Jenny Lake to Cascade Canyon
Key information: Jenny Lake to Cascade Canyon
- The most popular area in Grand Teton National Park, short hikes around Jenny Lake are a must for visitors who don't have the time or the ability for a longer trek.
- From pleasant excursions to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, reached by a brief climb from the boat dock on Jenny Lake's west side, to lengthier hikes into the lush Cascade Canyon itself, beautiful walking abounds.
- Many visitors to the park come to this area, and the short walk to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point is particularly popular: be prepared for crowds and try to set off very early in the morning!
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest17
- Human interest0
- Negative points2
- Total rating85
- Note: Neg: popularity
- Length: Day or less
- Maximum Altitude: 2,194m
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The Jenny Lake area is one of the most popular in the Grand Teton NP, and this trail one of the most walked. The lake itself is distinctively "Teton"; snow-capped mountains behind reflected in still waters, whilst in the foreground fir and pine crowd its shores. Within an easy walk are the Glacier landmarks of Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, both well worth seeing if you're in the area, even despite the crowds.
For those seeking a little more solitude, continue along the trail to the lush, airy Cascade Canyon. Pikas and marmots live in the boulder fields along the trail, and moose can sometimes be seen wandering through the willows around Cascade Creek. This tumbling river, with its charming attendant waterfalls, flows over terrain once carved out by glaciers, and the scenery has both glacial drama and a certain timeless alpine beauty.
Most hikers begin from the east shore of Jenny Lake, where Jenny Lake Visitor Centre/Ranger Station has all the latest information on trails in the area. From here it is possible to get ranger guided trips to Hidden Falls and beyond, but the excellent maps and guides to the park make this unnecessary for most.
A 6km hike around its southern shores or, for the more pragmatic, a short boat trip, will bring you to the western dock. From here, a short uphill walk in shady forest leads to Hidden Falls which, although often fairly busy, are spectacular. Not much further on lies Inspiration Point; look back here for glorious views of Jenny Lake, and in the distance Jackson Hole and the Wind River Mountains.
Most visitors turn back here, so you don't have to travel far into Cascade Canyon to escape the crowds. There is an initial steep climb, which becomes a more gradual ascent: follow this trail all the way to where it divides into a north and south fork (one leading to Hurricane Pass, the other towards Lake Solitude and the Paintbrush Divide) and you will be treated to view after spectacular view.
If you are intending to get the boat back across Jenny Lake, check boat times before you start to make sure you don't miss the last one.
For a much harder, and truly spectacular, long day hike in this area, see Paintbrush Divide and Cascade Canyon Loop. For longer walks: this is the first section of the multi-day Grand Teton Loop; further, the Teton Crest Trail passes the end of Cascade Canyon, on its way between Hurricane Pass and Lake Solitude.
See our Grand Teton NP page for more, including detailed practical information.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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