In my last post I described several Grand Teton hikes that might be more challenging or time-consuming than everyone is up for, so here are five options on gentle terrain that offer beautiful scenery and even the possibility of seeing wildlife.
Taggart and Bradley Lakes (4 miles roundtrip to Taggart Lake, 6 miles roundtrip to both lakes, 550 feet elevation gain)
Park at the Bradley and Taggart Lake trailhead, a couple miles north of the Moose park entrance. If you find the lot full, an increasingly common occurrence due to the popularity of this hike, you may park along the west side of the road to the south of the lot. The trail is well signed and easy to follow and since it is a loop you can go clockwise or counterclockwise.
On clear days you will have lovely views of the high peaks,
and see them reflected in the lakes.
Pick a spot along the lakeshore to enjoy your lunch along with the views.
These two lakes are located on the opposite side of Teton Park Road from Jackson Lake Lodge. In spite of their proximity to this large visitor facility, trails around them tend to have much less traffic than others in the park. With gentle gradients and many different route options, they offer a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle often found on other trails. You are also likely to encounter wildlife, such as this deer. Be prepared with bear spray. We have seen both grizzly and black bears while hiking here.
Because there are so many options, I suggest consulting a map to help you choose your route and where to park. You can hike around just one of the lakes, or make a day of it and go around both lakes. You can also make it a very short day and simply hike to the Grand View Point. Here is Two Ocean Lake seen from the Grand View Point.
You'll also be rewarded with views of the entire Grand Teton Range. It was smoky when we visited this summer so I embraced the silhouette rather than a detailed color image.
Hermitage Point (10 miles roundtrip, 380 feet elevation gain)
The trailhead for this hike is at the southwest end of Colter Bay Visitors area, just past the marina office. Once again I suggest consulting a good map since this area has a number of trails and it isn't always clear which is the route to Hermitage Point. A map will also show you several shorter loop options if you don't want to go all the way to Hermitage Point.
About half of the hike runs along or near the eastern shore of Jackson Lake so there are many view points from which to see the Teton range.
Mount Moran looms up from the opposite side of Jackson Lake. Here you see it with a dusting of early season snow and a good view of the Skillet Glacier.
String Lake (3.8 mile loop, 275 feet elevation gain)
String Lake trailhead is a few miles north of Jenny Lake. Simply follow the signs from the Teton Park Road to reach the parking lot.This is another very popular destination, especially in the summer when swimmers come to the lake to cool off. Best to arrive early to get a parking spot. When you're done with your hike then you can wash off the dust in the cool, clear water. It's also common to see bears here so be sure to keep any food with you at all times, and put it in a bear box or your car when you go swimming.
Phelps Lake from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (7 mile loop, 725 feet elevation gain)
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSR) is accessed from Moose-Wilson Road and is the only attended parking lot in the park, because Laurance Rockefeller wanted to keep this parcel a place for quiet and contemplation. There are a strictly limited number of parking spaces and you must wait in line to be assigned one.
It's January now, so these hikes aren't really an option now, (though some of them can be accessed on cross country skis) so I will wish you happy dreams of happy trails in the seasons to come.