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LOOKING FOR THE BEST DAY HIKES IN GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK?
When I visited Grand Teton National Park in the summer I won’t lie, I didn’t love it. It was sooo busy and we didn’t do too much hiking.
However, after working there the following winter, I fell in love with the park and find myself thinking about it more often than not, especially as I was looking for the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park.
I’m dying to go back in the warmer months again to do more hiking, but, in case you haven’t noticed, I tend to prefer shorter hikes.
I don’t mean one half-mile hike a day, I mean definitely under ten miles if it can be helped. I won’t say no to every 10+ mile hike, but you won’t find me on many of those.
So, I’m going to make this guide to the best hikes in Grand Teton that are under ten miles round trip. These are great day hikes throughout the park taking you through meadows, to alpine lakes, showing stellar mountain views. You can find the entire list of hikes in the Tetons here.
A couple things to note: this is a summer hiking guide, all mileage is round-trip, and none of the pictures are particularly relevant, I just love them.
They are all in the Tetons though. I will be starting at the south end of the park and working my way up with some of the most scenic day hikes in the Grand Tetons.
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.
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.
Now for the best day hikes in Grand Teton National Park
Today I’m sharing the best day hikes in Grand Teton National Park that are under ten miles. Some are just under that and some are way under that so no matter your hiking desires, you’ll find something here.
I haven’t been able to do most of these hikes, but once I go back and start to do them, I will come back and update this as much as possible.
Make sure you go prepared for changing weather and let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, especially on longer hikes.
The first hike is along the main highway, not the scenic drive, and that’s why it’s going first even though it’s farther north than others.
The drive is still scenic, but you don’t have to go through the park fee booth for this one. And I’d say it’s more of a short walk than a hike.
The hike is (apparently) 0.8 miles round-trip but seems shorter than that. Cunningham Cabin Historic Site. It’s an easy unpaved trail taking you to the cabin with the stunning Teton views behind it.
The cabin is empty, but you can go in to check it out. This is a quick stop and takes less than an hour. It does make for great pictures of the Tetons in the background, especially around sunrise.
This is a 5.8-mile moderate loop clocking in at about three hours to complete. You’ll pass through aspen groves and boulder fields on your way to the shore of Phelps Lake. You’ll also hike through wetlands and sagebrush meadows before meeting up with Lake Creek.
Phelps Lake Trail Loop
Next up is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve area. The Phelps Lake Trail Loop is 6.3 miles with about 600 feet of elevation gain.
This trail is a loop around Phelps Lake and offers fantastic Teton views. It’s a moderate hike taking about four hours making it the perfect half-day hike in Grand Teton.
The Death Canyon area on Moose-Wilson Road is next. The first, and longest, trail here is the Death Canyon-Static Peak Trail Junction.
Enjoy wildflower fields, lakes, and waterfalls on this strenuous 7.7 mile trail. Plan to spend most of the day doing this hike.
Lake Creek-Woodland Trail Loop
This is the easiest and shortest hike leaving from the Rockefeller Preserve. It is 3 miles with 300 feet of elevation gain taking you along Lake Creek before ending up at the shore of Phelps Lake.
If you’re short on time but still want to do a hike that isn’t super short, this is the perfect Grand Teton hike for you.
Phelps Lake Overlook and Phelps Lake
The Phelps Lake Overlook is a 2-mile trail that takes you, obviously, to the Phelps Lake Overlook. It’s a moderate hike taking about 1.5 hours.
It can be combined with the Phelps Lake trail making it a 4.2-mile strenuous hike if you want to see both.
This trail climbs to the overlook and descends to the shores of Phelps Lake. It is a strenuous hike since you have to hike back up to the overlook from the lake.
This is a super quick and easy half-mile hike to tour a historic homestead and visit the Chapel of Transfiguration.
This is just inside the fee booth on the scenic drive. The Chapel is a small log cabin with a picturesque view of the Tetons from inside and out.
Taggart Lake-Beaver Creek Loop
This 3.9-mile moderate loop climbs the glacial moraine to Taggart Lake and returns along Beaver Creek. The other hike here is just to Taggart Lake and is an easy three miles.
