Home | Mountains | Trails | Metro | Gear | Skills

Jenny Lake Trail, page 2 - Grand Teton
National Park

View of Jenny Lake from the trail in the Alder Fire burn area

Jenny Lake, photo taken from Northwest section of trail

Route Notes

The developed area of Jenny Lake, 'the Village,' has parking, restrooms, water, a general store, Visitor Center, Ranger Station, and Exum Guides (close by).

There are no other facilities near the trail.

The parking area fills by late morning (at least). If you arrive early, parking is no problem.

If you have questions about the Park, ask at the Visitor Center. They are very helpful.

Deer on the Jenny Lake Trail

Deer along Jenny Lake Trail

We have seen wildlife a plenty on the trail. We have seen black bear, moose, deer, marmot, gray fox, and pine marten on the trail.

On an early morning hike to Hanging Canyon, we had a moose in front of us and deer behind us as we followed the Jenny Lake Trail. The moose and deer were very close to us.

The western sections of the trail are well used.

The views from the trail are great. Some of our favorite views are from the Alder Burn site and the east side of the lake.


The West Boat Dock on a smooth Jenny Lake

West Boat Dock on Jenny Lake

Many folks ride the boat shuttle across the lake. It is roughly a two mile hike to the start of the Cascade Canyon Trail and the trail is not difficult for a seasoned hiker.

We have ridden the boat a few times, but have walked the trail many times.

When it rains, suddenly everyone who took a boat across the lake wants to return at the same time. Twice we have had tickets, but chose to walk back rather than stand around in the rain and wait for a ride. The shuttle employees were doing all they could to help speed things up, it is just the nature of the business.

If going to the mountains, we generally start earlier than the shuttle runs.

The hour-ish walk gives us a chance to wake up while walking; if they just had coffee stands along the way (ha!).

Trail crew moving big rocks

Trail crew working on Jenny Lake Trail

The Jenny Lake area is in the middle of a renovation plan for the trails and facilities. Changes are designed to improve the wilderness experience. The renovations might change some of the trails and at times even close some, but the Park is great at offering signage and alternatives.

A shorter day hike is Moose Pond Trail. Follow the Jenny Lake Trail for 0.80 mile and then start Moose Pond. The trail goes around a couple of ponds. We have never seen a Moose at the ponds, but it seems like a great place for moose to hang out. Maybe, you will be luckier than we have been.

At .95 mile the Jenny Lake Trail reaches the Hidden Falls Horse Trail. In 2013 the Jenny Lake Trail was closed at this point and hikers were rerouted to the Hidden Falls Horse Trail. We thought the horse trail was a bit harder than the section of trail along Jenny Lake.

There is a couple of good view points along the Hidden Falls Horse Trail. One lookout is comparable to Inspiration Point, but without the crowds.

Hidden Falls is better than expected, every time we visit.

The view from Inspiration Point in the morning

Inspiration Point View

The hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point are great in the early morning when you can pretty much have the place to yourself. In prime time, the crowds are (which anyone hiking at that time add to the numbers including you and me) at times can be overwhelming.

Many folks have trouble with the trail surface climbing to (and descending from) Inspiration Point. The trail is rocky and uneven.

The trail curving below Inspiration Point

Cascade Canyon Trail below Inspiration Point

0.30 mile beyond Inspiration Point, a Horse Trail joins the Cascade Canyon Trail.

The shortest hike to Cascade Canyon is from South String Lake Trailhead, travel southwest on the Jenny Lake Trail to the Horse Trail which bypasses Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point (2.15 miles.)

The non-maintained, unmarked, Hanging Canyon Trail is located at a small junction with the Jenny Lake Trail, 0.25 mile north of the junction with the Boat Dock Trail. It is obvious, if you know where to look. If you start climbing to the shoulder, you missed it.

Shuttle Boat approaching the West Dock on Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake from Hanging Canyon

Due to the lack of trees in the Alder Fire burn, the area is exposed to the sun, but it also has great views.

At the junction with the String Lake Loop Trail, it is but 1.30 miles to the start of the Holly Lake Trail and 0.25 to the South String Lake Trailhead (for a total of 1.55 miles from the South String Lake Trailhead to Holly Lake Trail.)

South String Lake Trailhead has parking only. Restrooms and water are at the String Lake Picnic Area/Leigh Lake Trailhead about a half of a mile away.

The eastern section of the Jenny Lake Trail is not as exciting as the western side, but the trail along the east side does have good views of the mountains and lake.

The Jenny Lake Loop Road is designated one-way and has a bicycle lane.

It amazed us how may visitors were stopped at the Jenny Lake Overlook. If a tour bus is stopped, it is even difficult to pass through the cameras.

At the Jenny Lake Overlook pass just below the parked cars. The trail does not go down to the lake's edge. When the Overlook is crowded the correct route is difficult to follow.

The Jenny Lake Loop Road is close to the Jenny Lake Trail for about a half of a mile. Where the road curves away from the trail, another paved road appears. This is the old Jenny Lake Road. The road is open to bicycles and foot travel. The Jenny Lake Trail is more interesting (better views) than the old roadway.

When the trail ends at the paved path(s), to reach the trailhead continue along the shore. The store, restrooms, etc are to the left (east).

At the junction with the paved path, turn back to the left and in a short distance, the other end of the old Jenny Lake roadway is on the left. Just beyond the old roadway are the Jenny Lake Campground Walk-in sites. These sites are ideal for bicycling tours and thru-hikes. The sites are fee based.

Jenny Lake Ranger Station

Jenny Lake Ranger Station

The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is staffed by Rangers who actually walk the trails and climb the mountains.

For Mountain Data and Route Guide
go to Page 1

Jenny Lake Trail Mileage

0.00 Jenny Lake Trailhead

0.80 Moose Pond Tr Jct

2.10 Cascade Canyon Tr Jct

2.40 2nd Boat Dock Tr Jct (Bypass Tr)

3.80 String Lake Loop Tr Jct

4.05 String Lake Trailhead

5.80 Jenny Lake Overlook

7.10 Return to Jenny Lake Trailhead

Hidden Falls - Inspiration Point Trail Mileage

0.00 West Jenny Lake Boat Dock

0.20 Boat Dock Bypass Tr to Cascade Canyon Tr Jct

0.30 Cross Bridge to 2nd Cascade Canyon Tr

0.55 The two Cascade Canyon Trails Join

0.60 Hidden Falls Side Trail

1.00 Inspiration Point (trail climbs over 300’ from bridge)

Map Link

The link opens in a new window.

Paintbrush Divide Loop Trail - pdf (Jenny Lake Trail is included on this map)


Insert your comments, suggestions, or corrections

Author Name(required):


Please Introduce Secure Code: