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Leigh, Bearpaw, and Trapper Lakes

Grand Teton National Park

A long yet relaxing hike to three of the park's stunning glacial lakes, and a great option to enjoy the sunrise as it illuminates the mountainside.

Hiking Easy

18 km
136 m
136 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.1 km
High Point
2.1 km
Leigh, Bearpaw, and Trapper Lakes Map

Pack your gear the night before, and get an early start on this hike along the shores of Leigh Lake, a glacial lake resting along the eastern slopes of Mount Moran. Though longer in length, this hike is somewhat easy, with no significant elevation gain as you follow well-established paths along the lakes. Locals often suggest an early morning start to enjoy the sunrise as it illuminates the mountainside with a stunning array of colors. Many consider Leigh Lake an excellent alternative to the popular Jenny Lake, offering a similar experience but often without the crowds.


This hike originates at a trailhead for both String and Leigh Lakes, labeled on some maps as Paintbrush Canyon Trailhead. As mapped, the entire route is 11 miles long, though it is an out-and-back so you could turn around whenever you'd like. For those who venture to the end, two side trails venture to Bearpaw and Trapper Lakes, as well as a quiet cove along the shores of Lake Jackson.

Named after a 19th-century trapper, the 1,800-acre lake reaches an impressive depth of 250 feet, with a surface elevation near 6,900 feet above sea level. For perspective, across the lake from the trail, the 12,600-foot peak of Mount Moran stands a full mile above where you'll be running. It's also the 4th highest peak in the Tetons!

The best time of year to enjoy this hike is between May and October. A large paved parking lot at the trailhead is suitable for larger vehicles, including RVs and trailers. Seasonal restrooms are also available.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeighLake http://www.tetonhikingtrails.com/leigh-lake.htm



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between April and October


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area