Take them seriously. At certain times of the year, some trails may be closed due to increased bear activity. Park rangers put on bear safety presentations which you should also consider attending.

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Whenever you are hiking in the park always take along bear spray, know how to use it, have it immediately available, and talk or make noise while you hike. Never hike alone.

Lakeshore Trail Hike at Colter Bay, Jackson Lake

This flat, 2.0 mile loop trail follows the shoreline along a peninsula in Colter Bay. You will enjoy beautiful views of Mount Moran across Jackson Lake and reflections in Colter Bay. The trail begins on a paved service road near the boat docks at the Colter Bay Marina.

Heron Pond and Swan Lake Hike

If you enjoy waterfowl, wildlife, and water lily covered ponds, this hike is for you. Look for trumpeter swans, beaver, moose, and bears. This relatively flat hike starts at Colter Bay Village and is a 3.0 mile loop.

Willow Flats Shuttle or Loop Hike

When snow still covers the mountain trails in the spring, the Willow Flats area west of Jackson Lake will be snow free and ready for hiking. The willows and marshes are prime habitat for a variety of wildlife. Look for moose, sandhill cranes, beaver, bears, and other wildlife. The area is, as the name suggests, flat and it can get rather warm trekking through the flats and open meadows due to the lack of shade trees so you may want to choose a cooler day for this hike.

The shuttle hike is 4.9 miles. You can start the shuttle hike from either the Colter Bay coral or at the small parking lot on the south side of Jackson Lake Lodge. For the shuttle, you will need to park your car at either end and get a ride back to the trailhead. The loop trail is 8.3 miles starting at the Jackson Lake Lodge trailhead. The shuttle and first part of the loop trail are actually an abandoned dirt service road.

String Lake Hike

Nestled between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake, what String Lake lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This relatively flat 3.4 mile loop hike is wheelchair accessible for approximately 0.3 miles and we maneuvered a sturdy stroller through the entire hike with an occasional lift by Mom and Dad. You’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views reflecting in a placid lake, footbridges, and streams. Begin your hike at the String Lake Trailhead parking lot by turning west at the North Jenny Lake Junction turnoff from Teton Park Road.

Taggart Lake Hike

This 4.0 mile loop hike. Park your car at the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking lot (off Teton Park Road) and follow the path to your right (north). You will soon be crossing the footbridge over Taggart Creek, the perfect spot for your first picture. I can not exactly call this hike easy as it is a gradual uphill climb to Taggart Lake. You may need to make a few pit stops to catch your breath but continue on. You will be rewarded with splendid views of the Grand Teton over the lake. Once you cross the footbridge at the outlet of the lake there is a little bit more of a climb but the rest is all downhill. Be sure to turn around to catch the view overlooking Taggart Lake.

Jenny Lake Hike

Some consider Jenny Lake to be the most picturesque lake in the park, and it is gorgeous. This 7.7 mile loop takes you all the way around the shoreline of Jenny Lake. Start your hike by parking in either the String Lake Trailhead parking lot or the parking lot at the South Jenny Lake Junction off of Teton Park Road. I recommend starting at the String Lake Trailhead in the morning. This way you will be arriving at the south end of Jenny Lake around lunch time where you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy the visitor center, and use the facilities before completing your hike. A worthy side trip while on this hike is the loop up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

If you are not up for the 7.7 mile loop around Jenny Lake, take the boat from the South Jenny Lake parking lot. The boat departs approximately every 15 minutes and is a beautiful ride across the lake. Once you disembark, it is only a 0.2 mile hike to Hidden Falls and another 0.4 miles on to Inspiration Point where you’ll enjoy sweeping vistas of Jenny Lake and the valley below. This is a gradual but simple climb on a well traveled trail. If you are afraid of heights, you may not be able to complete the last section of trail up to Inspiration Point as the trail is on the side of a rock wall although the drop-off is not as high as it seems. Looking out over the valley makes you feel like you are way up in the air. There is a very nice lookout point just before this last bit of trail so you can still enjoy the view from up here.

Cascade Canyon Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

The Cascade Canyon hike continues on past Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The is the perfect opportunity to get into the back country with mountains soaring above you on either side. After leaving Inspiration Point, the trail climbs steeply for about a mile but once you get past this it becomes a gradual climb through the meadows of the canyon. You will hear and see crystal clear Cascade Creek roaring through the canyon to Hidden Falls below. The trail is 9.8 miles round trip if you go all the way to the junction with the Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Canyon trails. If you are planning to take the boat back across Jenny Lake on your return be sure to check the last departure time before you leave. If you miss the boat you can follow the Jenny Lake Trail and additional 2.1 miles back to the parking lot. Due to the higher elevation of this climb and lingering snow, the best months to complete the hike are July and August. Check with a park ranger for trail conditions.

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This is by no means an all inclusive list of easy to moderate trails within Grand Teton National Park. There are many more and several of the above trails have off-shoot loops taking you to an additional lake or hidden mountain treasure. If you love to hike, buy yourself a book on the trails in the park. Most hiking books have graded the trails according to difficulty level so all can enjoy the splendor of Grand Teton National Park.

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7 Tips for Hiking In The Grand Tetons

Article By Jeanne

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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

Hike Early

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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