Explore Jackson Hole’s stunning glacial lakes on one of these easy lakeside runs in Grand Teton National Park.
Formed by glacial movement thousands of years ago, these lakeside runs explore Grand Teton National Park’s pristine glacial lakes nestled along the eastern slopes of the mountains. Each of these runs is on easy, well-maintained paths with no significant elevation gain. Whether you’re a novice trail runner, experienced ultrarunner, or an average roadie, there is undoubtedly something on this list for you.
According to the National Park Service, these lakes are fed by one of “11 active glaciers in Grand Teton National Park.” While 10 of them hold official names on the USGS registry, the other lake near Glacier Peak is still unnamed. Despite their abundance and perceived size, “some of these glaciers may have lost so much ice volume that they have stopped flowing and are no longer active glaciers.” Another article by the NPS lists climate change as a critical factor in their demise, and that many—if not all—of these lakes “will eventually disappear.”
For the loop routes, counter-clockwise is always the preferred direction, and sunrise tends to offer the best lighting. From the eastern shores of each lake, you’ll witness the high mountain peaks reflecting off the surface of the water, a perspective coveted by countless aspiring photographers. Of the six main glacial lakes, Phelps Lake is the closest to Jackson or Teton Village and offers stunning views into the mouth of Death Canyon. Of the entire list, this 6.5-mile loop may be the most visited, and should certainly top the list if you only have time to visit one of these runs. As a focal point of the park, it’s one of the larger lakes and estimated to be over 400 feet deep!