Best Short Hikes at Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming is a great destination for hikers of all levels. You’ll find a variety of short hikes at Grand Teton National Park to see mountain views, lakes, waterfalls and wildlife!

This Grand Teton National Park guide will detail the best short hiking trails, recommended hiking gear, and tips for visiting the park.

short hikes at Grand Teton National Park

Here’s everything you need to know so you can add some easy short hikes to your Grand Teton itinerary: hike length, time required, trailhead location, and full description.

We live a few hours away from Grand Teton so we get to visit often. It’s important to get the latest weather information before hitting the trails because conditions can change dramatically when a storm rolls in!

Use our Grand Teton National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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A Photo Tour of Grand Teton National Park

Take a visual tour through Grand Teton National Park to see the stunning landscape and wildlife you’ll find in the park!

Tips for Hiking at Grand Teton

Grand Teton Services: Grand Teton is open 24 hours, every day of the year. Late spring to early fall is a busy time at the park. By late fall services at Grand Teton begin to close. We recommend you always get updated information on closing dates for the roads and services from the NPS website.

Grand Teton Weather: When planning your vacation be sure you know what Grand Teton National Park weather to expect during the time of your visit.

Early spring will be cold with highs 40 to 50 and lows 10-20 degrees F and snow storms can roll through any time. Late spring and early summer some hiking trails could still be muddy or closed due to bear activity. Summer highs are 70 to 80 degrees F. September and October you’ll enjoy highs 55 to 70 and lows 20-30 degrees F. Winter will be cold and snowy with highs 20 to 30 and lows around 0 degrees F!

Grand Teton Wildlife: The park is home to variety of wild animals. While exploring the park’s hiking trails you can run into deer, elk, moose, black bears and grizzly bears. When hiking in Grand Teton National Park, even if it’s on a short and busy trail, always be alert for wildlife. We ALWAYS carry and know how to use bear spray. It’s recommended you make noise and hike in groups of three or more.

Grand Teton Hiking Gear: One of the best Grand Teton National Park activities is hiking. Here’s a list of the gear you’ll need for the spring, summer, and fall season:

Hiking at Grand Teton in the snow is amazing, but you’ll definitely want be prepared with the right winter hiking gear!

Short Hikes at Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is known for its hiking trails. You’ll find a variety of Grand Teton day hikes that include easy, moderate, and strenuous trails.

For this article, we are limiting short hikes to under 3 miles. You’ll find a variety of short easy hikes in Grand Teton National Park.

These short and easy trails are great when hiking with kids!

Hidden Falls Grand Teton
Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 1.3 miles roundtrip with the Jenny Lake Shuttle
  • Time required: 1 to 2 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Jenny Lake

This popular hike at Grand Teton is considered short and easy if you take the 12 minute shuttle boat ride across the lake to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. There is a fee for the Jenny Lake shuttle boat

You can also hike the Jenny Lake Trail around the south end of Jenny Lake to reach Cascade Canyon, but that adds 2.4 miles each way to the total distance of this hike.

At the west short of the boat dock, the Hidden Falls trail begins at the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. You’ll begin climbing through a conifer forest then cross over Cascade Canyon Creek. Around three-tenths of a mile, you’ll come to the Valley Trail, which also serves as the western portion of the loop hike around Jenny Lake.

About one half mile from the boat dock you’ll pass the horse trail leading up from Jenny Lake, where you’ll proceed straight ahead at this junction.

Soon after you’ll reach the short side trail that leads to Hidden Falls. Turn left here to enjoy the viewing area of this awesome waterfall that drops one hundred feet along rock steps.

Hidden Falls is one of the best day hikes at Grand Teton which means it’s a popular trail so expect crowds.

hiker on the inspiration point trail at Grand Teton
Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point Hiking Trail

  • Hike Length: 2 miles roundtrip with the Jenny Lake shuttle
  • Time Required: 2-4 hours
  • Trailhead Location: Jenny Lake

To access the scenic Inspiration Point trail, follow the same directions above for Hidden Falls. After viewing the waterfall, head back to the main trail and turn left to continue to Inspiration Point. 

At this point the hike climbs along a very rocky and rugged trail, with one short section that traverses a fairly steep ledge. Use caution along this stretch of the trail. The steep elevation gain is rewarded with one of the best views at Grand Teton National Park!

Due to this steep section of trail, the hike isn’t considered easy, but since it’s short and the view is so rewarding, we’ve added it to this list!

