With all of the recreational opportunities and geologic features available, some visitors neglect hiking in the Tetons for lack of time. However, a number of easy to moderately easy day hikes can be made in a few hours, and they offer especially good early morning or late afternoon opportunities. An otherwise full day can always begin or end with a nice walk. The Tetons’ snowy peaks and steep canyons often intimidate potential hikers, but one of the great features of Grand Teton National Park is its accessibility. Except for the high alpine country, much of the park can be experienced fairly easily. The lakes, mountain streams, wildflowers, and panoramic views can all be reached and enjoyed without much difficulty. Day hikes in the Grand Tetons should not be taken too lightly, though. Sudden changes in weather, the effects of altitude, and physical conditioning can vary the time required to hike and return. Adequate water, snacks, and rain gear should always be taken along. More often than not, visitors will spend more time enjoying the trails than they anticipated.
Taggart lake Hike
4 miles, 300 feet elevation gain
Taggart Lake Hiking Trail Map (PDF)
This popular hike can be enjoyed in virtual solitude early in the morning or late in the day. The trail crosses a mountain stream, loops up and onto the glacial moraine that helps form the lake, cuts through the lush regrowth of an old forest fire, and returns down a quiet draw filled with a variety of wildlife habitat.
Phelps Lake Overlook Hike
1.8 miles, 400 feet elevation gain
This moderately easy hike climbs slowly up to a viewpoint at the top of a huge lateral moraine, overlooking Phelps Lake. Massive, windswept Douglas Fir trees line the top of the moraine, and the view up Death Canyon is spectacular. On the way, the trail passes through a variety of wildflowers and crosses small streams and meadows.
Leigh Lake Hike
2 to 5 miles, no elevation gain
Leigh Lake Hiking Trail Map (PDF)
Even visitors who are capable of hiking difficult trails enjoy this hike for its classic views, beautiful water, and potential for wildlife. It’s practically flat all the way as it follows the east shore of String Lake to reach Leigh Lake. It’s a popular trail, but the farther you walk the fewer people you’ll see. Most visitors consider the views from the east shore of Leigh Lake among the finest in Grand Teton National Park.
Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Hike
5.5 miles (1.8 using the shuttle boat) 400 feet elevation gain
The trail into Cascade Canyon makes a great place to get a taste of the variety of scenery and mountain habitat in Grand Teton National Park. The hike begins by skirting around Jenny Lake, then turns and follows Cascade Creek up to Hidden Falls. Past the falls, it winds up a steep rock face to the edge of an overlook named Inspiration Point. Wildlife, wildflowers, immense spruce trees, and the option of a boat ride home all make this hike a classic Grand Tetons experience.