Visiting Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is all about the beautiful outdoors. The park is home to a variety of 61 different animal species living beneath the towering rocky peaks of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. Moose, elk, buffalo, coyote, and antelope are frequently spotted right from park roads, but if you hope to see the most spectacular scenery and have a chance at catching a glimpse of grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, or mountain lions, you'll have to get out and explore the hiking trails.
Over 200 miles of hiking trails wind through this breathtaking park, featuring sparkling lakes, roaring rivers and gentle streams, the magnificent mountains, and plenty of wildlife. This is also a bird lover's paradise, with the opportunity to see a wide variety -- most commonly bald eagles, ospreys, grouse, western tanagers, and even the American white pelican.
Which trails offer the chance to see the best the park has to offer? Here's a look at the top hikes that should be on your itinerary.
Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point
This 5-mile round-trip hike is well traveled, as it's fairly easy, but it's also one of the most rewarding. While you'll probably be sharing the trail with a few others, it's worth putting up with the extra company. Jenny Lake's serene beauty combined with the stunning waters of Hidden Falls and the awe-inspiring vistas at Inspiration Point make this an unforgettable experience.
The trail can be accessed via the parking area at Jenny Lake. The first half winds around the shoreline before climbing to an overlook. Here, you can enjoy the panorama of the entire valley and the lake. Just before reaching Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point offers more spectacular views of the lake and the glacial moraine that gave it its birth.
The hike to Lake Solitude is considered moderately strenuous, requiring at least a general level of fitness. The 18.4-mile round-trip trek can usually be accomplished in about eight to 10 hours. Follow the Cascade Canyon Trail toward Hidden Falls, as in the previous hike. Gradually, Grand Teton, Mount Owen, and Teewinot will come into sight while passing brilliant wildflower-filled meadows with deer, elk, moose, and every now and again, even bears.
Reaching Lake Solitude, you'll feel like you've discovered a true hidden gem. This dazzling alpine lake sits at an elevation of 9,035 feet and is the largest in the park that is accessible only by trail.
The name of this hike may not sound very inviting, but in reality, it is one of the best hikes for exploring the less traveled areas for the park. The winding trail brings hikers through the glacier-formed canyon, where moose, bear, and other wildlife are often spotted. The canyon also features sheer rock walls and amazing views.
There are several options for hiking here. The hike to Phelps Lake Overlook is less than 2 miles round-trip, while hiking to Phelps Lake and back is 4 miles. The hike to Static Peak Divide is 7.8 miles in and back. Access the trailhead off Moose-Wilson Road, 3 miles south of the Moose Junction Park entrance.
Lunch Tree Hill
For those who are limited in time or are unable to hike for a distance, the Lunch Tree Hill hike is just a half-mile round-trip. It begins at the Jackson Lake Lodge, and the trail lined with interpretive signs leading to an overlook offering panoramic views of the Teton Range, with moose frequently spotted in the area.
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