By Tory Cameron
Surrounded by numerous mountain ranges, Jackson Hole offers some of the best hiking in the country. Listed below are some of the best hikes in Jackson, ranging from easy day hikes to more challenging backpacking trips.
This is a perfect after-work hike to do with the dogs! Start halfway up the pass at Phillips Trailhead, following the well-marked signs to Ski Lake. This four mile out and back trail winds through fields of wildflowers, over creeks and through dense forests, eventually ending at a peaceful lake.
Darby Wind Caves
If you are looking for a moderate hike away from the crowds, this is it! Featuring a cascading waterfall, thick forests, wildflower meadows and, an extremely spooky cave, this hike is unlike any other. The trailhead can be accessed near Driggs, Idaho, just a short drive over Teton Pass. The hike is around 5 miles roundtrip, so make sure to bring snacks, a headlamp for exploring the dark caves, and a swimsuit to splash around in the pool beneath the waterfall! On the way back to Jackson, make a stop at the Victor Emporium for their world-famous huckleberry milkshake.
If uphill hiking isn’t really your thing, this loop provides the perfect day-long activity. This 10-mile loop starts out at the Colter Bay boat launch and winds through wetlands, creeks, bays and inlets, providing you the perfect habitat for wildlife viewing. Enjoy your lunch halfway through the hike at the beach overlooking Mt. Moran and soak in the views!
One of the most underrated hikes in the area, Taylor Mountain provides 360-degree views of the Tetons, Salt River Range, Wyoming Range and Snake River Range. Although it is only 8 miles round trip, the route gains about 2,800 feet, making this an all day adventure. Be sure to bring snacks for the summit, as you will want to stay awhile and soak in the view!
Union Falls (Yellowstone)
The hike to Union falls is about 15 miles roundtrip, which makes it a relatively big day for the average hiker. However, the elevation gain is minimal, and the end result is worth every step! At 265 feet tall, Union Falls is the second largest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, and perhaps the most secretive. The nearby geothermal heated pools provide an option for swimming and soaking before your long walk back to the car. If you are in search of both solitude and beauty, this is the perfect hike for you!
To reach the summit of Table Mountain there are two options. The first provides a mellow 7 mile walk to the summit via the Huckleberry Trail. The Face Trail is your second option, which tests hikers over 4 miles of steep, rocky terrain. Most people take the Face Trail to the summit and return via the Huckleberry Trail for a nice and easy descent. Either way, you will reach the top with jaw dropping views of the Grand Teton. Make sure to bring your camera!
Granite Canyon to the Tram Loop
This 12.5 mile hike provides views from deep within Granite Canyon as you make your way through dense forests, eventually turning into small shrubs and fields of wildflowers. Start your day at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and head north on the Teton Village Trail to reach Granite Canyon. Follow Granite Creek towards the Jackson Hole tram, eventually climbing the backside of Rendezvous Mountain. Upon reaching the summit, you are rewarded with stunning views of the Jackson Hole valley and a free ride down the tram back to your car! Also, be sure to stuff a few bucks into your backpack and purchase a waffle at Corbet’s Cabin.
Paintbrush to Cascade Loop
This is one of the most beautiful and epic loops in the Teton Range. Although many people do this 18 mile hike as an overnight, it can certainly be completed in a single day. Both directions are equally beautiful, however most recommend starting at Paintbrush Canyon, climbing the steep, long trail over the divide and down to Lake Solitude. The lake is a perfect place to eat a sandwich and bask in the sun, taking in the endless beauty around you. The rest of the hike is downhill, which seems like a breeze after the agony of Paintbrush Divide. You conclude the loop by ending at Slide Lake, a perfect place for a dip and a celebratory beer.
Cascade Canyon to Hurricane Pass
This 20-mile out and back route is extremely strenuous and is recommended for experienced hikers. However, if your legs can power you though the miles, the views are worth it! From the top of Hurricane pass you can look down into Schoolroom Glacier, which is literally used as textbook example of glacial features. In addition, you will have the most spectacular view of the western side of the Tetons. Many describe this view as the best in the Tetons and it is highly regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Grand Teton National Park. This hike can also be done as an overnight!
Titcomb Basin/Island Lake
Titcomb Basin is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and should be on everyone’s bucket list. The hike to the basin is truly spectacular, passing over creeks and streams, through dense forest and open meadows filled with wildflowers. Upon arriving to the basin, you are greeted with breathtaking views of the Wind River Range. Most people explore this area over a course of two to four days, as the whole loop is around 29 miles. Island Lake is the perfect place to camp, providing numerous camping spots with plenty of shelter. From there, grab your day pack and make your way to Titcomb Basin, which is only about two miles away.