4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
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/Leigh_Lake http://www.tetonhikingtrails.com/leigh-lake.htm