Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,749.00 ft (837.90 m)
Trail type
12.40 mi (19.96 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Holly Lake is an alpine lake located in Grand Teton National Park. This difficult out-and-back hike travels around part of String Lake and up Paintbrush Lake before reaching Holly Lake. This trail is 12.4 miles long and gains over 2,700 feet of elevation.

This hike begins at the String Lake Trailhead. The parking lot can fill fast so it is best to get there early. There are portable outhouses at the trailhead.  Begin hiking clockwise on String Lake Loop Trail for 0.1 miles before turning right on Jenny Lake Loop Trail and crossing a bridge over String Lake Outlet. After 0.2 miles, head right onto String Lake Loop Trail. You will now be hiking around the southwest and west shore of String Lake. The first mile of the trail is relatively flat. Then the trail starts going gradually uphill. After hiking on String Lake Loop for 1.3 miles, you will come to a junction and take Paintbrush Canyon Trail.

Continue uphill on Paintbrush Canyon Trail for 0.6 miles. You will be hiking amongst coniferous trees. The trail then flattens out for the next 1.2 miles. Here, you will encounter Paintbrush Creek for the first time. The trail gets a lot steeper now. 0.4 miles down the trail, you will encounter a sign that marks the boundary of Lower Paintbrush Camping Zone. Continue uphill and enjoy views of the tall canyon walls as the trail becomes less vegetated. After 1.9 miles, you will come to a junction and go right onto Holly Lake Trail.

Hike uphill on Holly Lake Trail for 0.4 miles to reach the edge of Holly Lake. From the shore of the lake, you can see Mount Woodring to the north. There is also a backcountry camping area east of the lake. After enjoying the sights of Holly Lake and Paintbrush Canyon, turn around and retrace your steps to return to the trailhead.

The hike to Holly Lake is best used in the spring, summer, and fall. It is $35 for a one-week vehicle pass to get into Grand Teton National Park. Dogs are not allowed on this trail. The wonderful scenery of Paintbrush Canyon makes the strenuous hike to Holly Lake worth the effort.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round


Open from

April 30 to October 15


Mountain Views. Wildflowers.



Trailhead Elevation

6,886.00 ft (2,098.85 m)

Highest point

9,434.00 ft (2,875.48 m)


Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.