|The Top 10 Hikes in Grand Teton National Park|
"The Tetons have loomed up grandly against the sky. From this point it is perhaps the finest pictorial range in the United States or even N. America."
- Landscape painter, Thomas Moran, made this note in his diary on August 29, 1879 as he approached the Tetons for the very first time.
Many people who are unfamiliar, or are making their very first visit to Grand Teton National Park, want to know what the best day hikes are in the park. Below are my personal favorite top ten hikes in the park. Hopefully this will be a helpful starting point as you try to decide where you want to hike during your visit.
Static Peak Divide - Cascade Canyon gets all the accolades whenever outdoor media types discuss hiking in the Grand Tetons. However, in my humble opinion, the pundits simply haven't done their homework. I'll admit this is an extremely tough hike, but the alpine scenery is simply epic, easily making this number one on my list of the top 10 hikes in Grand Teton National Park.
Lake Solitude - This hike just about has it all: a beautiful subalpine lake, stunning mountain scenery, wildlife, wildflowers, and the largest waterfall in the park. Although this is another tough hike, it does provide hikers with the opportunity to explore more of the stunning scenery in the Cascade Canyon area.
String Lake Loop - If you're looking for a hike that offers outstanding scenery, but isn't quite so physically demanding, the loop around String Lake is the perfect choice. I highly recommend starting this hike early in the morning to see the Grand Tetons reflecting in the water.
Cascade Canyon - Undoubtedly this is one the most popular hikes in the Tetons. And rightfully so - the views of Teewinot Mountain near the mouth of the canyon is quite breathtaking. The canyon is also famous for its wildflowers, as well as the possibility of seeing a variety of wildlife.
Alaska Basin - In many ways the Alaska Basin has taken on mythical status for those that have had the chance to explore it, and for those that have only heard about it. Unfortunately for day hikers getting there is nearly impossible. However, there is one route that will allow you to explore its beautiful alpine meadows and lakes, albeit a very tough and long day hike beginning from the uncrowded west side of the park.
Death Canyon - Going all the way to Static Peak Divide is likely much too far for most people. However, you can still enjoy some absolutely stunning scenery by taking the hike up to the Death Canyon Patrol Cabin. Walk a very short distance past the historic cabin and you'll have an awesome view of the upper canyon.
Garnet Canyon - This is probably the easiest route for hikers to enjoy superb alpine scenery in the Grand Tetons. From the end of the trail you'll have upfront views of the molten dike running down Middle Teton.
Amphitheater Lake - This is arguably the best hike to a mountain lake in the national park. From the eastern shores of this beautiful subalpine lake you'll have an upfront view of Middle Teton, Disappointment Peak, Grand Teton, Mt. Owen and Teewinot Mountain.
Marion Lake - How often do you get the chance to start a hike from the top of a mountain? This hike to Marion Lake begins from the top of Rendezvous Mountain - after taking the 12-minute aerial tram ride to the summit. The route offers big views along the upper Granite Canyon area, before reaching tiny Marion Lake tucked just below the summit of Housetop Mountain.
Taggart Lake - This is the easiest hike on the list. Consequently, it's also one of the more popular hikes in the park. However, you can enjoy the spectacular views of Grand Teton - on the trail and at the lake - in relative solitude if you start your hike early in the morning.
If you think most of these hikes are too long, or maybe too strenuous, check out my list of the Best Easy Hikes in Grand Teton National Park.