During the Summer of 2016 Devin and I made a point to try and do as many trails in the park as possible. With so much to see, and so little time, we made a point to get a well rounded look at the park from it’s many trails. I’ve compiled a list of the trails along with my own personal photos. Hopefully this can be a good resource to those looking to see some of the famous views and splendors of this stupendous national park.
This is a very easy hike and you don’t even have to do the whole thing if you don’t want too. What this hike does have to offer is some beautiful beach access about 1.8 miles in. They are white sand and have absolutely STUNNING views of the Mt. Moran Glacier and also of the clear blueish green glacier water of a magnificently preserved mountain ecosystem. Going in the height of summer also helps with the views, but not on the crowds.
Cascade and Paintbrush Canyon
When we did the loop, we went up Cascade Canyon, up to Lake Solitude, and then down though Paintbrush Canyon. Just up to to top of Cascade Canyon is 12.3 miles. In 2016 they closed the trail to Hidden Falls because so much foot traffic. They think that by closing the trail, that they will be able to help the environment restore itself naturally, so you’ll have to make it up to Inspiration Point to get your first views.
From there, you have to make your way up. Along the way the views are breathtaking. It is a slight incline, but honestly, after getting to Inspiration Point, the trail only gradually goes up, and you aren’t even going to notice with views like these. Depending on the time of year, you can do what we did, and get distracted by huckleberries along the way.
Eventually, you make our way up Lake Solitude: Elevation 9,035 ft above sea level. What a sight to behold this place is. There were actually quite a few people up here when we first got there, but after sitting and enjoying the view for a few minutes, we had Lake Solitude all to ourselves.
Now it came for hard part: Heading up the Paintbrush Divide. Now I’m not going to lie, THIS was the hard part. It’s a BRUTAL hard rock-slide area with loose rocks making up the trail. By this time, my legs were a little sore, but what choice did we have now but to go on! What beautiful sights there were.
Now for heading DOWN. You’ve gone up 3,823 vertical feet at this point, and now it’s time to work your way back! I personally really enjoyed coming down Paintbrush instead of going up it. The views were still unreal, and it would be one heck on an uphill trek! On the way down we had quite the wildlife encounter(s). Ended up getting stopped by a large bull moose for about a half hour, and after he finally moved off the trail, and also encountered 2 good size black bears!
One of the first hikes in Grand Teton National Park. This is a pretty easy 3.8 mile loop with only 1 section of moderate hills. It is a great introduction to hiking at high elevation if you are going to be in the area for a while. It only took us a couple of hours, but we are very much lookie lous.
Grand View Point
To get to the trail-head, drive just north of Jackson Lake Lodge. You’ll see a dirt road on the right hand side in about a mile; take it. You’ll drive about a mile or so down that road, until you get to a dead end parking lot, park here! From there, just head up the trail 1.5 miles to find some of the most stunning and accessible views of most of the Teton Range.
Emma Matilda Lake
When we did this loop, we started from the Two Ocean Lake Trail Head on the East side of the lake. It’s only a mile detour and it was fun to see the whole lake. This is a 10.7 mile round trip hike with lots of ups and downs in elevation, it also gives you some of the most STUNNING views of the entire Teton Range in the whole park. We got lucky and hit it on a picturesque blue bird day, so hopefully you will too!
Amphitheater Lake & Surprise Lake
Start your hike for Amphitheater and Surprise at the Lupine Meadows trail-head. This hike is a fairly strenuous 10.2 mile round trip hike up to the base of Disappointment Peak and get surrounding views of Teewinot, Middle Teton, and Mt. Owen. It’s a pretty grueling hike up, but the views along the way and being up near Disappointment Peak are TOTALLY worth it.