Grand Teton has to be one of my favorite national parks in the US (along with North Cascades and a whole lot of others!) Those Alp-like jagged peaks, snow-flecked even in August, alpine lakes, lovely meadows, the unique meadows and cliffs of its western side… so totally beautiful!
So I’d like to share my favorite day hikes in Grand Teton National Park and its vicinity (in no particular order – I simply can’t choose one to be the best!) Enjoy!
Best Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park
Hidden Falls / Inspiration Point (2.2 miles RT). Probably one of the most iconic trails in Grand Teton, the route is easily accessed from the Jenny Lake West Boat Dock and offers views over Jenny Lake and up toward the Cathedral Group, as well as impressive Hidden Falls. Don’t want to take the boat? Access the trail via the Jenny Lake Trail from String Lake for very impressive views of the Tetons en route (5.6-5.8 miles RT).
Lakesshore Trail (Colter Bay) (2.75 miles RT). This short double loop is totally packed with views! Mt. Moran is featured across Jackson Lake, but Eagles Rest Peak, Traverse Peak, Mount Woodring, Rockshuk Peak, Grand Teton, and Teewinot Mountain also stand out in spectacular clarity.
Garnet Canyon (8.4 miles RT). Love cliffs and rugged scenery? Head up to Garnet Canyon for some of the best views of Middle Teton in the park. You might have to scramble a bit over a rock slide to get to the meadows proper, but it’s worth the trek. For even more adventure, continue up the trail near the falls to the Upper Saddle, some 5,000ft. above the parking area on a 12.6 mile trek.
Upper Darby Canyon (10-14 miles RT). Located on the western “non-tourist” side of the Tetons, Upper Darby Canyon is a good place to get away from the crowds, especially after leaving behind the official trail to the cave and waterfall. Hiking up to Fossil Mountain Pass will reward hikers with views of Fox Creek Pass, Housetop Mountain, the Teton Crest Trail, and more.
Leigh Lake (3.2-7.6 miles RT). There are a couple great things about this hike. First, the views of the Tetons (especially Mount St. John, Rockshuk Peak, Mount Woodring, and Mt. Moran) are excellent. Second, the trail is extremely accommodating in length – go to the first viewpoint for a 3.2 mile round trip stroll, hike all the way to the northern end of the lake and the Leigh Lake Ranger Patrol Cabin to extend the hike to 7.6 miles round trip, or end your hike at any of several beaches and viewpoints along way.
Cascade Canyon (10 miles RT). If you really like the Tetons, you’ll just have to check out Cascade Canyon. Waterfalls, marshes, moose sightings, little ponds, craggy peaks and cliffs, it’s all here. Best yet, you can visit Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls along the way. Don’t want to take the boat across Jenny Lake? Take the Jenny Lake Trail from String Lake to the Horse Trail, turn right, and access the Cascade Canyon Trail about a half mile above Inspiration Point for a spectacular 11.5 mile trek.
Table Mountain (Face Trail or Huckleberry Trail) (9.2-11.3 miles RT). If there’s one trail on the western “non-tourist” side of the Tetons you absolutely must take, it’s one of the two trails to Table Mountain. The trails are no joke, rising more than 4,000ft. in as little as 4.6 miles, but the views are out-of-this-world spectacular. Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Cascade Canyon, Schoolroom Glacier, Battleship Mountain, the plains of Idaho, more peaks, canyons, and cliffs than I could possibly name – it’s all here. Tired of the view? Turn a little and it’s totally new.
Grand View Point (2.2 miles RT). Views over Jackson Lake of most of the Teton Range make this trail stand out from others within the park boundary. The short and sweet trail with epic views just before the point proper is sure to satisfy your cravings for views.
Mount Leidy (about 2 miles RT). Really in the mood for views of the entire Teton Range? Mount Leidy is a rough road to get to, then a scramble through the forest, but the views are absolutely epic.
West Tetons Overlook (less than 0.1 miles RT). If you really want a short hike, try the West Tetons Overlook. It’s nothing fancy, but the views of Table Mountain and the Tetons are both impressive and beautiful.
Jenny Lake Loop (7.5 miles RT). I’ve never actually hiked this entire loop, but I’ve hiked most of it in sections over the years. The views of the Tetons over Jenny Lake are truly impressive, as are the views of the Cathedral Group between String Lake and the West Boat Dock. Add Hidden Falls as a side-jaunt if desired.
Stairway to Heaven / Alaska Basin Overlook (8.6-11 miles RT). Although not as classic “Teton” scenery as other trails, the Stairway to Heaven (aka Teton Shelf) Trail to the Alaska Basin Overlook is breathtaking in terms of views. High cliffs, alpine meadows, and Alaska Basin down below would drop your jaw even if Grand Teton didn’t poke its head up around the shoulder of Battleship Mountain.
Want even more hikes in the greater Grand Teton area? Check out:
Bonneville Pass (5.4 miles RT)
Lava Mountain (about 8 miles RT)
Do you have another favorite trail in Grand Teton? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Fees: $30 per week to enter or hike in Grand Teton National Park (waived with Grand Teton Annual & Interagency Passes). No fee is charge for trails on the western side of the range or Mt. Leidy.
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Tue Oct 24
Plentiful sunshine. High 57F. Winds light and variable.
Wed Oct 25
Mainly sunny. High 58F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.
Thu Oct 26
Partly cloudy skies. Colder. High near 50F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
Fri Oct 27
Abundant sunshine. High 52F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Sat Oct 28
Mainly sunny. High 57F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.