Grand Teton National Park combines pristine beauty, charismatic wildlife, and sprawling trail networks to create outdoor experiences that are unmatched. Yet, snow in the high country can make the beginning of summer a challenging time to find a good hike. We’ve come up with a list of our four favorite places for an early season walk in Grand Teton.
Phelps Lake Overlook: 2.0 miles roundtrip, easy
The Phelps Lake Overlook trail begins at the Death Canyon trailhead. To access the route, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is highly recommended. The hike begins with a moderate climb through a forest dominated by lodgepole pine and aspen groves. After one mile of walking, a lookout point appears offering views of the 750-acre, glacially-carved Phelps Lake—the sixth largest lake in Grand Teton National Park. This is a great family hike throughout spring, summer, and fall and is suitable for most ages.
Grand View Point Trail: 6.1 miles roundtrip, moderate
Beginning near Jackson Lake Lodge, the Grand View Point trailhead is located one mile north of Jackson Lake Junction. The trail passes through grassy meadows and offers stunning panoramic views of Grand Teton, Mt. Moran, and Jackson Lake. These meadows are bursting with color because of the various wildflowers still fresh from spring showers. Along the way, hikers will enjoy sights of Emma Matilda and Two Ocean lakes to the east.
Bradley-Taggart Lakes Loop: 5.5 miles roundtrip, moderate
The Bradley-Taggart Lakes Loop visits two of the six glacially-formed lakes at the base of the Teton range. Hikers will enjoy views of the Grand Teton towering above the sagebrush flats. One mile from the trailhead is an area that was burned during the 1985 Beaver Creek Fire. New growth has attracted a variety of species of wildlife, making it a great place to view mountain bluebirds, flycatchers, woodpeckers, owls, marmots, elk, mule deer, and bears.
Hermitage Point Trail: 10.0 miles roundtrip, strenuous
The Hermitage Point trailhead is located at the south end of the Colter Bay Visitor Center parking area. Hikers will enjoy views of 12,605-foot Mt. Moran and 11,144-foot Rockchuck Peak to the west. At 10 miles, this is a challenging hike but the views of the lake with the Teton Range in the background is a sight to see.
Rain in the afternoons is common, but don’t let that deter you. Remember to bring appropriate gear and warm layers. Water resistant hiking boots are recommended even along lower elevation valley trails. Bring water, snacks, and keep bear spray out of your packs and on your person.
Note: Wildlife are highly active in spring and often have newborns nearby. Please remember to make noise and have bear spray accessible throughout your adventures in these areas.