The hiking in the Grand Teton National Park is on par with the best in North America. With the gorgeous, jagged peaks within eyesight from almost every foot of the park, your views never waver. Whether hiking in the canyons, soaking up the views from the lakes or spotting wildlife from the road, you’re in for a treat. The Grand Teton National Park best hikes aren’t just stunning, they’re rewarding. You may gain thousands of feet of elevation depending on where you go, pushing you far away from the crowds below.
While I didn’t rank these Grand Teton National Park best hikes, I put a few of my favorite Grand Teton hikes at the top. They’re surreal and will show you so much more about the park and what makes it unique than what you see from the overlooks.
The Grand Teton National Park best hikes
With hundreds of miles of trails heading into the Teton range, you won’t grow weary of your time in the park. So grab your pack, and let’s trek on the Grand Teton National Park best hikes!
What to pack on your Grand Teton hikes:
- Sturdy Boots
- Microspikes (if visiting in June/July)
- Baselayer or Hiking Sunshirt
- Long sleeve wool layer (if planning to hike to a higher elevation)
- Down jacket for mornings/nights
- Hiking Poles
- Bear spray (remember, you can’t fly with it)
Most scenic hikes in Grand Teton National Park
Delta Lake (and Amphitheater Lake)
Distance: 7.5 miles, 2,200 feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: Strenuous with about a half mile of off-trail through some boulders
What you need to know: It’s at the top of my Grand Teton National Park best hikes list. It’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t recommend a better sunrise destination than Delta Lake. To get there for sunrise, you must hike through the dark within grizzly country. On your Grand Teton hikes, be bear smart by carrying bear spray and hiking in a group. I’d also recommend bringing a speaker to play music, not to startle nearby bears. (The only time it’s okay to get a speaker.)
The hike is straightforward for about 3.5 miles of the trek. You’ll follow a side trail at the turn-off point that will eventually bring you up to Delta Lake. In 2020, we zig-zagged our way up, taking suboptimal routes. I’m sure now, in 2023, with this trail far more popular, there’s an easy-to-follow route to the lake. Reaching the other side of the lake requires some rock hopping. Just be careful not to fall in.
Cascade Canyon with an add-on of Lake Solitude
Distance: 9 miles, 1,100 feet of elevation gain OR 16 miles round trip to Lake Solitude with 2,700 feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: Pretty mild or harder, depending on your distance
What you need to know: If you take the boat across, it shaves off about 2-3 miles round trip, saving you an hour of your day. Once you arrive at the other side, you’ll have a decent uphill trek into the canyon. But once you’re there, it’s a modest hike at best, with gorgeous views of the peaks and, hopefully, wildlife.
We spotted three or four moose, including one bull moose hiking on the trail. Talk about rounding a corner and getting startled! Remember, when hiking in the Grand Teton National Park, keep your eyes and ears open and have your bear spray handy. If you’re short on time but don’t want to do a strenuous hike, this is the one to check off.
Paintbrush Canyon to Holly Lake
Distance: 13 miles, with 2,700 feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
What you need to know: When I did Paintbrush Canyon, it was in the first couple of days of July, and we didn’t find this canyon too exceptional. Plus, when we got to Holly Lake, it was nearly frozen, and the entire area looked as mediocre as possible. However, I’ve been told as the snow melts and the flowers bloom; this is one of the Grand Teton National Park best hikes. You can also reach Lake Solitude from this route if you so choose!
Taggart Lake and Bradley Lake Loop
Distance: 6 miles, 750 feet of elevation gain
What you need to know: There are multiple trails to do this, but the shorter route starts at the Taggart Lake Parking lot. You can also access these lakes from the Lupine Meadows parking lot (same as Delta Lake), which makes it a 10-mile hike with 1,500 feet of gain.
As for views, you’ll get an expansive view of the Teton Range and hopefully a stunning reflection of the peaks towering above. I’d highly recommend adding this to your hiking in the Grand Teton national park checklist.
