Our goal for a Grand Tetons visit in June 2022 was to actually hike. Our first visit, 3 years earlier, we spent all our time driving the sights and squeezed in a kayaking trip. In the park, a very popular area for hiking is around the Jenny Lake area of the park. There are miles of scenic lake trails around the 3 lakes and back into the 2 canyons.
We had enough time to plan on 2 day hikes. Allowing for a 40 minute drive one way would mean a minimum of 4 hours. That’s a good day outing in our book!
Hike #1 – Moose Ponds via South Jenny Lake
As the title states, this is a popular area. We made the mistake of not starting our first hike day until after lunch. That meant we found no parking in the main lots. With no parking to be found we move onto plan B. Well, technically we had no plan B but just continued on towards the Jenny Lake visitor center area where there’d be more parking and if that failed, there were additional trail head parking areas further south. As luck would have it, there was a small stretch of roadside parking along the east side of Jenny Lake. We grabbed that spot, our waters, bug and bear spray, and cameras then proceeded south on the trail.
Once we arrived at the south end of the lake, it was mid afternoon. Being late, we decided to save the longer hike up to Hidden Falls for a return trip. Instead we proceeded south to see more of the Jenny lake trail. Once closer to the south end, there’s a nice walkway. This is where we discover a warning sign about an aggressive mama moose and her calf in the area. Less than 50′ away, we see the mama and her calf down eating down along the shore.
By now we’ve decided to walk along the southern end of Jenny Lake towards Moose Ponds Loop. Rounding the south end of the lake, we continue until we find our turnoff.
From the turn off, we headed further south until we are looking down at a large pond. Being marshy means bugs and they were slightly annoying but not terrible. We applied bug spray at that point and continued walking around the pond. At this point I wasn’t sure about continuing onward but I’m glad we took the time to complete the loop. Although, there were no more moose to be seen, we enjoyed many little creek crossings, a mountain waterfall view, a long section of shady forest and ended with an open meadow & marsh area before returning to the south end of Jenny Lake.
Hike #2 Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point
Now that we learned our lesson when it comes busy trail head parking areas, we planned for a 2nd day hike with a mid morning departure. It’s a 40 minute drive from camp to the west side of the park. I thought we weren’t leaving early enough, but there was still plenty of available parking. We landed in the middle parking lot, which is also a canoe / kayak / paddle board launch point.
This is a beautiful hike. It’s also a nice mixture of easy walking with a slight elevation gain until the shuttle area. Then, there is an short climb to the falls and inspiration point. Although, the walk around the lake is easy, if the distance or time is a concern, there’s also a shuttle from the Jenny Lake visitor center area to the base of the falls trail.
The main part of our hike along the north end of Jenny Lake was light traffic and slight elevation gain. That meant we could move as quick (or slow) as we liked.
The climb to the falls is where you merge with the shuttle crowd and it is quite a progression of people up and down. By this time, it was about 11am. The more adventurous are probably on the trail much earlier to enjoy more nature without feeling crowded.
Video of our Full Trip
So much more to show on both hikes in our vlog update:
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