The Great American Road Trip — Hiking in the Grand Tetons

Are those of us that know us sitting down? Because I am going to let you in on a little secret. One of our favorite things about Grand Teton National Park was the hiking. Yes, hiking. We’ve become quite the little hikers. Which is crazy, given that I am the biggest klutz in the world and can stub my toe in my own house. I even carry my own backpack. Of course, the only thing in it is “my” stuff — Robert carries “his” stuff and “our” stuff. Works out great for me. Not so great for Robert.

Anyway, our first (and best) hike in Grand Teton National Park was the Jenny Lake hike.

At the start of the Jenny Lake Trail. I’m even (gasp) wearing hiking pants. The horror!

The Jenny Lake trail is probably one of the most popular hikes and for good reason. It is beautiful. There are several ways to do this hike. You can, like us, hike all the way around the lake. According to AllTrails, the hike is 7.9 miles. It is a loop, but somehow I swear the trail only went up and up and up. Kidding, I know it went down too, it just didn’t feel like it. Or, you can take a very expensive boat ride (I think it was $18 round trip and $10 one way per person) across the lake and just do part (or none) of the hike. It seemed to us that the vast, vast majority of the people either took the boat both ways (and then just did a short hike to a waterfall) or else boated one way and walked only on the west side of the lake (which is far shorter than walking on the east side). We are gluttons for punishment and chose to walk all the way around.

Early on the Jenny Lake Trail.

From the trailhead, you can go clockwise or counterclockwise. We chose counterclockwise and it was 100% the right choice. First, the views were stunning. I’m not sure we would have finished the hike if we had started on the west side because that part of the hike was, honestly, a little boring and far too crowded. Second, the people hiking on the east side of the lake were far friendlier than those on the west side of the lake. I don’t know if that is because the east side (being longer) attracts the more serious hikers or because the people out and about bright and early tend to be friendlier, but there was a distinct difference. For starters, there were no Instagram influencers on the east side hogging the trail for that perfect shot . . . . Sadly, in spite of doing the long way, we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife on our hike (even though other people saw bear).

This little guy was frantically getting ready for winter.

Nonetheless, this was a great trail, even if we were both completely wiped out by the time we made it back to our car.

About 1/3 of the way around Jenny Lake.

We also really enjoyed the Taggart Lake trail (except the bathrooms at the start of the trail — I honestly gagged for several minutes after using them and almost puked — these were the worst bathrooms in GTNP and that is saying something).

Near the start of the Taggart Lake Trail.

This is a 3.8 mile loop, although we added a couple of miles by hiking towards (but not all the way to) Bradley Lake so we ended up walking about six miles. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would do Bradley Lake first and then Taggart Lake.

Part way through the Taggart Lake Trail.

We walked the trail counterclockwise, because we had read the views were better in that direction. And, we chose correctly. The views were stunning and, perhaps even more importantly, we did the steepest part of the trail going downhill. Yeah!!!! At the lake, there is a beach area with stunning views of the Tetons reflecting in the lake.

Taggart Lake reflection.

Again, not much wildlife on this trail (other than squirrels and chipmunks), but we did see a marten, which is apparently quite rare (picture in a future post).

This guy was very mad at us. He wanted to cross the bridge but wouldn’t do so while we were standing on it.

Our third favorite hike was the Lake Creek Trail Loop in the Laurance S. Rockfeller Preserve. Although the very clean bathrooms really, really should have pushed this hike higher on our list. If it had been a sunny day, it just might have risen on our list, but, alas, it was cloudy and threatening rain for much of our hike.

A small stream on the Lake Creek Trail.

The Laurance S. Rockfeller Preserve is just off of the Moose-Wilson Road and that is a road that everyone who visits Grand Teton National Park absolutely has to drive — it is great for spotting moose and bear. Which might have explained the sign saying the trails at the Preserve were closed due to bear activity. (The sign was just dangling from a post and plenty of other people were on the trail so we are hoping it was just there to put up at a moment’s notice and that the trail wasn’t actually closed . . . .) In any event, we lived to tell the tale so . . . .

Us on the Lake Creek Trail.

Anyway, back to the hiking. We wanted to do the Lake Creek-Woodland Trail Loop, but the bridge that connects the Lake Creek Trail and the Woodland Trail is under construction. So we took the Lake Creek Trail to Phelp’s Lake. Of course, it was mainly uphill. And, when we arrived, it totally looked like rain. So, we turned around and walked back down the Lake Creek Trail until we hit a path through the woods that would take us over to the Woodland Trail. Of course, that path just went up and up and up and up some more. Finally, we hit the Woodland Trail and it was all downhill (will wonders never cease) from there. It was a nice 3.5 mile or so walk through the woods with a creek running by the trail and the fall colors were just lovely.

A small waterfall on the Lake Creek Trail.

About 50 stubbed toes later, we can honestly say we can’t wait to do more hiking.

About theschneiduks

Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys. Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).
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2 Responses to The Great American Road Trip — Hiking in the Grand Tetons

  1. Lance says:

    Those hiking trails are absolutely beautiful, far more scenic than my urban hikes around North Loop. Thanks for posting the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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