Best Hikes in Grand Teton National Park: Top Trails in the Alpine

Boasting glistening lakes, rugged mountains, and plentiful hiking trails, Grand Teton is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Here are the best hikes in the park to check out on your next trip.

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Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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Grand Teton National Park is one of the crown jewels of the US National Park System. With exceptional views of the Teton Range and plenty of alpine lakes to discover, there’s something for everyone to love at the park.

As a result, figuring out which hikes belong on your to-do list for your next visit to the park is a challenge. The good news is that we’ve got you covered.In this article, we’ll walk you through our list of the 12 best hikes in Grand Teton so you can make the most of your time in the park.

Grand Teton National Park: Our Top 12 Hiking Trails

1. Teton Crest Trail

Teton Crest Trail
  • Trail type: Shuttle
  • Length: 40 miles (8,061ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Granite Canyon Trailhead on Route 390 or Leigh Lake Trailhead near String Lake

The park’s premier backpacking trip, the Teton Crest Trail is an absolute classic choice for the more adventurous among us. Traveling from south to north through the heart of the Tetons, this journey provides a chance to see everything that Grand Teton National Park has to offer. 

After you leave the trailhead on the Teton Crest Trail, you’ll pass by a whole slew of famous destinations, such as Lake Solitude and Hurricane Pass. That makes this hike a solid choice for folks who only have a few days in Grand Teton National Park. 

But, do keep in mind that snow can linger at the higher elevations until mid-summer, which can make for slow going on the trail.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that you’ll need permits to hike this trail. So, be sure to request one ahead of time. Also, while you can do this as an out-and-back, the vast majority of folks arrange a shuttle to transport them from one trailhead to the other.

2. Phelps Lake Trail

Phelps Lake Trail
  • Trail type: Loop
  • Length: 7.2 miles (475ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Access: Trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve

A popular option for day hiking in Grand Teton National Park, the Phelps Lake Trail offers a chance to see one of the most serene alpine lakes in the park.

This hike starts off at a trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road in the nearby Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve next to the preserve’s visitor center. After departing from the road, you’ll eventually enter the national park and journey through a gorgeous forest until you reach the lake itself.

Once at Phelps Lake, you can sit back, relax, and take in the views of rugged Prospectors Mountain, which towers over the landscape. 

However, if you have the time, it’s worth making the side trip out to the nearby Phelps Lake Overlook for even better vistas of the area.

RELATED READING: Check out our guide to the best hikes in Yellowstone NP or plan a longer trip from Grand Teton to Yellowstone NP.

3. Cascade Canyon Trail & Lake Solitude

Cascade Canyon Trail & Lake Solitude
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 14.7 miles (2,982ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Cascade Canyon Trailhead on the shore of Jenny Lake

Arguably one of the best day hikes in Grand Teton National Park, the journey to Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude provides ample spectacular views for all to enjoy.

To access this hike, you’ll either need to take a boat across Jenny Lake or hike around the lake to reach the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. From here, this 14.7-mile round-trip trek will take you through rugged terrain in the gorgeous Cascade Canyon.

Eventually, the trail climbs up to Alaska Basin, where even more stunning vistas await. Then, you’ll continue onward to both Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Canyon where flowering lupine meadows abound during the summer months.

After quite a bit of climbing, you’ll arrive at Lake Solitude, where you can grab a seat and enjoy a picnic as a reward for your efforts. Plus, on the way back down to the trailhead, you even get fantastic views of Mt Owen and Teewinot. What’s not to love?

4. Lakeshore Trail

Lakeshore Trail
Boats in Colter Bay
  • Trail type: Loop
  • Length: 2 miles (150ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Access: Colter Bay Visitor Center Trailhead in Colter Bay Village

A fun family-friendly adventure, the trip around the Lakeshore Trail is a solid choice for new and experienced hikers alike.

Starting from the Colter Bay Visitor Center Trailhead, the Lakeshore Trail charts a casual course around Colter Bay. The path has minimal elevation gain, yet truly amazing views, so it’s one of the nicest beginner-friendly outings throughout the park.

Along the way, this hike offers a chance to see a few of the park’s most famous peaks. This includes views of Mount Moran, Bivouac Peak, and even the Grand Teton itself. 

Plus, if you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to see some black bears, which are known to wander around Colter Bay. Sunrise is actually the best time to hang out at the bay, so be sure to get up early on the morning of your hike to avoid missing out! Oh, and if you have plenty of gas in the tank after this hike, you’ll be perfectly placed to take on the hike out to Hermitage Point.

5. Jenny Lake Loop & Inspiration Point

Jenny Lake Loop & Inspiration Point
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 9.9 miles (725ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Access: Jenny Lake Trailhead near the Jenny Lake Visitor Center

If you’re looking to experience some of Grand Teton National Park’s most iconic views first-hand, the Jenny Lake Loop and Inspiration Point hike just might be what you need. 

