Hike to glacial lakes and high mountain peaks or enjoy a stunning trail run through aspen groves and alpine tundra on one of these top summer adventures in Grand Teton National Park.
The jagged peaks of the Tetons may be one of the most recognized skylines anywhere in North America. A subrange of the iconic Rocky Mountains, the Teton Massif measures nearly 40 miles from north to south and, according to geologists, contains some of the youngest peaks in the Rockies. From short day hikes to epic wilderness outings, this guidebook compiles 10 of the best warm-weather adventures to explore Grand Teton National Park on foot.
If you just arrived in the park, chances are you’re looking for a short hike to stretch your legs after the journey there. Two of the park’s most popular hikes are conveniently located near Lake Jenny Campground and the adjacent Visitor Center. String Lake and Hidden Falls are both under 4 miles each, and for a small fee, Hidden Falls is even accessible by boat! It’s also noted as the only year-round waterfall in the park before draining into the estimated 423-foot-deep Jenny Lake.
If you’re ready to plan a long day hike deep into the mountains, consider Amphitheater & Delta Lakes as a destination, or set your sights on the rugged hike to Static Peak via Death Canyon - an adventure that toes the line between hiking and canyoneering. Of course, a visit to Leigh, Bearpaw, & Trapper Lakes is an equally rewarding endeavor, without the big mountain elevation gain. The mountain peaks also glimmer in the lake’s reflection, making it an excellent option if you set your alarm early enough to watch the sun as it illuminates the mountainside.
Though not immediately within the boundaries of the National Park, any hitlist for the Teton Mountains is likely to include the beautiful Table Mountain Loop, accessed from Driggs, Idaho rather than Wyoming. It’s a favorite amongst locals and a great option if you’re visiting the Grand Targhee Resort. The long day hike awards panoramic views of the Teton Basin - with the Grand, Middle, and Lower directly across the canyon from Table Mountain.
Whether you’re a novice trail runner or spend most of your time on the road, the pristine glacial lakes in the park are a great way to explore while staying in shape. Enjoy a relaxing run around Jenny Lake, one of the park’s go-to trails, or grab your running vest and set off for the epic Paintbrush & Cascade Canyon Loop. If you’re looking for an epic 15+ mile trail run without the need for a shuttle, there is no better option! The circuit also awards incredible views of the Cathedral Group, encompassing the Grand, Middle, and South Tetons peaks, with added views of Teewinot and Mount Owen just below the Grand Teton itself.
Those seeking a shorter run in the park may enjoy this guidebook highlighting 6 of the best lakeside runs in the Tetons, though seasoned trail runners are likely already eyeing the infamously epic Teton Crest Trail. Though reserved for experienced runners likely planning a trip around the run, this epic ~40-mile run awards unparalleled views as you traverse the spine of the jagged Teton Massif. Enjoy stunning alpine lakes, vibrant glaciers, lush views, and short side trips to the summit of Static Peak or Iceflow Lake. Some of the fastest times have been clocked in the 8-hour window, though most will want to set aside at least 10 hours to complete the point-to-point epic. Backpackers also frequent the route, with many of the trail’s details documented section-by-section by Greg Heil and Jason Weiss in this guidebook.