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Lonely Planet Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks: 2 expert authors with more than 500 hours of in-park research provide in-depth information on hiking, camping, activities and trip planning.

Hidden Falls

Trail Features: Waterfall, Lake Views hidden-falls
Trail Location: Jenny Lake Trailhead
Roundtrip Length: 1.3 Miles
Trailhead Elevation: 6783 Feet
Total Elevation Gain: 230 Feet
Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 354 Feet
Highest Elevation: 6990 Feet
Trail Difficulty Rating: 1.76 (easy)
Parking Lot Latitude 43.75114
Parking Lot Longitude -110.7238

Trail Description:

The hike to Hidden Falls begins from the Jenny Lake Trailhead. To reach the trailhead turn west off Teton Park Road at the South Jenny Lake Junction, located roughly 7.7 miles north of Moose Junction. From the junction drive another half-mile to the boat dock parking area. Hikers have the option of taking the Jenny Lake Trail around the south end of Jenny Lake, or taking the shuttle boat across the lake to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. The boat cuts-off roughly 2.4 miles of walking each way; however, there is a fee for the boat ride

This hike description follows the route beginning from the Cascade Canyon Trailhead, located at the West Shore Boat Dock, after taking the 12-minute shuttle boat across Jenny Lake.

Covering roughly 1191 acres, glacially-carved Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons. At 423 feet it's also one of the deepest. The lake was named for a Shoshone Indian named Jenny who assisted with camp logistics during the Hayden Geological Survey of 1872. Nearby Leigh Lake is named for her husband, Richard "Beaver Dick" Leigh, an itinerant trapper and early tour guide who helped guide the Hayden Expedition through the area. In 1876 Jenny and their six children died of smallpox.

The Spring 1939 issue of Grand Teton Nature Notes reports that "By far the most popular trail in the park is the lower portion of the Cascade Canyon Trail which leaves Jenny Lake and climbs above Hidden Falls." More than 75 years later that statement still holds true. As a result of overuse through the years the park launched a multi-year project in 2014 to improve the area surrounding Jenny Lake. The project included extensive rehabilitation of trails connecting Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, as well as improvements to the viewing areas at both destinations.

From the boat dock the trail begins climbing upward through a pristine conifer forest. It's likely you'll notice quite a few huckleberry patches along this stretch, which is one of the reasons why you'll need to watch out for bears on this hike.

hidden-fallsSoon the trail crosses over Cascade Canyon Creek, and at roughly three-tenths of a mile, will reach the Valley Trail which also serves as the western portion of the loop hike around Jenny Lake.

At just over a half-mile from the boat dock you'll pass the horse trail leading up from Jenny Lake. Hikers should proceed straight ahead at this junction. A short distance later you'll pass the short side trail that leads to Hidden Falls. Hikers should turn left here to visit the viewing area of this extremely impressive waterfall. Situated near the mouth of Cascade Canyon, Hidden Falls drops roughly two hundred feet in a series of steps.

As a result of its popularity the waterfall is one of the most visited destinations in Grand Teton National Park.

If you still have the time and energy after viewing the cascading waterfall, I highly recommend continuing your hike to visit Inspiration Point. This will add less than a mile and another 200 feet of climbing to your overall roundtrip hike. Along the way you'll be treated to some great views of 12,325-foot Teewinot Mountain towering above the canyon towards the west, as well as an outstanding panoramic view of Jenny Lake from Inspiration Point.