Best Easy Hikes In Grand Teton National Park

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Everyone has a special place that they just love to go to escape and find a bit of Solitude.  Mine is Grand Teton National Park.  

When I was in college, I worked in the nearby town on Jackson as a river guide, so my memories of the area are deeply engrained into who I am. Visiting Grand Teton reminds me of a time in my life that was filled with nonstop adventure and exploring, as well as some beautiful views from which to think about where I wanted to go.

Fast forward a decade and life looks a whole lot different. Those moments of peace and solitude are harder to come by with 5 kids, yet the draw of the Teton’s has us returning at least once every summer, so I can share a piece of my heart with my kids, and hiking in Grand Teton is one of our favorite ways to do that.

Since Grand Teton is right next to Yellowstone, crowds can get very crowded at the most popular areas. Luckily, if you are hiking in Grand Teton with kids there are plenty of places that you can easily explore and hike to with your kids that are off the beaten path, to hopefully increase your chances of finding a bit of peace and quiet.

If you want to do more than just hike in Grand Teton, make sure to check out our article on 20 Amazing Adventures Around Grand Teton National Park.

What to bring hiking in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National park is over 6,000 feet above sea level, so if you’re not used to high elevations, make sure to take it easy for a day or two to avoid altitude sickness.

Here are the essentials that we always carry in our backpack when we’re hiking in Grand Teton National Park with kids:

  • Water – we plan on about 1L per person for a 3-4 hour hike
  • Snacks – these bars are basically the best things on Earth
  • Wildflower Identification Guide – this one is very visial and is super easy for kids to use too.
  • Ultra-Compact towel – most of the hikes in Grand Teton are near lakes and it’s always so refreshing to jump in!
  • Bear Spray – Although I have only ever seen 2 bears in Grand Teton, that’s enough for me to always carry bear spray with us. Also, this cooler is certified bear-resistant, so it’s a great investment if you plan on spending much time in the park. You better believe, if I’m doing one of the best hikes in Grand Teton with kids, I’ll have bear spray with me.

Also, if you’re looking for a great way to remember your trip to Grand Teton, make sure to check out these amazing National Park gift ideas.

What are the best hikes for kids in Grand Teton?

People are constantly asking me “what are the best hikes for kids in Grand Teton?” All of these Grand Teton hikes below are suitable for kids and we’ve done almost all of them with our 5 kids. If the weather is hot, I recommend doing a hike by a lake most of the time so that you can cool off with a quick dip if everyone starts to get hot (make sure to carry one of these ultra-compact towels with you – we use them constantly). Luckily there are plenty of hiking trails near lakes in Grand Teton that you won’t have a problem finding one.

When you’re out hiking with kids in Grand Teton National Park, just remember to allow a bit more time than you would for hiking the trail as an adult, and don’t forget to take lots of SNACKS!

Jenny Lake is by far the most popular hike in Grand Teton National Park, and with good reason. The hike around Jenny Lake is incredibly beautiful and the views of the Teton mountains are absolutely stunning. You can hike the entire loop around the lake or you can hike to the far side and hike up to either Hidden Falls or Inspiration Point. If you are hiking Jenny Lake, plan for lots of crowds so this isn’t the best place in Grand Teton to find solitude.

swimming at Jenny lake

How to avoid the crowds at Jenny Lake

If you want to avoid the hiking crowds at Jenny Lake, make sure that you are there early in the morning. I recommend coming in the south entrance of the park by 7am and by 8am at the latest. Since you’re high up in the mountains it will be pretty chilly this early, but just plan on dressing in layers so you can take some of your clothing off as the day warms up. Starting in the morning on an easy hike in Grand Teton will make you need to ditch some of your layers as the air warms up.

If you can make it work for your schedule, avoid hiking at Jenny Lake around the holidays, since the crowds are significantly higher then. During peak times, all of the parking lots will be full and cars will be parked along the side of the road for up to a mile. Simplify your visit and plan to hike around Jenny Lake during the middle of the week. Jenny Lake is an easy hike in Grand Teton, but just because it’s popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best easy hike in Grand Teton.

Jenny Lake To Hidden Falls

Details:
Length: 4.8 miles round trip or 1 mile if you take the paid shuttle across the lake
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, highly traffiked trail

hidden falls grand teton

Hiking to Hidden Falls from Jenny Lake is an incredibly popular hike that leads to a 100 foot cascading waterfall. Most of the trail is pretty flat and easy around the lake, though the last section climbs 200 feet to get up to the viewpoint of Hidden Falls.

To reach Hidden Falls, you can take the Jenny Lake trail around the south shore of the lake and hike there, which is a 4.8 mile round trip hike. If you would like to use the paid shuttle, the hike will only be 1 mile from the boat dock on the far side of the lake.

Ask most visitors about hiking in Grand Teton with kids and they’ll tell you to hike around Jenny Lake and go up to inspiration point.  Guess what?  Everyone’s heard the same advice and that trail is insanely crowded (last time we were there, cars were parked on the road 1/2 mile away just to go – it’s crazy crowded).  Beautiful, yes, but if you want to get away from the masses of humanity, this is not the trail for you.

