Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Walking & Hiking

The best way to truly appreciate the park is on foot. There are many beautiful, and easy hikes in the park; just be sure to consider your limitations when selecting a trail. Stop at any park visitor center for advice about trails and hiking conditions.

Keep in mind that you will be sharing the wilderness with native wildlife. Consult a ranger or the Teewinot about avoiding confrontations with wild animals and having a minimal impact on the environment. See also "Bears" on pages 44—45.

Grand Teton National Park contains more than 250 miles of maintained trails. Routes in the valley tend to be easier and shorter than mountain hikes. Several trails are self-guiding, ranging between 0.5-mile and 14 miles long, with free brochures or signposts to point out interesting features.

Many of the routes in the park can be completed in a day or less. If you plan an overnight trip, you'll need a backcountry permit, available at the Moose and Colter Bay visitor centers or Jenny Lake Ranger Station.

Below is a list of popular trails in the park, ranked from the easier to the more difficult ones.

Cascade Canyon Trail

This is the showcase trail of the park. Take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake (modest round-trip fare required) to trim two miles off the start of the hike. From the boat dock, hike one mile to Inspiration Point, following the path cut through granite by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s. After Inspiration Point, the next 3.5 miles to the Fork of Cascades are relatively flat. The trail continues more than 20 miles into the backcountry with elevation changes of up to 3,589 feet, depending on how far you go. Veteran hikers say the view improves with every step farther into the mountains. This trail also connects to all trails in the southern end of the park via the Valley and Teton Crest trails.

Ranger-led trips to Inspiration Point depart from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center every summer morning at 8:30 a.m. Inquire at a visitor center or check the Teewinot for more details.

Heron Pond and Swan Lake

Colter Bay is the starting point for this wildlife-spotting journey. The easy, three-mile hike has just 40 feet of elevation change as it passes waterfowl habitat near Jackson Lake. Self-guiding trail leaflets are available at any visitor center.

Taggart Lake

Beautiful lakeshores and soaring mountains are joined by a distinctive and fascinating path through the regrowth of a major forest fire that occurred in 1985. The 3.2-mile round-trip path begins 2.5 miles northwest of Moose Village on the Teton Park Road and climbs 277 feet over a glacial moraine. Most of the route passes through the 1,000-acre remains of the 1985 Beaver Creek fire, which conveniently removed much of the tree cover for a classic, panoramic view of the three Tetons. Pick up a self-guiding trail brochure to learn other ways the fire helped wildlife and plants in the burn zone.