Lakeshore Trail at Grand Teton
Lakeshore Trail

Lakeshore Trail Hike

  • Hike length: 2 miles roundtrip
  • Time required: 1-2 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Colter Bay Visitor Center

The Grand Teton Lakeshore Trail begins on the backside of the Colter Bay Visitor Center. The hike is basically two connecting loops that circle around the inner and outer portions of the wooded peninsula that forms Colter Bay.

Families with kids will find the Lakeshore Trail is one of the easiest hikes since it’s short and level.

Be on the lookout for the wildlife you may see on this scenic hike including bear, moose, elk, mule deer, beaver, muskrat, river otters, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, ospreys, great blue herons, snowshoe hares and martens.

You’ll enjoy picturesque views of the Teton mountains on this hike. The Lakeshore Trail is the perfect place to photograph Grand Teton National Park!

Phelps Lake
Phelps Lake

Phelps Lake Overlook Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 2 miles roundtrip
  • Time required: 1-2 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Death Canyon Trailhead

To access the Phelps Lake Overlook trail from Moose Junction, turn left onto Moose-Wilson Road and drive about 3 miles south to reach the turn-off for the Death Canyon Trailhead. Turn right and drive another 2 miles to the end of the road. Although the first mile of this road is paved, the last mile travels over a fairly rugged gravel road. 

The park highly recommends using a 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach the trailhead. At the point where the paved road ends there’s a small parking area that allows people in 2-wheel drive vehicles to park and walk the last mile to the trailhead.

You’ll start the hike with a moderate climb through a forest that meets with the Valley Trail. Turn left onto the Valley Trail to continue towards the Phelps Lake Overlook.

In one mile you’ll arrive at the Phelps Lake Overlook that sits at an elevation of 7200 feet with stunning views!

If you’re up for a longer hike, continue along the Phelps Lake Trail another 1.4 miles to reach a small sandy beach area along the lake’s northern shore.

Taggart Lake at Grand Teton
Taggart Lake

Taggart Lake Loop Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 3 miles roundtrip 
  • Time required: 1-2 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Taggart Lake Trailhead, 2.3 miles north of the Moose Entrance Station

The Taggart Lake trail is an easy, out and back hike that provides amazing views of the Teton Range. Because it’s right at 3 miles, we’ve added it to this list of short hikes.

As you start the trail, you’ll hike up an aspen-covered moraine before the trail opens up to views of the Tetons. At the Bradley Lake trail split, stay left to access Taggart Lake. The trail then flattens out and heads to the lakeshore. 

Once you reach the destination you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the alpine lake with the Teton Range behind.

Willow Flats at Grand Teton National Park
View from Lunch Tree Hill

Lunch Tree Hill Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 0.5 mile loop trail 
  • Time required: 20-45 minutes 
  • Trailhead Location: Jackson Lake Lodge

From Jackson Lake Lodge, follow the signs for the Lunch Tree Hill trail. This short, interpretive trail takes you to the top of a hill with views of Willow Flats and the Teton Range.

Willow Flats is known for wildlife sightings of elk, moose and bears! Lunch Tree Hill is one of the best hikes for unobscured views of Jackson Lake and the stunning Grand Teton range mountains.

Swan Lake at Grand Teton in the fall
Swan Lake in the fall

Heron Pond – Swan Lake Loop Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 3.1 mile loop trail
  • Time required: 1-3 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Colter Bay

Yes, this hike is a bit over the 3 mile limit we set, but only a tad over so we added it to the list! Access the trail to Heron Pond from Colter Bay. Continue on to Swan Lake before heading back to Colter Bay.

The easy Heron Pond-Swan Lake Loop Trail takes you through forests and wetlands to two ponds with terrific views of the Teton Range. Both lakes are home to birds and a variety of other wildlife.

Moose Ponds Hiking Trail

  • Hike length: 2 mile roundtrip trail / 3.4 mile loop trail
  • Time required: 1-3 hours 
  • Trailhead Location: Jenny Lake

You can hike the easy out-and-back trail to Moose Ponds, or hike the 3 mile loop, both following the south shore of Jenny Lake. Access the trail just beyond the shuttle boat dock. 

The Moose Ponds hiking trail is relatively flat for the first quarter-mile but features obstacles, such as exposed roots and rock. A short but steep hill is required to view Moose Ponds. Hiking the loop takes you into Lupine Meadows where pronghorn can be seen.

This trail got its name due to regular moose sightings in the area. Early morning is the best time to see wildlife.

Grand Teton maps and guides

AMAZON: Yellowstone and Grand Teton Guides and Maps

US Hiking Trails

Check out this list of the Best Hiking Trails in the US. This free printable lists 5 amazing hikes per state! Click the graphic below to get your copy!

best hiking trails in all 50 states grab the free packet

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