For this hike, you’ll start off from the parking lot at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. You can hike this loop in either direction, but most people complete the journey by going counter-clockwise.

After setting off on your hike, you’ll make your way up and down a few rolling hills, though the overall elevation gain is quite minimal. Along the way, you’ll get to see some fantastic vistas of Mount Moran, Mount Owen, Teewinot Mountain, and Cascade Canyon.

The trail then meanders its way toward String Lake, which you can visit on a side trip if you have some spare time. Alternatively, you can continue onward until you reach the junction for the path that leads to Inspiration Point—one of the most picturesque overlooks in Grand Teton National Park.

Do keep in mind, however, that the hike to Inspiration Point does involve traversing some exposed terrain. As such, it’s not ideal for folks that aren’t steady on their feet.

That being said, if you’d prefer a bit of a shorter hike, you can always take the boat across Jenny Lake instead of hiking the full loop. Doing so cuts the trip to Inspiration point down to just 2.2 miles round-trip, making it a superb quick jaunt in the mountains.

6. Death Canyon Trail to Patrol Cabin and Phelps Lake Overlook

Death Canyon Trail To Patrol Cabin And Phelps Lake Overlook
Alpine meadow along the Death Canyon Trail
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 7.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Death Canyon Trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road (4WD recommended)

Death Canyon might have a scary-sounding name, but it’s actually one of Grand Teton National Park’s premier hiking destinations. In fact, from the Death Canyon Trailhead, you have access to dozens of trekking opportunities, including this exciting yet strenuous day hike to the old Patrol Cabin and the Phelps Lake Overlook.

After leaving the parking lot at the trailhead behind, this path climbs up a moderate slope until you reach the gorgeous Phelps Lake Overlook. Once you catch your breath while gazing out over the lake, you’ll continue onward to the floor of Death Canyon.

Inside Death Canyon, you’ll begin climbing steadily as views of both Jackson Hole and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort rise up behind you. Eventually, you’ll make it to the head of the canyon, where black bears and moose are common sights (don’t forget your bear spray!).

The head of the canyon is also home to the historic Death Canyon Patrol Cabin, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. While the cabin is no longer in use, it is a historic landmark that’s well worth checking out.

Plus, if you still have some energy left after your hike to the cabin, you can also continue onward on the Alaska Basin Trail. Doing so provides even better views of the canyon itself and of the surrounding Teton Range.

7. Taggart Lake

Taggart Lake
  • Trail type: Loop
  • Length: 3.3 miles (300ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Access: Taggart Lake parking area on Teton Park Road

Offering superb vistas of the Grand Teton, the trip to Taggart Lake is a short and sweet adventure that the whole family can enjoy.

This easy-to-moderate hike starts at the aptly named Taggart Lake parking area and follows a mellow, mostly gravel path through the woods. After about 1.1 miles of walking, you’ll also come across the junction for the Bradley Lake Trail, which makes for an excellent side trip if you have the time.

Otherwise, you can continue down your current path, which will bring you to Taggart Lake. Here, you can spot the main crest of the Tetons in the distance and relax for a short picnic before heading back to Teton Village. 

Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can even go for a swim in the lake to cool off during the summer months. But, be warned—the water is cold!

8. Paintbrush Canyon Trail

Paintbrush Canyon Trail
  • Trail type: Loop
  • Length: 19.7 miles (3,975ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Leigh Lake Trailhead

Another superb hike in the Cascade Canyon region, the trip to Paintbrush Canyon is always a hiker’s favorite. 

Departing from the Leigh Lake Trailhead on the shores of String Lake, this epic adventure first starts out with a meander through the forest. After a few miles of rolling terrain, the trail climbs steadily upward toward the mouth of Paintbrush Canyon.

Once you cross Paintbrush Canyon Creek, you’ll make your way to the beautiful Holly Lake. Catch your breath here and then continue onward to the top of Paintbrush Divide. At the crest of Paintbrush Divide, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the Tetons, the Gros Ventre Range, and nearby Jackson Lake.

Beyond the divide, you’ll begin your downhill journey to Lake Solitude. From here, you’ll continue your loop into Cascade Canyon, where the 360-degree views continue. Or, if you’d like a shorter trip, you can always turn back after cresting Paintbrush Divide, which is a worthy destination in its own right.

9. Granite Canyon & Marion Lake Trail

Granite Canyon & Marion Lake Trail
Photo by Kelly DeLay / CC BY 2.0
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 18.1 miles (2,900ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Granite Canyon Trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road

Suitable for both ambitious day hikers and keen backpackers, this journey to Marion Lake and Granite Canyon is one that you won’t want to miss.

For this trail, you actually have a number of access options. Some folks choose to take the tram from Teton Village all the way to Rendezvous Mountain, which offers a much shorter hike to Marion Lake. However, for a solely human-powered experience, the Granite Canyon Trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road is your best bet.

Once on the trail, you’ll quickly start climbing as you make your way toward the mouth of the canyon. Inside the canyon, you’ll continue climbing until you reach the old Patrol Cabin, which is now a national historic site.

