Inspiring Journeys: Summer Construction Update

Backcountry construction for Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake is well underway! This summer, crews are focused on improving the trail between Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. In preparation for this season’s work, over 500 tons of granite stone, crushed granite, and fill material were transported via helicopter and staged along the trail corridor for use this season. There are currently five, five-person crews in backcountry work areas and they have made incredible progress on this very challenging section of trail. The team hit the ground with considerable understanding about the job, solid training in the masonry skills needed to execute the work, and a real sense of pride in being able to build a trail that will be a lasting legacy in Grand Teton National Park.

To date, crews have installed 70 stone steps, 532 square feet of dry-laid stone masonry walls, improving a total of 525 linear feet of existing trail corridor–and there is still several weeks of work left before the snow falls! Below are some photos and descriptions of this challenging work.

Summer Construction in the Backcountry at Jenny Lake

One trail crew is working to replace old bridges that cross Cascade Creek. Park Service horsepackers transported 80 bags of concrete over 2 miles to the Hidden Falls area, where it was unloaded and carried by hand the additional 100 yards to the bridge site. The crew is now building rock causeways and walls that will raise the level of the trail surface and viewing areas surrounding the bridges, creating better drainage and traffic flow (photo below).

DSC_0004 #1Reconstruction of one of the bridges

Another trail crew is rebuilding a collapsing wall originally built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) along the trail to Inspiration Point. Using existing stone with some imported material, the crew is matching the original style of the CCC wall and giving it more strength and integrity. They are also incorporating stone steps along the top to help prevent erosion as the trail gains grade and to provide a safe walking surface for visitors (photo below).

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Rebuilding of CCC wall

Further up trail, another highly skilled trail crew is rebuilding and greatly improving a collapsing wall which anchors a switchback. The wall contains two complex dry stone drains and steps that climb around a corner. The crew is also building structures to fill in and build through the most eroded section of trail. This section contains a four foot deep gully which visitor’s formerly had to carefully scramble through. The crew will eventually completely rebuild this section of trail to eliminate the gully and provide good drainage and footing (photo below).


Rebuilding wall on a switchback

The fourth trail crew is working on the section of trail called Perspiration Point by building a rock staircase. They are also installing a rock wall to anchor the downhill side of the trail and installing steps on the trail (photo below).

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Rock Staircase

The fifth trail crew is rebuilding a switchback corner wall that has all but collapsed. Using existing material they are strengthening and reinforcing the wall and building steps through an extensively eroded and gullied section of trail (photo below).

DSC_0056 #5

Thanks to the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and an anonymous donor, we have a $50,000 grant that will match all gifts of $500 or less to the Inspiring Journeys campaign! Interested in supporting the project? Donate today!

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