If you want to enjoy views of the western (non-tourist) side of the Teton Range, but aren’t thrilled about 8+ mile hikes, don’t despair. Although most hikes into the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness are long by dayhike standards (trails up Table Mountain, the Stairway to Heaven, and Alaska Basin Overlook are examples), there is at least one short hike (stroll, really) that offers stunning views of the back side of the Tetons, especially just before sunset. I’ll call it the Western Tetons Overlook, for lack of a better title.
The trail is paved, wheelchair accessible, and certainly not more than 0.1 miles RT. So really, you won’t be stressing yourself out for this one.
It’s also a great place to stop if you will be (or have) hiking Table Mountain – the peak is very visible, and it’s fun to try and follow the trail with your eyes (with the help of binoculars) from this vantage point.
The trail directions are simple: from the parking area, follow the paved path to its end at a round concert pad. Viola! The Tetons!
Overall: This is a great little place to stop if you’ll be hiking in Teton Canyon (Table Mountain, Alaska Basin, etc.) because it’s just slightly further down the road beyond the Teton Canyon turnoff. There aren’t any picnic tables, but otherwise it makes a great place to have a tailgate picnic.
Round Trip Trail Length: 0.1 miles
Net Elevation Change: N/A
Trail Notes: The view from here is great – in the spring, the snow on the Tetons would make it spectacular!
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Key GPS Coordinates for the West Tetons Overlook
Parking: 43.76805N / -110.99947W (43° 46′ 4.98″ / -110° 59′ 58.092″) (7,050 ft.)
Viewpoint: 43.767765, -110.999203 (43° 46′ 3.9534″ / -110° 59′ 57.1302″)
Getting to the West Tetons Overlook
From ID-33 in Driggs, ID, turn east (toward the Tetons) at the traffic light onto E-Little Avenue (aka Ski Hill Road). If coming from Yellowstone and the north, this will be a left turn, if coming from Jackson Hole and the south, this will be a right turn. Pass Teton Canyon Road at mile 4.4; 3.8 miles later, arrive at the parking area, on right, signed simply as a “Scenic Overlook” with a blue sign (sort of like a rest area sign). Park in the spacious parking area.
Sunday Sun Sep 24 20%
Mostly cloudy. Lows overnight in the upper 20s.
Monday Mon Sep 25 10%
Partly cloudy skies. High 46F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday Tue Sep 26 10%
Partly cloudy. High 52F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday Wed Sep 27 10%
Sunny skies. High 58F. Winds light and variable.
Thursday Thu Sep 28 0%
Sunny skies. High around 60F. Winds light and variable.