Teton Summer: Searching for Solitude
This summer has been a whirlwind. I spent 30 days on the road traveling across the Western United States and am finally getting my bearings to write some new posts about my adventures. This has been the second year in a row I’ve visited Teton during the summer, so I feel well equipped to give some good advice on visiting the Tetons. I have decided to outline some of my favorite hikes and tips for making the most out of a trip to Grand Teton.
I will post the hikes in a series, but each post will cover one of my favorite hikes! This is Part One: Lake Solitude
Below is a list of what I consider the essentials for any trip to Grand Teton. Of course, there are always more things or gear you could bring, but I’ve decided to include what I consider the must-haves:
insect repellent (Picardin or Deet)
long pants and shorts
both long and short sleeve shirts
reliable hiking shoes, I personally love Oboz boots
emergency first aid kit
pack with a hydration bladder
But, will I see animals?
You will see a TON of wildlife at Grand Teton. My first day on the trails I ran into a huge grizzly bear, a black bear, and saw a moose. It’s imperative that you’re prepared to see wildlife and also have your bear spray handy.
Please remember, don’t feed the animals! That means marmots, deer, squirrels, bears, ANY animals. It’s extremely harmful to them and teaches them to associate humans with food. For bears, this could cost them their life.
To The Trails!
There are a ton of trails at Teton, and quite frankly most of them are pretty strenuous. But, while they may take some effort, they are well worth the trek! This post will cover a hike I consider a must-do when visiting Teton.
If you only have time for one hike, I strongly recommend Lake Solitude.
Lake Solitude is a gorgeous hike through the heart of Grand Teton. Departing from the Jenny Lake area, you get to see Jenny Lake, hike up through Cascade Canyon, and get some amazing views of the Grand Teton.
We hiked Solitude in early July. It was pretty warm out and I actually was able to wear shorts. I highly recommend starting early around 7:00 a.m. so you have a ton of time to explore around the lake. The mosquitoes and flies are pretty persistent during the early parts of summer through July so you’ll want to make sure you’re well stocked up on bug spray. The hike from Cascade Canyon to Solitude is also pretty exposed so sunscreen will be imperative.
There are two ways to start the hike: you can either hike around Jenny Lake, or take the boat across the lake. Hiking around the lake adds an additional ~3 miles, so I’d probably recommend using the boat to get across. Plus, it’s fun to ride the boat across the lake and get an awesome view of the Tetons during the ride!
After you’re across the lake, you’ll head up the trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Make sure to check out Hidden Falls!
Once you start hiking up the canyon you’ll be mostly in woods under the tree canopy and you will follow the creek. It is an easy hike up Cascade Canyon. At the junction approximately 4.5 miles in, you’ll take a right and continue up the canyon. At this point it will start to get steeper as you hike up to Solitude.
The trail will really start to open up and you’ll see views like the above photo. Make sure to have your camera handy!
Once you arrive to Lake Solitude you’ll really see the valley open up. There’s an awesome rock spot that gives you 360 degree views of the lake. I recommend stopping here for a snack.
The water is a magnificent shade of blue and is definitely enticing to jump in!
Keep an eye out in the trees around the lake, there are tons of bald eagles in this area and if you’re lucky you might spot one!
I recommend spending an hour or two at the lake to hang out! There are some trees to hang a hammock up on, so if you get there early enough you can snag a hammock spot!
Make sure to stay off the meadows and stay on the rocks or trails in order to preserve fragile meadow vegetation. During early summer there are copious amounts of wildflowers! Please don’t pick them or lay in them, take as many photos as you want, but make sure to not disturb these fragile flowers.
Once you’re ready to head down, make sure to pack out all your trash and leave no trace!
The hike down is a breeze and you’re afforded gorgeous views the whole way. Catch the boat back across the lake and consider it a day well spent!
Length: 13.7 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2,375 feet
Access the hike on AllTrails here.
As always, any questions, drop a comment below or send me a quick message. Happy Trails!