Sitting under the watchful eye of Grand Teton, Delta Lake, in Wyoming, is a magical place and one of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park. If you get there early enough, you’ll have a stunning reflection of the nearly 14,000-foot peak in the glacier-fed lake.
While most of the 4.5-mile hike up is on a well-established trail, the final three-quarters of a mile requires you to hike through a boulder field. It’s not daunting, but it means you’ll have to put in a little more effort and be cognizant of where you place your feet at all times.
However, the path should be well-worn by now, and there are cairns to help guide you up. (As always, download the AllTrails app to keep you going in the right direction.)
Hiking to the beautiful Delta Lake in Grand Teton National Park
Planning your trip to Delta Lake in the Grand Tetons
Delta Lake, Wyoming Trail Details
- Length: 8.5 miles round trip with portions off the trail and through boulders
- Trailhead: Lupine Meadows
- Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet, which makes Delta Lake a pretty steep hike
- Starting Elevation: 6,700 feet
- Difficulty: Tough but very doable
- Beauty Level: Drop dead gorgeous at sunrise
- Remember Bear Spray
Where to start the Delta Lake hike
You’re going to start your hike from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. This is also where you access the Suprise and Amphitheater Lake trail, which you will hike up for nearly the entire trek. This is a pretty decently sized parking lot, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a spot.
Are there bears near Delta Lake?
Hiking in Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park means you’re hiking in bear territory. Remember always to have bear spray and make noise as you hike to ensure you don’t startle wildlife. Additionally, try not to hike alone, as this can be more dangerous if you encounter a bear.
Can you swim in Delta Lake?
If you can brave the cold, you can swim in Delta Lake. Just know it’s snow melt and will be pretty cold.
What gear do you need for the hike?
- Wool base layer to keep you dry: Men’s and Women’s
- Sun shirt for hiking: Men’s and Women’s
- Nice comfy fleece as a mid-layer: Men’s and Women’s
- Down Jacket for extra warmth in the mornings: Men’s and Women’s
- Comfy yet durable pants: Men’s and Women’s
- Rain jacket: Men’s and Women’s
- Wool Socks: Men’s and Women’s
- Sturdy Hiking Shoes: Men’s and Women’s
- Midsized hiking backpack: 18L, 25L, 30L
How to hike to Delta Lake for Sunrise
Lupine Meadows Trailhead for the Delta Lake hike
You start at Lupine Meadows, also home to Amphitheater Lake Trailhead. You’ll walk on the trail for the majority of your hike. Overall, it’s not a bad trail, yet it can get steep in some sections. However, the first half mile is moderately flat before you begin winding your way up the mountainside.
After a while, you’ll have stunning views of Grand Teton National Park. If you time it right, you’ll also be hiking amongst gorgeous wildflowers. So keep an eye on the calendar!
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Short Off-Trail Section before Delta Lake
At the 3.5-mile mark, you’ll notice steps going down to the right while the trail zigs back to the left. Go right. This is the off-trail portion of the hike. It’ll seem counter-intuitive, but you’ll begin going back up soon.
Before entering the boulder section, you’ll walk on a dirt path. Once here, follow what appears to be a trail and the rock cairns.
Keep these in your sights, as I climbed much higher than was needed and had to backtrack. Don’t be like me. Eventually, you’ll meander to your right and get close to the stream flowing out of the lake.
This is the right path, and soon after, you’ll be at the mouth of Delta Lake.
Soaking up the stunning views at Delta Lake
Once at Delta Lake, you’ll witness one of the most beautiful places in America! If you’re here for sunrise, get ready for a show. The top of Grand Teton will light up, and your reflection should be perfect (if there’s no wind).
It will take some boulder/stream hopping to get to the right side, but it isn’t too challenging….with a camera and tripod, maybe a bit more. I walked to the right side, but the views weren’t drastically different.
Overall, it’s a surreal view that puts your tiny size into perspective with Grand Teton towering above. But, with your eyes on the prize, you now know why this is one of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park.
FAQ: Delta Lake Hike in Wyoming
How many miles is Delta Lake hike?
Delta Lake is about 8.5 miles round trip. For 90% of it, it’s a well-maintained trail with a small, off-trail section. However, I did this in 2020, and it was less visited. Now, I’m sure the trail is painfully apparent.
Where do you park for the Delta Lake hike?
Park at the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. It’s a decent size. If you’re there early, you won’t have any issues finding a place to park.
How long does it take to hike Delta Lake in Grand Teton?
Expect this to be, at a minimum, a half-day hike. You can probably get up in 2.5-3 hours (probably faster), and then coming down will be a breeze.
Final tips on hiking Delta Lake, Wyoming
-It was freaking amazing. We somehow only found out about it the day before we left, so a sunrise mission was needed (which was a bit scary due to grizzlies…but we managed)
-I would say this is the must-do hike of the park, then Cascade Canyon.
-The boulder field really isn’t bad. Don’t fret.
-The hike will probably take you two hours up.
-It seems it’s getting more crowded each day, so plan accordingly and get there early or late.
-Bring bear spray as you hike Delta Lake in Wyoming’s bear country
Wrapping up – Delta Lake Hike
Hiking Delta Lake in Wyoming is a truly unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts. From the stunning scenery and pristine alpine lake to the challenging yet rewarding trail, this hike offers a perfect combination of natural beauty and adventure.
Whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting, Delta Lake allows you to connect with nature and push your limits.
Related: If you’re staying for an extended period of time in Grand Teton National Park, check out these other great photography spots.
Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.
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