The Must-Hike Trails in Grand Teton National Park
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The Tetons are one of those majestic mountain ranges that seemingly rise out of nowhere. And when you get your first glimpse of them, it’s hard not to be awed. The mountains are famous for their sunrises, which light up the whole range. The park has 235 miles of hiking trails so no matter your skill level, there’s a way to experience these jagged mountain peaks. Here are some of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park!
Distance: 3.0 miles
Elevation gain: 300 feet
For a shorter hike that delivers immediately on views of the Grand Teton, Taggart Lake is a three-mile round-trip that exposes the giant mountains the entire way. It’s a popular trail, so make sure to get to the trailhead early! You can opt to turn around at Taggart Lake, or continue on to Bradley Lake (an additional 1.5 miles).
Cascade Canyon - Paintbrush Canyon
Distance: 19.7 miles
Elevation gain: 3,975 feet
Difficulty: Moderate [you can go as far or as little as you’d like, ideal backpacking trip]
No list of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park can be without The Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon Loop. It's an epic hike, in terms of both scenery and mileage. Most people choose to do this hike in two, or even three days, and start at Paintbrush Canyon. At the end of the canyons you’ll reach the divide at 10,700 feet with 360 degree views.
Note: Make sure to stop by the visitor center to get a backpacking permit!
Distance: 0.8 miles
Schwabaker’s Landing is a flat and easy trail that’s famous for having one of the best views of the Tetons at sunrise. You’ll see no shortage of professional photographers staked out in order to get the shot. It’s definitely worth the early wake up!
Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes
Distance: 10.2 miles
Elevation gain: 2,980 feet
This trek features a steep climb up (by switchbacks) to two subalpine lakes higher up in the Tetons. From the eastern shores of Amphitheatre Lake you'll have an upfront view of Middle Teton, Disappointment Peak, Grand Teton, Mt. Owen and Teewinot Mountain. First though, you’ll pass Surprise Lake, which offers an outstanding view of Grand Teton from its southeastern shore.
Distance: 2.2 miles
Elevation gain: 450 feet
Covering roughly 1,191 acres, Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons. Start by taking the boat shuttle across it! It’s a short, 12-minute ride but very beautiful. From the boat dock the trail climbs upward through conifer forest with huckleberry bushes. Be sure to take the short side trail that leads to Hidden Falls! From Inspiration Point you'll enjoy views of Jenny Lake, Jackson Hole, as well as the Gros Ventre Range towards the east.
Static Peak Divide
Distance: 16.3 miles
Elevation gain: 5,000 feet
Cascade Canyon often gets all the press, but Static Peak divide is debatably more breathtaking with its panoramic views. However, it’s also much more difficult - only for experienced hikers who understand their fitness level. After the divide, you can opt to continue for another half a mine to summit Static Peak. This peak is one of the few non-technical summits in the park, meaning you don’t need climbing gear to make the ascent.
Jumping Rock at Phelps Lake
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 475 feet
Phelps Lake is a great place to spend the day in the park. It's one of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park due to its famous boulder that juts out from the side of the lake, making for the perfect 15 ft jumping rock. From the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve it’s a short mile to the rock. You'll know you're close when you can hear the screams and laughter. If you want a longer hike, consider starting from the Death Canyon Overlook trail where you’ll start up high and descend down to the lake.
Distance: 7.7 miles
Elevation gain: 2,240 feet
This is probably the easiest and most accessible route for hikers to enjoy superb alpine scenery in the Grand Tetons (views that are usually reserved for mountaineers). The switchbacks cut along the face of the mountain and give you great views of the valley and lakes below. It's near the end that you reach a mighty bowl of mountains with Cleft Falls cascading below. At the junction for the Platform Campsites, the trail officially ends. However, if you choose, you can continue through the boulder field to reach the lower saddle area.
Here you have it: some of the best hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park! Be sure to check out our three-day Grand Teton Adventure where we create a custom itinerary based on your preferences.