“An iconic National Park route slotted in arguably one of the most beautiful canyons in the country.
— Tom Robson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This iconic National Park route is slotted in arguably one of the most beautiful canyons in the country. Flanked by Teewinot Mountain and Mount Owen to the south, and "The Jaw" and Rock of Ages to the north, this run hits all the high points. Whatever you're looking for from Grand Teton National Park, this route has it.
Need to Know
You've got a few options from the Jenny Lake
trailhead for this run:
Either way, the views of Tetons are incredible.
From the ferry drop-off, take Jenny Lake
Trail south, avoiding Hidden Falls Horse Trail
, across Cascade Creek to Cascade Canyon Trail
. From the Jenny Lake
trailhead take the Jenny Lake
Trail either direction to Cascade Canyon Trail
. Cascade Canyon Trail
ascends very steeply heading west towards Lake Solitude
. Prior to the trail turning north, enjoy the gorgeous views of Hidden Falls
, an approximately 100' waterfall.
After the falls, the trail heads straight up, and ascends multiple switchbacks until you reach Inspiration Point
- providing exquisite views of Jenny Lake
and the surrounding Tetons. This is good turn-around point if you want a shorter run. From Inspiration Point
, the trail becomes very mellow, and works its way west through deep woods. Be on the lookout for evidence of this Canyon's glacial past in the form of glacial erratics, hanging cirques, and its U-shape.
Eventually, after some mellow climbing and increasingly beautiful views, Cascade Canyon Trail
will hit a fork. This is another good place to turn around if you want to shorten the run.
For Lake Solitude
, turn right to start up North Fork Cascade Canyon
. The first half of this trail, all the way to Lake Solitude
, is quite easy. It features low angle, very straightforward running, except for a few spots where you'll be crossing large talus fields. Finally, after dipping in and out of the woods multiple times, the terrain will open-up to views across Lake Solitude
From Lake Solitude
there are sweeping views of the Cathedral Group - Teewinot Mountain (12,330'), Mount Owen (12,928'), and Grand Teton (13,775'). Be sure to enjoy a snack along with the views at the end of North Fork Cascade Canyon Spur
. For those looking to get that "perfect" photograph of the aforementioned mountains, you may need to run further on North Fork Cascade Canyon
to the end of Lake Solitude Trail
Flora & Fauna
Between the crags of the Tetons, ice age glaciers carved deep canyons. Today, the canyons contain dense coniferous forests and open meadows of wildflowers. As elevation increases, wildflowers abound while trees become stunted and eventually shrub-like.â€œKrummholzâ€ (German for â€œcrookedwoodâ€) plants are dwarfed forms that are treelike at lower elevations.
From treeline to valley floor, forests provide cover and food for many mammal species. Look for elk, mule deer, martens, red squirrels, black bears and snowshoe hares. Moose are a common sighting near the creeks that line these beautiful canyons.