I recently spent the better part of a week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, exploring the Snake River and Grand Teton National Park after a pitstop at Yellowstone National Park. Driving into the park, you'll catch some great views of the Teton range and maybe even enjoy some wildlife sightings.
But hiking the trails and taking in the some of the spectacular views from atop summits is a breathtaking experience. While you could easily spend weeks enjoying all the park has to offer, most hikers are limited to just a few days and need to plan wisely and pack in as much as they can.
If you're not planning on backpacking for days on end in this beautiful mountain range, these are some of the best day hikes.
Cascade Canyon Trail via Jenny Lake Trailhead
For a relatively easy hike that will keep you on your feet for several hours, hit Cascade Canyon. You can stretch this adventure out to upwards of a dozen miles round trip or head to the boat dock and take a ferry to trim 2 miles off the less exciting parts of the route.
Along the way you'll spot Hidden Falls and reach Inspiration Point, where you'll get some of the best views of the Gros Ventre Mountains. The canyon opens up into some spectacular scenery with varied terrain.
Phelps Lake Overlook via Woodland Trail
Take this pretty easy trail for a short hike to the pic-worthy jumping rock located on Phelps Lake. You can make this about a 5-mile out-and-back trip or travel the full loop trail for over 7 miles of lakeside views. Leap into the chilly waters for an exhilarating experience that will cool you down for the remainder of your hike.
Delta Lake via Lupine Meadows Trailhead
Begin at the Lupine Meadows Trailhead and follow signs for the Amphitheater Lake Trail. You can veer off course a bit to hit Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes along the way - an 11.5-mile hike - or continue through the switchbacks and head directly to Delta Lake for about 8.2 miles out and back.
Along the way, you'll have a great view point of Bradley Lake and Taggart Lake but be prepared for the quick elevation gain. About a mile before you reach the Delta, you'll begin climbing across boulder fields before hitting a steep, dusty incline. But it all pays off when you reach the crystal-clear alpine lake, situated below the Grand Teton mountain.
While these three popular hikes will certainly keep you busy for a few days, these others are also great hike options if you have more time to spend in the Tetons:
- Taggart Lake & Bradley Lake Loop
- Paintbrush Canyon to Cascade Canyon Loop
- Lake Solitude via String Lake Trailhead
Be on the lookout for wildflowers and wildlife while you explore these hiking trails and invest in some bear spray in case you encounter black bears or grizzlies along the way. Double check trail maps, typically located near visitor centers or in parking lots. Once you visit the rugged and beautiful backcountry of the Grand Tetons once, you'll want to return again and again to see those beautiful peaks and stunning lakeshores.
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