Delta Lake remains somewhat of a hidden treasure within Grand Teton National Park. This picturesque turquoise alpine lake might be one of the more perfect settings to catch your breath for descending back to the trailhead.
The most efficient route to Delta Lake is to take the Amphitheater Lake Trail from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. As with most every parking lot within the park, it will typically reach capacity by 9:00 a.m., so grab the first overflow parking spot you see on either side of the dirt road in.
Following the Amphitheater Lake Trail, your trek is entirely uphill with virtually no break. In fact, your only breaks will be from the sun as you zigzag across exposed hillsides and into small patches of trees, providing many convenient opportunities for shade as you hydrate and catch your breath. The highly trafficked trail is very smooth and packed dirt for most of first few miles up.
After the first few switchbacks, you'll want to consult your GPS or map to make sure you haven't missed your turn. Just beyond the 3-mile mark is where you'll reach the sixth switchback, where you veer off the trail to continue to Delta Lake. It's not marked at all, and the trail isn't clear unless you're looking for it. This is where the hike gets interesting.
This mile of the trail is much more difficult and will make you earn your views at the top. You'll immediately find yourself navigating under and over downed trees on significantly steeper terrain. Once through the woods, you'll reach a giant boulder field that you'll have to scramble up. The trail is difficult to follow here, but just keep heading uphill, look for the stacked cairns, and you'll end up on the right path. After the boulder field, you'll just have one final stretch of very steep, loose dirt to climb before you reach Delta Lake.
Delta Lake has arguably the most beautiful turquoise water and the most awe-inspiring backdrop that you will find within the park's limits. There isn't a better destination for a round-trip hike under 10 miles within Grand Teton National Park. Take a dip in the picturesque water, string up a hammock and take a nap, or just enjoy the view and relax before making your way back down.
Be bear aware! The park has a high bear population. Minimize encounters/attacks by not hiking alone, and be prepared with a bear bell, bear spray, and bear canister to store food items.