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LOOKING FOR THE BEST HIKES NEAR JACKSON LAKE?
At the end of July, we went on a road trip up to the Tetons and Yellowstone. Day one was spent at Jenny Lake and hiking to Hidden Falls, Jackson Lake was day two, followed by a day and a half in Yellowstone. This was my first time in this area and I loved it! I loved it so much I went to work there that winter.
After seeing pictures of Jackson Lake on Pinterest, I knew this was the one part of the park I really wanted to see.
We were camping in the Gros Ventre Campground at the other end of the park and set off early (for us) that morning to do some hiking around Jackson Lake.
We didn’t actually know what trails were near the lake, so we just started walking around the shore, which I really enjoyed. There are so many great short trails in the Tetons, I know that now.
We parked by Coulter Bay and set off past the boat rental place along a mystery trail by the lakeshore. Eventually, we veered off to continue along the rocky shore and over a beaver dam.
We found a little cove to hang out in for a bit in the shade since it was getting pretty toasty. The best part of this hike was the number of people we didn’t see compared to the hike around Jenny Lake. Granted, I don’t think we were on an official trail.
I really enjoyed this hike, even though it wasn’t super tough or long. The views of the lake and mountains are unbeatable, and the lack of crowds also are.
If (when) I go back, I’d love to go kayaking on Jackson Lake to see it from a new perspective. I also just really enjoy kayaking. I would also like to do more hiking on real trails.
Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.
National Park Goodies
- If you’re planning to visit three or more national parks within a year from your trip, definitely get the America the Beautiful pass. It will save you money in the long run if you’re going to more than three parks in a year. Buy the pass here.
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking on your trip, or even at home, check out AllTrails! This is my favorite app to find, keep track of, and track my hiking activity. And it’s FREE! Sign up here.
- This Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is a must-have. You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a National Park journal for all of the NPS sites (400+!) to keep track of your travels!
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
Jackson Lake hiking trails
There are three hiking trails at Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. One is easy, one is moderately easy, and one is strenuous.
These are all in the Colter Bay area. If you plan too do any hiking in Grand Teton, consider using AllTrails (it’s free!) to keep track of them!
This is a 2.2 mile loop that takes you (shockingly) down to the shore of Jackson Lake. It has just 100 feet of elevation gain and should take 1-2 hours depending on how fast you walk and how much you stop.
This short trail takes you through the woods along the lake and offers stunning views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake.
Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop
This is an easy 3.1 mile loop with 320 feet of elevation gain. The trail takes you through forest and wetlands to Heron Pond and Swan Lake and features beautiful views of the Teton Range.
If you want a more strenuous hike near Jackson Lake, Hermitage Point is for you. The NPS site says this is just moderately strenuous at 9.5 miles with 930 feet of elevation gain, but I would consider that just plain strenuous because of the distance.
I know that’s nothing for some people but I am not one of those people haha. The trail takes you past Heron Pond (but not Swan Lake) and through forest, meadow, and wetland!
You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake. It looks like a beautiful trail!
Jackson Lake Lodge Hikes
There are three hikes that leave from Jackson Lake Lodge at the north end of Grand Teton National Park. There is also one trail from Signal Mountain Lodge I’ve included in this section.
Lunch Tree Hill
This is the shortest trail near Jackson Lake at just 0.5 miles round-trip with 110 feet of elevation gain. It’s an interpretive trail that offers views of the Teton range and Willow Flats.
Christian Pond Loop
The Christian Pond Loop is a 3.5 mile loop with 490 feet of elevation gain. You’ll have views of the Teton range and pass through marshland, forest, and dense willows where you should keep an eye out for wildlife.
Grand View Point
This is a moderate 5.8 mile hike with 950 feet of elevation gain from Jackson Lake Lodge. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Teton range and Jackson Hole.
If you want a shorter version of the hike (2.6 miles) you can leave from the Grand View parking area.
This is a 6.7 mile hike with 980 feet of elevation gain that leaves from Signal Mountain Lodge. The trail takes you to the summit of Signal Mountain and offers panoramic views of Jackson and the Tetons.
Be bear aware!
While you’re visiting Grand Teton National Park you’ll want to be bear aware. There are both black and grizzly bears in the area.
They usually try to avoid people but may behave unpredictably if they, their young, or their food source feels threatened. Grizzlies are often much larger and have a distinct shoulder hump.
While you’re hiking you’ll want to carry bear spray and have it somewhere easy to access, not buried in your backpack. I would avoid bear bells. You’re voice is a more effective way too alert bears to your presence and bells are annoying.
Hotels near Grand Teton National Park
Rustic Inn – I LOVE the Rustic. Like, so much. I’ve stayed there a few times and would 100% stay again. It’s beautiful in a wonderful location not too far from downtown. It’s not particularly budget-friendly, but it is amazing.
The Wort – This is another really fancy, not budget-friendly hotel, but The Wort is even closer to the town square. It has a modern log cabin vibe in a gorgeous building.
Elk Refuge Inn – This little Inn is a couple miles from the town square, but it’s right across from the National Elk Refuge and all the rooms have a view. It’s decently priced and probably totally worth it for the view.
Antler Inn – I haven’t stayed here but know it’s a great budget option right in town. It has rustic-looking cabin themed rooms and it’s perfect for walking around town.
Camping in Grand Teton
There are six campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park varying in size and offerings. Most are only open in the summer, but Colter Bay is open year-round. They all require reservations now unfortunately and can be made six months in advance.
Grand Teton FAQs
Have questions about visiting Grand Teton or Jackson Hole? I can help! And if I didn’t answer it here already, leave a comment and I’ll answer there!
Is Grand Teton worth visiting?
Yes! Just know it’s extremely busy in the summer and parking can be hard to come by. But it’s still worth visiting, just go prepared with a plan and a backup.
Best time to visit Grand Teton National Park
Winter is extremely snowy and most of the park is inaccessible (but it’s my favorite time there) and spring can have remnants of winter. Park accessibility will still be limited.
Fall will be beautiful and you can see the leaves changing. Weather will be cool, maybe cold, and it could snow, but I think it would be great. Accessibility will start to be limited in mid/late fall.
Summer is usually the best, though it is busiest. But if you want to hike or do almost anything on this list, you kind of have to go in the summer.
Is hiking in Yellowstone or Grand Teton better?
That mostly depends on what you want to see. If you want to see thermal features, Yellowstone. If you want alpine lakes and mountains, Teton. Both are great for wildlife.
How many days in Grand Teton is enough?
I would say two days would be good if you want to do a lot of hiking or hiking and a tour or two.
If you’re not hiking at all, you could probably see the highlights in one day. Maybe a day and a half to see highlights and do a tour.
Have you been to the Tetons? What did you do there? Did you like it there? Do you want to go?