Jenny Lake to Inspiration Point

Details:
Length: 5.8 miles round trip or 2 miles roundtrip from the paid shuttle boat
Difficulty: Moderate

Views of the Tetons from East of Jenny Lake

The hike up the Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park is just 0.5 miles farther down the trail than Hidden Falls. If you are planning on hiking to Hidden Falls, I strongly encourage you to keep going a little farther down the trail, for some incredible views.

As with the hike to Hidden Falls, the hike to Inspiration Point starts by hiking along the south side of Jenny Lake. Most of the trail is flat until you reach the climb to get up to Hidden Falls. From there, it is all uphill until you reach Inspiration Point.

If you would like to simplify your hike to Inspiration Point, take the paid boat shuttle across Jenny Lake to the trail on the far side. From the far side of the lake, it is one mile up to Inspiration Point. The last mile is the most difficult section of the hike and is almost all uphill.

String Lake

Details:
Length: 3.7 mile loop
Difficulty: Easy

The trail around String Lake is easy and relatively flat, with about half of the trail being in the shade of the forest. Since you’re right along the edge of the lake, it’s a great hike with little ones since you can stop frequently to dip your toes in the water or to throw rocks in the lake.

Our families favorite are the bridges that cross the river that connect String and Leigh Lakes.  Bend over close and you’re likely to see large fish swimming between the lakes, just a few feet below you.

String Lake is very shallow, so it’s a great place to go for a swim.  At it’s deeper points, it’s about 9 feet, but kids can often walk about 1/3 of the way out while still touching.  The shallow water makes this a somewhat warmer lake than others in the area, but it’s still quite frigid.  There is a large rock in the middle of String Lake that our kids love to climb on and warm up before jumping back into the cool water. This lake is ideal for smaller boats and we often take canoes or inflatable kayaks to paddle around the lake.

Leigh Lake

Details:
Length: 1.8 miles roundtrip, out and back trail
Difficulty: Easy

The hike from String Lake to Leigh Lake is my kids favorite hike in Grand Teton National Park and we do it almost every time we visit. From the parking lot at String Lake, take the trail north towards Leigh Lake. You are close to the shore for most of the trail and it is almost all in the partial shade of the pine trees around you.

Our family’s favorite are the bridges that cross the river that connect String and Leigh Lakes.  Bend over close and you’re likely to see large fish swimming between the lakes, just a few feet below you.

Once you get up to Leigh Lake, you’ll notice that the water here is significantly cooler than down at String Lake. If you’re feeling brave and are a strong swimmer, jump in and swim across to the large island to explore. Don’t forget your shoes, or just wear these shoes like we do that are great for both swimming and hiking.

Moose Ponds

Details:
Length: 2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy

The hike to Moose Ponds is a great one to start your day off with. If you’re hoping to see some moose on your trip to Grand Teton, this is probably your best bet. This trail is unshaded for a good portion of it and since animals are usually more active when it’s cooler, you will see the most wildlife early in the morning or in the evening.

As a safety measure, remember that if you do see moose or other wildlife, please keep your distance. Moose can be very dangerous, especially if they have a baby with them, so just enjoy watching them from afar.

Lakeshore Trail, Jackson Lake

Details
Length: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

The Lakeshore trail is a nice walk along the shores of Jackson Lake, with stunning unobstructed views of the Tetons. Start from the visitors center at Colter Bay and follow the signs. You’ll walk through a short forested area and then along the shores of the lake. Our family loves to come here around dinner time and bring a picnic to eat long the shores of Jackson Lake.

Polecat Creek Trail

Details
Length: 2.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy

The Polecat Creek Trail starts just outside of Flagg Ranch on the north end of Grand Teton National Park. The trail is mostly though fields and a few marshes and ends at Polecat Creek. Polecat Creek is very warm because of all the hot springs that flow into it so it’s an excellent place to take a little swim (it’s quite shallow) or soak in a dammed up pool. The bugs can get pretty bad here later in the summer, so plan ahead and take this bug spray t (DEET-Free and super effective) to protect you, as well as an ultra-compact towel to dry off with after you go for a swim.

Taggart Lake Trail

Details
Length: 3 miles roundtrip, out and back hike
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

The trail to Taggart Lake is absolutely stunning. It’s a great hike to do with kids, since it feels like a major accomplishment, yet the hike is only 1.5 miles each way. Once you get up to the lake, enjoy the crystal clear water and the beautiful rocks on the lake bed.

The trail up to Taggart Lake goes through a variety of terrain including pine forests, aspens, and even some meadows which are a perfect place to see wildflowers in the summer.

Heading up to Grand Teton and you’ll quickly notice there are dozens and dozens of hikes.  These are our favorites.  Anyone else love to hike there?  

Don’t forget to check out our suggestions for other great activities around Grand Teton National Park.

 
 
 
 

2 thoughts on “Best Easy Hikes In Grand Teton National Park”

  1. love this entire area!! I guess once you’ve lived by it, it will never leave your system 🙂 We need to do a womens backpacking trip over there. Would be rad if it was all the blogger chicks together at the same time!

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