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Kyle Jenkins | 08.31.2018

Grand Teton National Park has some of our country's best day hikes and multi-day backpacks neatly tucked into 310,000 acres of raw beauty. The majestic sights are accompanied by a storied history and an incredibly diverse array of wildlife. There are trails for all skill levels, truly making this a park for the people. Here are some of our favorite trails in the GTNP, a park that will always hold a special place in the heart of those who love the outdoors.

Easier day hikes

  • String Lake Loop: The view of Cascade Canyon as you cross the bridge near the trailhead is worth the price of admission. This is a great family introduction trail to show the kids what this park is all about. Parking lot fills up fast, get there early.
  • Phelps Lake Loop: A nice hike around another one of the many large valley lakes. The Phelps Lake Trail is located in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and is very popular and full of great wildlife.
  • Swan Lake Loop: A short hike from the Hermitage Point Trailhead takes you to a nice pond filled with lily pads and frequented by all types of animals including bears. Short and easy, perfect fot the whole family!
  • Hermitage Point Trail: Usually 10-mile trails aren't considered easy. but this mostly flat hike is an amazing albeit long walk around an isthmus on Jackson Lake and doesn't require too much effort to enjoy some amazing beauty. It's a good place to find solitude once you are a few miles from the busy trailhead.
  • Signal Mountain Trail: This mildly difficult trail has some amazing views of the Teton Range from afar as well as a nice vantage of the open spaces to the east and the Snake River below.
  • Taggert & Bradley Lakes Loop: The views into Avalanche Canyon and its massive Shoshoko waterfall in the far distance are breathtaking. The relatively easy trail takes you up and down a few hills that are perfect to get your heart pumping a few times on the way, but the route isn't difficult for most people.
  • Hidden Falls via String Lake: Hidden Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park, and there are many ways to get there, including shuttle boat. In our opinion, coming in from String Lake is the prettiest way to go and will get you some light exercise along the way!
  • Leigh Lake: This flat trail around Leigh Lake is very popular thanks to the lack of elevation gain. Get here early to find a parking spot to hike around this lovely mountain setting.
  • Cascade Canyon: One of the prettiest hikes in the west, Cascade Canyon is a gorgeous slice of alpine magic that gives you a lot of options in terms of the challenge you want to face for the day. Come in from String Lake, South Jenny Lake or by boat. Many of the best views aren't too far into the canyon, and you don't really need to do the whole thing so feel free to bring the whole family.

Harder day hikes

  • Lake Solitude: Take the North Fork of Cascade Canyon up to a lofty alpine lake in this challenging day trip. The wildflowers blanket the hills on both sides of the trail as you get stunning angles of Mount Teewinot that only those who put in the effort get to see. 
  • Death Canyon: Along with its dramatic name, this steep-walled canyon has an imposing entrance that leads into a granite wonderland. Indian paintbrush line the trail in small pockets getting their water from the creek which runs alongside. The meadow at the plateau is a gorgeous place to enjoy lunch before heading back down.
  • Delta Lake: One of the great single views within GTNP comes with a challenging ascent to Delta Lake and its crystal blue waters surrounded by jagged granite peaks. The upper trail is sometimes a bit hard to stay on, but the ambitious get rewarded with a stunning slice of natural beauty.
  • Hanging Canyon: You won't find this hike on a trail map, but an unmarked and slightly overgrown path just north of the Cascade Canyon entrance takes you to a little known albeit steep journey into a gorgeous canyon with less people than most of these other hikes.
  • Garnet Canyon: The trail isn't very long, but the steep ascent makes it one that will have your legs feeling the burn. Down-valley views while working the switchbacks eventually give way to rugged granite peaks and steep canyons graced with waterfalls and glaciers.
  • Surprise & Amphitheater Lakes: With 3,000 feet of gain and 10 miles of round trip hiking, this hike will require some effort to see these picturesque alpine lakes. The hike is less popular than many others nearby thanks to the gain.

Multi-day backpacking trips (permits required)

  • The Teton Crest Trail: Cut through the heart of the Teton mountains on a 50-mile trek through some of America's best scenery. Put your legs to the test on this classic bucket-list trail and prepare to hike about 15 miles a day on your way through this alpine paradise. No single adventure will give you a better overview of the range.
  • Paintbrush and Cascade Canyon Loop: Paintbrush and Cascade Canyons are two of the prettiest places in the park, and you can see both of them in their full glory on a one-night backpacking trip that covers 20 miles of gorgeous terrain. Soak in the incredible views from the Paintbrush Divide as you make your way down to Lake Solitude.
  • Granite Canyon: The creek running out of Granite Canyon has a few camping spots along the lower steppes that are right out of a Thomas Moran painting. Glaciers feed the perfectly clear water as it cascades into small waterfalls while you do an overnighter. The hike is not hard, and you will definitely be getting foot traffic alongside, but it's one of the easier ways to enjoy some backpacking in the park.

Comments

11/27/2020
Thank you for lots of inspiring info. Please fix the link for The Teton Crest Trail goes to a page but there isn't any info there.
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