Instead of hiking out along Beaver Creek, hike back out the way you went in. You’ll pass sagebrush flats and hike through forests.
Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake
The Taggart Lake area is home to three moderate and easy trails from three to six miles. First up is the Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake hike at 5.9 moderate miles. This loop takes you to two lakes dammed by glacial moraines.
Garnet Canyon is a strenuous 8.4 miles in the Lupine Meadows area. It takes about six hours and climbs into Garnet Canyon while offering wonderful views of Middle Teton.
String Lake Loop
This is a nice, easy hike in the Tetons, a 3.7-mile loop taking you around String Lake. This is near Jenny Lake.
It takes you through a burned area below Rockchuck Peak and Mount St. John. It only takes a couple of hours. Parking is crazy here in the summer, so go early.
Two Ocean Lake
There are three hikes near Two Ocean Lake, but this is the only one under ten miles. It is 6.4 miles and moderate, taking about three hours. It’s a nice loop around the lake taking you through forests and meadows.
This is at the north end of the park, closer to Yellowstone. If you want a hike in the Tetons that isn’t right in the main area of the park, this is a good optional.
Signal Mountain is a moderate 6.8-mile loop that takes about four hours. This trail leaves from the Signal Mountain Lodge and is great in late June/early July when the wildflowers are in bloom. No matter when you go, you’ll be rewarded with great views.
Forks of Cascade Canyon
Ok, technically this hike is 14.6 miles, but if you take the shuttle boat, it’s only 8.8. I decided to include it for that reason and because I know it’s one of the must-see things in Grand Teton National Park.
This is a popular moderate-strenuous trail taking you into the stunning Cascade Canyon. You’ll have great views of Grand Teton, Mt. Owen, and Teewinot. It’s definitely one of the most scenic day hikes in the Grand Tetons.
Just past the shores of Jenny Lake you’ll find one of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park. Hidden Falls is a 2.8-mile hike unless you take the shuttle boat, then it’s one mile.
You will get to enjoy the 200-foot waterfall. This is a very popular and busy trail. It’s probably one of the most popular and most scenic hikes in the Grand Tetons.
We did get to do this hike and I enjoyed it. We came over from String Lake and that part of the trail wasn’t terribly busy but it was a lot busier actually at Hidden Falls.
The longest trail in the Jackson Lake area is the Hermitage Point trail. It is 9.7 miles and rated moderately strenuous.
It will take you through forests, meadows, and wetlands over about five hours. The wetlands are a great wildlife habitat, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Jackson Lake area doesn’t have as many hikes as Jenny Lake, but it still has some great ones. One is the simple Lakeshore Trail.
This is an easy, two-mile trail following the Colter Bay shoreline with views of Jackson Lake and the Tetons.
Flagg Ranch is just outside of Yellowstone, making it the farthest north part of the park and the perfect option if you’re on your way to Yellowstone.
This easy 4-mile hike into Flagg Canyon offers great views of the Snake River and is easily accessed from the northeast side of Polecat Creek Loop.
Polecat Creek Loop
This 2.5-mile loop only takes about an hour. The west side of the loop is above a marsh making it a great place to see waterfowl and other wildlife.
If you’re visiting in the winter, you can go snowshoeing here! This is the trail we were on for a while.
Where to stay in Jackson Hole
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 National Park
There are six campgrounds in the park varying in size and offerings that make hitting the trails in Grand Teton National Park super easy. Most are only open in the summer, but Colter Bay is open year-round.
All campgrounds require reservations now and they can be made six months in advance.
The Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park
I don’t think there is a bad time to visit the Tetons, but if you want to do a lot of hiking in the Tetons, definitely go in the summer or fall.
Even though it will be busiest then, it’s really the only time you can do a lot of these hikes. I love the park so much in the winter, but the inner park road is closed so you can only get around by snowshoe or cross country ski.
There are definitely more options of things to do in the park other than hiking in the summer. I saw more wildlife in the winter, though. So, what you want to do and see can help you decide when to go, but for hiking, stick to summer or fall.
Have you done any of these hikes? Which ones? What is your favorite day hike in Grand Teton?