Leigh Lake Trail
Distance: 7 miles (with a 3-mile option also), 100 feet of elevation gain
What you need to know: This is a simple walk along Leigh Lake, a great family-friendly hiking option. As usual, the views are stunning, allowing for some really lovely reflections of the peaks ahead. Just know you will be among the crowd, as this is one of the more popular trails in the park.
Distance: 3 miles, 150 feet of elevation gain
What you need to know: We went here as someone told us it was an excellent place to find moose. As the name suggests. Sadly, we didn’t see any moose, but it was a damn good place to visit and see the sights. No one else was around, and I enjoyed the quiet of the Tetons. So if you’re looking for a family-friendly hike, this is one of the things to do in Grand Teton National Park.
Lake of the Crags
Distance: 5 mikes, 2,700 feet of elevation gain
What you need to know: I haven’t done this one, but the views look incredible. But you’ll have to work for those views, with about 1,000 feet per mile incline going up. So with the difficulty, plus lack of name ID, if you’re looking for a less crowded hike, this is it.
Bonus for the backpackers: Teton Crest Trail
Distance: 40 miles, 9,400 feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: This one is a doozy for Grand Teton hikes.
What you need to know: I haven’t done it, but it is the ultimate adventure in GTNP. AllTrails shows that you either start/end at Jenny Lake and start/finish Teton Pass on the SR22 after leaving Wilson. However, many reviewers said they took the Tram up from Teton Village. That sounds like a way to save your legs and plenty of elevation. Overall, gorgeous views and a bucket list opportunity.
What are the other things to do in Grand Teton National Park
When it comes to the things to do in Grand Teton National Park, there’s so much to do that you’ll find time flies by! Below are a handful of non-hiking ideas.
- Wildlife viewing – If you see cars pulled over, odds are there’s an animal. Keep your cool!
- Canoe/kayak on the lakes
- Go to Mormon Row
- Bike on the Grand Teton Pathway
- Enjoy the stars at night. Jackson Dam is a great place to watch them come out.
- Take plenty of photos. Use my guide to find the best spots!
FAQs about Hiking in the Grand Teton national park
Do you need bear spray in Grand Teton?
Yes, it would be best to always have bear spray while hiking in Grand Teton National Park. This provides you with the best safety and security. Ensure it is in an easy-to-reach location (preferably in your hand). Having a whistle and hiking in a group of three or more is also wise, as bears rarely attack when outnumbered.
Will I be safe hiking in Grand Teton National Park?
Yes, you will be. While grizzlies are very present in the area, they also don’t want to be around humans. If you take precautions and carry bear spray, you are doing all you can to stay safe. Honestly, the bigger worry for hikers is moose. Stay a safe distance away, and do not let them charge you.
Lastly, the Grand Teton National Park best hikes are pretty popular, and if you hike during the day, you’ll have plenty of people on the trail to keep wildlife away.
Is hiking the Grand Teton hard?
It is. Only experienced climbers/hikers should attempt it, and it should not be done without ropes and preferably with someone who knows the climb. Additionally, it would be best if you aimed to start your hike early in the morning and be off the summit/exposed areas by the afternoon when most thunderstorms arrive.
Finally, as you plan your hiking in the Grand Teton National Park, remember that if you plan to break this 14-mile, 7,000-foot ascent into multiple days, you will require a backcountry permit.
What is the best time of year to hike the Grand Tetons?
With the proper equipment, you can spend time hiking in the Grand Teton national park year-round. That said, June through October are your prime hiking months, with late July through September being your best high-altitude timeframe.
Is hiking better in Yellowstone or Grand Teton?
I’d easily argue Grand Teton National Park. It’s more mountainous, and the views from your hikes are gobsmackingly beautiful. GTNP is known for its hiking, while Yellowstone is more of a ‘short hike to a destination’ spot. Take a look at my three-day Yellowstone itinerary here.
Wishing ya’ll the best while hiking in the Grand Teton National Park! I know you will love the Grand Teton hikes!
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