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Jenny Lake Grand Teton National Park-Wyoming
Jenny Lake Area
Amphitheater Lake Trail
Here's a trail that can get you in and out of the high mountains in a day, presuming that you're in good shape and acclimated to the altitude -- it's a 3,000-foot climb. You'll cross glacial moraines and meadows quilted with flowers, and enter forests of fir and pine (including whitebark pine, a delicacy for bears -- be alert!). Finally, you clear the trees and come into a ring of monstrous rock walls topped by Disappointment Peak, with Grand Teton and Teewinot in view. Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake sit in this dramatic setting, with a few gnarled trees struggling to survive on the slopes.
9.6 miles round-trip. Difficult. Access: Use the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. From the Moose entrance station on Teton Park Rd., drive 6 1/2 miles to the Lupine Meadows Junction and follow signs to the trail head; if you're coming from Jenny Lake, the trail head is at the end of a road less than 1 mile south of South Jenny Lake.
Cascade Canyon Trail
Cascade Canyon Trail is the most popular trail in the park for intermediate and expert hikers. You can begin the hike from South Jenny Lake, but you can also shave 2 miles off each way by riding the boat shuttle across the lake and beginning your hike at the boat dock. At this point, you're only a steep mile from Inspiration Point, which is as far as most visitors ever get. From here, you make a brief climb up a sharp grade to the glacially rounded canyon. The trail flattens, allowing for a relaxing exploration of a true wonderland of nature: Wildflowers, waterfowl, and busy pikas abound. On a nice day, the warblers will be singing and you could see moose and bear.
If you want to go farther, you have two choices when you reach forks of North and South Cascade Canyon: Follow the South Fork to Hurricane Pass or the North Fork to Lake Solitude. At 23 and 18 miles, respectively, these are overnight trips for most mortals, so you'll need camping gear and a backcountry permit.
A less taxing alternative to the Cascade Canyon trip mentioned above is a detour to Moose Ponds, which begins on the Inspiration Point Trail. The ponds, located 2 miles from either west or east boat docks, are near the south end of Jenny Lake and are alive with birds. The stretch near the base of Teewinot Mountain, which towers over the area, is populated with elk, mule deer, black bears, and moose. The trail is flat (at lake level), short, and easy to negotiate in 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The best times to venture forth are early morning and evening.
9.1 miles round-trip. Moderate to difficult. Access: The trail into Cascade Canyon begins at Inspiration Point.
Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point Trail
Many people cross Jenny Lake, either by boat or on foot around the south end, and then make the short, forest-shaded uphill slog to Hidden Falls (less than 1 mile of hiking if you take the boat; 5 miles round-trip if you walk around), which tumbles down a broad cascade. Some think that's enough and don't go another steep half-mile to Inspiration Point. Up there you get a great view of Jenny Lake below, and you can see the glacial moraine that formed it. If you're going to only these two overlooks, I recommend a relaxed and easy hike around the south end of the lake.
Whichever route you take to Inspiration Point, start early in the day to avoid the crowds. Then pace yourself. And once you've reached Inspiration Point, what's to stop you from proceeding on to Cascade Canyon?
1.8-5.8 miles round-trip. Moderate. Access: Trail heads at East Shore Boat Dock or at West Shore Boat Dock of Jenny Lake (if you take the boat shuttle).
Jenny Lake Loop Trail
This trail circumnavigates the lake, following the shore. You can cut it in half by taking the Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle from the East Shore Boat Dock to the West Shore Boat Dock. The unblemished lake, which is 2.5 miles long, is in an idyllic setting at the foot of the mountain range, so it presents excellent views throughout the summer.
Keep in mind that Jenny Lake is one of the most popular spots in the park; to avoid the crowds, travel early or late in the day. The trails to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and the Moose Ponds branch off of this trail on the southwest shore of the lake. The trails to String and Leigh lakes branch off of t
January 10th, 2013
Viewed 326 Times - Last Visitor from Tucson, AZ on 06/28/2014 at 3:52 AM
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