Beyond the cabin there a few campsites, but do keep in mind that permits are required for overnight stays. If you’re keen to make it all the way to the lake itself in one day, you’ll need to keep on hiking to the head of Granite Canyon.

Not long afterward, you’ll find yourself on the shores of glistening Marion Lake where you can go for a dip if you’re feeling brave. Then, you can either head back to the trailhead or pitch your camp for the night and rest up for the return leg in the morning.

10. Leigh & String Lakes

Leigh & String Lakes
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 3.7 miles (50ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Access: String and Leigh Lakes parking area near Jenny Lake

Home to some of the most popular swimming destinations in Grand Teton National Park, hiking to Leigh and String lakes is an excellent outing for hikers of all ability levels.

This adventure starts at the parking area for both String and Leigh lakes. You’ll start out on a paved path that brings you down to String Lake after just a few minutes of walking. If you’re short on time or aren’t up for a longer jaunt in the woods, this makes for the perfect stopping point for your journey.

Once you take in the views of String Lake, you can continue along the mellow path that will eventually bring you to Leigh Lake. If you plan to do this hike in the early morning, you’ll also be treated to views of the sunrise above Mount Moran in the distance.

After about half an hour of hiking, you’ll find yourself on the shores of Leigh Lake, which is the third-largest body of water in Grand Teton National Park. This lake is a bit trickier to access due to its relative lack of beaches, but there are plenty of small spur trails that lead down to the water for you to check out.

Additionally, if you’re feeling up for more walking, there are a few other destinations in the area that are worth visiting. For example, you can meander down to Bearpaw Lake or even Jackson Lake without adding too much extra mileage to your roundtrip journey.

11. Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point

Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 2.3 miles (430ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Access: Cascade Canyon Trailhead on the west side of Jenny Lake

One of the more popular options in the Jenny Lake area, the trip out to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point is a must-do for any visitor.

To access this hike, you’ll either have to walk around Jenny Lake or take the boat shuttle to the trailhead on the lake’s western shores. Once you’re there, you’ll begin your trip by climbing steadily upward through a coniferous forest.

Soon enough, you’ll cross Cascade Canyon Creek. However, it’s worth noting that black bears like to frequent this area, so be sure to have bear spray on hand at all times. 

After a bit more walking, the trail opens up and offers superb views of Hidden Falls, one of the largest and most accessible waterfalls in Grand Teton National Park.

Additionally, if you have time on your hands, continuing onward past the falls to Inspiration Point is a must. While the trip to the point does involve a bit of uphill travel, it offers some of the best views in the park and should definitely be on your bucket list.

12. Static Peak Divide

Static Peak Divide
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 16.3 miles (5,000ft ascent)
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Access: Death Canyon Trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road (4WD recommended)

When many people think of hiking Grand Teton National Park, they think of one thing: Static Peak Divide. Indeed, this trek is considered to be one of the best Grand Teton National Park trails, so it’s a superb choice for experienced hikers.

Setting off from the Death Canyon Trailhead, this strenuous hike ascents around 5,000ft over the course of 16.3 miles. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of Phelps Lake, Alaska Basin, Jackson Hole, and even the Gros Ventre Range in the distance.

This hike climbs steadily upward for nearly its entire course, so be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks for the journey. After about 7.3 miles of climbing, you’ll eventually make it to a saddle between Static Peak and Albright Peak where you’ll want to stop and catch your breath.

Then, when you’re ready, you’ll continue up your last set of switchbacks to the top of Static Peak Divide. 

At 10,790ft in elevation, Static Peak Divide is the highest point along any maintained path in the park. Here, the views are nothing short of spectacular as you can often see everything from Jackson Hole to the Wind River Range off to the east. 

Hiking the Grand Tetons: A World Of Adventure Awaits!

In Grand Teton National Park and nearby Jackson Hole, mountain adventures are easy to come by. The key is figuring out which of the park’s dozens of trails is best for you.

We hope our guide to the best hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park helped you plan the perfect trip to the Teton Range. If you had a chance to check out any of these trails on your visit, let us know about your epic Grand Teton hike in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends so everyone can enjoy the magic of this amazing park.

Last update on 2023-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaby Avatar

Gaby is a professional polar guide, wilderness medicine instructor, and freelance writer with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She splits her time between the northern and southern hemispheres, chasing the midnight sun and helping others get outside to experience some of the world’s most beautiful places.

As an outdoor educator, Gaby is passionate about making the outdoors as accessible as possible for anyone looking to get into the mountains or out on the water. She is a certified Polar Guide, an AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Course Provider, a NOLS instructor, and an accomplished climbing guide with a penchant for telemark skiing.

When she’s not hanging out with penguins in Antarctica or scouting for polar bears in the Arctic, you can find Gaby backpacking in Wyoming’s Wind River Range or drinking debatably excessive amounts of espresso and reading French existentialism in a quirky café.

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