Hiking Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA.
If you are looking for a short and best hikes in Grand Teton National Park, this article is for you.
This national park, famous for its stunning alpine scenery, attracts every year more than 3 million visitors from all over the world. Indeed, hiking in Grand Tetons is an incredible experience within everyone’s reach.
As a matter of facts, although some of the peaks of the Teton range reache 7000 feet (with the Grand Teton rising to 13770 feet), this territory is not exclusively the playground of experienced hikers. On the contrary, a great number of short or easy hikes are conveniently accessible from the Teton Park Road. The hiking trails crisscross the valley at the foot of the big mountains, between the glacial lakes. In less than 3 hours, the visitor or the experienced hiker can enjoy the beauty of the pristine environment and observe its wilderness. Some of these trails are wheelchair compatible.
Right after our road trip to Yellowstone, we were eager to admire the famous silhouette of the three Tetons. Then, we spent some time hiking in grand Teton, and today we share with you a list of the best short hikes that you can do in just a few hours.
In order to help you as much as possible, we have enclosed the Grand Teton trail maps for every hike.
Now, take your hiking shoes, your sticks and let’s go !
Grand Teton National Park Map
Grand Teton National Park is located in Wyoming, at the southern gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Here are several maps of Grand Teton that will help you get there easily and choose your hiking routes.
– First, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton map. Since the only way to get to the national park is by car, this map shows the main access roads to the two connected parks. It also indicates the distances between the different tourist highlights, which is very useful considering the size of both parks. No need to waste time looking for directions!
Download: the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons map
Click on the map to enlarge:
– The Grand Teton Trail Map contains information about the camping areas, lakefront sites, hiking trails with mileage and some hiking tips. More detailed trail maps are enclosed below.
Download: the Grand Teton Trail map
– And Finally The Grand Teton day hike and lakeshore maps locate the day hikes and provide a short description of each of them.
8 Best short hikes in Grand Teton National Park
The hiking trails we have selected are located near the ancient glacially-carved lakes dominated by the mountains. Most of them are easy and offer, in less than a few hours, spectacular views of the stunning alpine scenary, ie the lakes and the Tetons range (South Teton (12,513 ft), Grand Teton, Mt Owen (12,926 ft) and Teewinot (12,322 ft) in the background.
#1 Taggart Lake
Taggart Lake is located in the southern area of the park. Some of the best hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park can be found near the area.
Click on the map to enlarge
The Taggart Lake hike is one of the most popular hikes. In less than 2 hours of easy walking it offers spectacular views of the Teton mountains.
From the Taggart Lake Trailhead, the path goes up on the sides of a moraine. After hiking through an aspen forest,
you reach Bradley Lake Trail junction. After turning left towards Taggart Lake, the path opens up into a meadow and offers great views of the Tetons. From the lake, the reflection of the mountains in the emerald waters is a spectacular view.
#2 Taggart Lake – Bradley Lake Loop
For our first hike in the park, the park rangers recommended to us the Taggart-Bradley Loop Hike. Indeed, in less than 3 hours of a moderate walk, we discovered two alpine lakes, Taggart and Bradley and were immersed in their wild and pristine environment. Moreover, although it is one of the best hike in Grand Teton, the more we proceeded on the way, the less people we met. It is like being alone in the hiking paradise !
Same trail map as #1
Take the same path as for the Taggart Lake Trail. But at the intersection, instead of turning left to Taggart Lake, continue right to Bradley Lake. Then follow the signs to return to the Taggart Lake Trailhead.
To get a more detailed description of this hike, read our article: Hiking Grand Teton : The Taggart and Bradley lake Trail
#3 Jenny Lake Trail Loop
Jenny Lake, the second largest lake after Jackson Lake, is a major focal point in the national park and one of the Grand Teton best hikes area.
Indeed, it is the place where the visitors can engage in many activities including of course hiking. Several paths start at the Jenny Lake Trailhead.
South Jenny Lake Trail is wheelchair compatible. Ask a ranger for a description of the trail.
Click on the map to enlarge
This popular and easy walk circles the shores of Jenny Lake. Located at the feet of the mountains, it offers magnificent views of the Teton Range and of course of the lake.
Furthermore, it is possible to extend the hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, two of the most popular and best hikes in the Tetons that are described in the following paragraph.
Hidden Falls / Inspiration Point
Hiking the Grand Tetons : Hidden Falls
Hidden Falls is a very popular spot in the park, located on Cascade Creek, and west of Jenny Lake.
There are two ways to access the falls and then to the viewpoint named Inspiration Point:
– From the Jenny Lake Trail.
Same map as # 3
– Or to shorten the hike, by the Jenny Lake Boat shuttle
The shuttle crosses the lake from South Jenny Lake to the entrance of Cascade Canyon. Then, from the entrance, the path climbs along Cascade Canyon up to the falls:If you plan to take the shuttle, check schedules and fares. Tickets can be purchased directly at the pier.
