After two weeks of traveling out west, I am home and ready to blog again! I will try not to inundate you with posts in the coming days, but I have a lot of catching up to do.
John and I visited an array of national, state, and local parks during our trip, and we hiked on a number of trails. It was our first park and trail, however, that remained our favorite over the course of our vacation: the Jenny Lake Loop trail in Grand Teton National Park.
It was in the 40s and a blanket of fog was lifting when we set out early on the Jenny Lake Loop. We parked at South Jenny Lake Junction and began our hike at the Jenny Lake Trailhead. We walked counterclockwise around the lake.
We quickly arrived at the shoreline and caught our first glimpse of Jenny Lake. The water was clear enough that we could see the rocks and sand below the water.
The trail then moved slightly away from the lake, giving us more shade thanks to the surrounding pine trees. I loved hiking amongst the big rocks and trees! It was a welcome change to the dry, short brush that we’re used to hiking amidst in Texas.
As we rounded the northern side of the lake, we looked back to view the 3 miles of shoreline that we’d already traversed.
Next, we headed due north for a short stretch in order to reach a bridge over the rapid waters that feed into Jenny Lake from String Lake. The sound of rushing water was an added bonus to this section of our hike.
As we headed back down south toward Jenny Lake, we enjoyed having the majestic, snow-capped Teton mountains in direct view.
We also got a better look at the water feeding into Jenny Lake.
About 15 years ago, a fire burned away many of the towering trees from the northwest portion of the lake. Suddenly we were warm without our shade!
We gradually climbed uphill, eventually exchanging the bright sunshine for the cover of tall pines.
After 1.4 miles, we headed away from the lake yet again. This time, our diversion took us toward Hidden Falls. On the way, we witnessed the powerful stream that barrels down the mountainside below the falls.
The short-but-steep hike uphill to Hidden Falls was more than worth the effort. The falls did not disappoint.
After bidding Hidden Falls goodbye, it was time to complete the trail loop. We had planned to take the lower (and easier) route back to the Jenny Lake Trailhead, but it was closed for repairs. Instead, we took the higher, more moderate trail around the southwest stretch of the lake. We had already hiked more than 5 miles at this point, and we were getting somewhat tired – and hungry. We ate through the few snacks I had packed and soldiered on.
We paused at a scenic overlook long enough to take a few snapshots of some fellow hikers and for them to take a couple of us in return.
The higher elevation along this section of the trail afforded many picturesque views of Jenny Lake.
As we neared the trailhead, we paused for one final shot of the lake.
Our 8-mile hike around Jenny Lake allowed us to view it–and the Tetons–from a number of vantage points, each of them beautiful. We could not have asked for a prettier place to take a hike! It was for this reason that the Jenny Lake Loop remained with us as our favorite hiking trail for the duration of our trip.