5 Less-Traveled Spots in Grand Teton National Park
Wyoming is a killer vacay spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in the northwest part of Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is named for its highest peak, which sits at a majestic 13,775 feet tall. Like its neighbor, Yellowstone, Grand Teton is a popular destination for mountaineering, backpacking and backcountry hikes.
Luckily, there are a few places inside the park that many visitors avoid. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet in Grand Teton, check out these five lesser traveled hotspots:
1. Leigh Lake Beach: Yes, there’s an actual lakeside beach hiding in Grand Teton, though it can be difficult to find. From the Leigh Lake Trailhead parking lot, take the path towards String Lake and head north until you reach the Bearpaw Lake Trail. Take the right path to continue around String Lake and continue until you’re about 1.8 miles in. Here, visitors are rewarded with a small rocky beach and spectacular views of Mt. Moran, named for a famous artist who painted the Tetons. Seasoned hikers can continue another half-mile around the lake for a sandy beach spot with a triple mountain view.
2. Anywhere in Winter: Grand Teton National Park hit a record 4.8 million visitors in 2016 – and we’re guessing at least 75% of them visited the park in spring, summer or fall. That’s because temperatures in the Grand Tetons plummet below freezing by December, with a snow depth around 33 inches at the height of the winter season. The Visitors Center closes, and the park is open to guided over-snow travel only. Here’s the good news: Scenic Safaris offers half-day snowmobile and coach tours. Catch a ride with them and you’re likely to score stunning wildlife pics while seeing the park’s major landmarks blanketed in white.
3. Avalanche Canyon: The name alone scares travelers away from this glorious gorge, not to mention the mainly unmarked 11-mile trail you’ll have to hike to get to Avalanche Canyon. A former park ranger blogged about his experience with this “secret hike,” heavily suggesting that hikers not travel it alone. The path starts as a thin offshoot of the Taggart Lake Trail heading towards Bradley Lake. Stay on the north side of the canyon and you’ll be rewarded with amazing, picture-postcard views of a 200-foot waterfall and the cool blue water of Lake Taminah.
4. Surprise and Amphitheatre Lakes: One of park spokesperson Jackie Skaggs’ favorite off-the-beaten-path hikes, the 4.8-mile trail to Amphitheatre Lake is a great place for bird watching and wildlife spotting – though visitors will want to steer clear of the black bears often found here. This isn’t a hike for first-timers. The route includes a series of tough switchbacks and an elevation gain of nearly 3,000 feet, making it a great route for serious climbers who want to challenge their skills.
5. Hidden Falls: One of numerous waterfalls inside Grand Teton National Park, this 200-foot cascade is popular with tourists because of its height and scenic location. Despite the name, it’s not as secluded as you’d think. Hikers can start with a 2+ mile walk around Jenny Lake, or take a ferry across and start at the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. The falls is located on a short side trail that leads towards the canyon, where travelers will find a series of rocky steps covered in flowing water. The alpine scenery here is lovely, with towering evergreens shading the waterfall.
No matter where you visit inside Grand Teton National Park, the scenery is guaranteed to be spectacular. With 310,000 acres to explore and tons of hard-to-find trails, visiting on your own can be a daunting prospect. So, consider booking a tour to make the most of your time in the park. Contact us online or at 888-734-8898 for information on summer or winter tours in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.