Same map as # 3
This beautiful and popular walk provides access to Hidden Falls, in Cascade Canyon. From here, it is possible to get a great view of Jenny Lake, the 100-foot waterfalls and Jackson Hole.
The path is easy when it goes around the western shore of the lake up to the entrance of Cascade Canyon. But once the canyon is entered, the climb increases rapidly.
At the falls, it is possible to extend the hike to Inspiration Point (another 0.5 miles).
Hiking Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point is a promontory that offers a breathtaking view of Jenny Lake, the Jackson Hole Valley and the Big Belly Mountains (Gros Ventre Mountains). No wonder it is one of the best hike in Grand Tetons National Park.
Hiking Tips: Make sure the path to Hidden Falls is open. Wear good hiking shoes.
#5 String Lake Loop
String Lake is a small shallow lake located between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake to the north.
Click on the trail map to enlarge
An easy hiking track circles around it. From the start, it offers wonderful views of the mountain range (Mount St. John, Rockchuck Peak) reflected in the blue waters of the lake. In addition, the western shore of String Lake is a great place where it is possible to picnic, canoe and swim in the lake. This is a perfect place to enjoy the day with the family.
From the String Lake Trailhead, hike nothward along the shoreline of the lake to get the best views of the mountains in the morning. At the intersection with the Leigh Lake trail, turn left in the direction of Paintbrush Canyon. The path enters the forest and gradually rises. After 0,7 miles, the trail reaches the Paintbrush Canyon Trail junction. Walk ahead and continue to the western shore of String Lake. The path leads to an open terrain from where the hiker sees stunning views of the St. John Mountains, Rockchuck Peak. 1,3 miles further, the trail reaches the Jenny Lake Junction and turns left towards String Lake Trailhead.
# 6 Leigh Lake shoreline trail
Leigh Lake is a glacial lake located almost in the center of Teton National Park, on the southern area of Jackson Lake.
This very popular walk is an extension of the String Lake Loop. The path is flat all the way and the views of the mountains from the eastern shore of Leigh Lake are among the best in the park.
Same map as # 5
Starting at the String Lake Trailhead and walk northward along the eastern shore of Leigh Lake to enjoy one of the finest views on Teton mountains.
It is possible to extend the hike to Bearpaw Lake and Trapper Lake (an additional 5,6 miles (round trip).
# 7 Phelps Lake Overlook
Phelps lake is a glacial lake located in the southern section of the park, at the entrance to Death Canyon. Many routes start at ou near the lake and Phelps Lake Overlook is one of the most popular and best hiking trail in the Tetons.
The views of Phelps Lake and Death Canyon are spectacular.
The path climbs through a wooded area before reaching the Phelps Lake Overlook. From there, the view of the lake and valley is downright stunning. Then walk back down to the lakeshore.
# 8 Heron pond & Swan Lake Loop (Colter Bay)
Here is the last exemple of our list showing that hiking Grand Teton provides nice opportunities to experience the wonderful panoramic views and the wildlife.
Located in the northern section of the park, on the shore of Jackson Lake, Colter Bay offers many recreational opportunities on or near the water. It is also the starting point of many easy and moderate trails, perfect for families.
Swan Lake and Heron Pond trails are short hikes perfect to watch the birds and other wildlife. It also provides beautiful views to Moran Mountan and the northern end of the Teton Range.
The track crosses forest and wetlands.
Other trail maps in Grand Teton National Park
We hope that these 8 best hikes in Grand Teton will convince you of the splendor of the Grand Teton National Park. If you’re a visitor with more time on your hands, then you’ll be tempted to hike longer trails to discover truly unspoiled habitats, varied and wild landscapes. You will get a chance to see more wildlife too. Therefore, we enclose below the itineraries of other hikes to make.
Eventhough these trails are easy or moderate, hiking in Grand Teton needs to be well prepared. Drop by the visitor center to check the current trail closures. Ask the rangers which path is the most appropriate for you depending on what you want to see, the time you have and your physical abilities.
Take time, bring good shoes, warm clothes and rain gear, plenty of water and … beware of the BEARS !
Where is Grand Teton National Park?
Best time to visit Grand Teton National Park
The park is open year-round. However, the best time to visit is from mid-May to late September. During this period, the visitors centers, the hiking trails, the campgrounds and the tourists facilities are open.
Check out the operating days before going outside of this period.
Grand Teton National Park Weather
One more tip: Check the weather before hiking in the Teton range!
All images credit of Best Hikes section : By U.S. National Park Service, restoration/cleanup by Matt Holly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Heulys website cannot be held responsible for any incident or accident occurring during the hikes.