We woke up early before the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve even opened (opens at 9 am) in order to avoid the wait in a car line (there is no other parking anywhere in the area – street parking is not permitted and so you literally sit in line in your car until spots open up) and so I cannot emphasize how important arriving early is. 8:30 am was perfect. Our plan was to the Lake-Creek Woodland Trail Loop which is a nice family friendly even with little ones hike of 3.4 miles – As fate would always determine our course — in this case I got a little excited and began hiking around Phelps Lake not realizing this would add on an additional 4 miles… however I highly recommend for it is not a difficult hike but instead a nice long and very pleasant loop around the lake. Best to take long hikes for once you leave a parking spot good luck at finding another one. I felt the scenery around String Lake was prettier as you looked up at the mountains but still a very nice trail. My recommendation would be bringing a bathing suite and a lunch (we did not). A lot of people were swimming in the lake…looked like fun! It would be a great place to just relax for the day.
Jenny Lake – Hidden Falls – Inspiration Point
Oh my. Be sure to understand the total distance of this hike for it is incorrect on the signs – even with the corrected hand written mileage taped over the original trail sign it was still unclear. We knew the trail was closed from The Falls to Inspiration Point and would require descending from the falls and ascending again to reach but because we failed to stop at the ranger station beforehand we did not know just what that extra distance was like. The hike around the lake to the falls is a very pretty way to reach the falls, in some points right along the water. Hidden Falls was like being on a Disney Ride due to the trail closures all around it. You had to literally wait in line to get into the area.
I am sure when this re opens it is fine… but oh my. To reach Inspiration Point at this point of time (Aug 2015) you are required to use a horse trail not on the map – additional two miles of strenuous switchbacks. More then once we almost turned around. This climb was our most difficult in the Grand Tetons however the views both down and up in the canyons were the amazing (see picture on the left) . By 2016 this will all be fixed but until then I recommend taking the boat one way. I believe we clocked this hike in at around 11 miles but now looking at it that may be a bit higher then it really was. But it sure felt like it. (as you can see we just kept getting higher each day!)
No wonder this hike is so popular…. One of our favorites, too. You get a lot of scenery for an easy hike. Right away you pass an amazing waterfall. And then you come upon another wonderful glacier lake. I highly recommend doing the loop — Although we saw no beavers it was beautiful. However the descent was amazing – a steep climb over a glacial moraine looking back at the Tetons and Avalanche Canyon were truly amazing!
We chose this short hike on our last day even though I did not have the map printed out for it and did not know where it began. I had seen on our long hike around Jenny Lake signs for a turn off for this trail. It is a nice short hike – just tricky to find the trail at first. It is at a pullout on Lupine Meadows Road – we parked and walked the road until we found it. Just a very pleasant easy hike – perfect on a rainy morning and after a long week of getting up early and doing long hikes.
We had a bunch of others that looked appealing but chose not to drive up to the northern end of the park. Planning to me is preparing. It is not setting the entire course of the trip. Days just need to happen naturally when in nature!