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Hiking at Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, and Inspiration Point in the Grand Tetons National Park

Wyoming is a spectacularly beautiful state filled to the brim with eye-catching splendor. See some of the images I captured here.

Beautiful Jenny Lake

Beautiful Jenny Lake

Grand Tetons National Park

During our two-week vacation, while staying in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we took a tour that introduced us to Jenny Lake. From there, we would also discover Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

My mother, niece, and I generally like to take tours when new to an area because we learn so much from the guides, and then, if we have extra time, we can always go back to places where we might wish to spend some additional time. When we first saw Jenny Lake on tour, we knew that we wanted to see more of it.

These first three photos are from that one day Grand Tetons tour. The rest that follows is from our going back and spending much of a full day there.

Lakes in the Grand Tetons

About 10,000+ years ago, Jenny Lake, and the other lakes, were created after glacial action scoured this locale leaving the valley surrounded by mountains. Jenny Lake is about one and a half miles long and about one mile wide. Its depth is approximately 236 feet. Trout live in this lake. The lake was named for the wife of an early homesteader by the name of Beaver Dick Leigh.

In this national park, the other lakes are Taggart and Phelps lakes to the south and Leigh and Jackson lakes to the north. Jackson Lake is by far the largest lake.

Taking a boat ride across Jenny Lake, we ultimately saw the lake at ground level and a much higher elevation looking back down upon it.

People need to treat all water in the area as if it is contaminated. Most of the liquid has the contaminants Giardia and Campylobacter from wildlife wastes and human activity in the area. Heeding this advice, we carried our water and snacks for the day.

Hiking up to Hidden Falls

After disembarking the boat, a hike that would take us up to Hidden Falls began. The craft would come back and be available to us on a regularly established schedule so that everyone could determine their own pace and take their time to enjoy this unspoiled beauty of nature that gradually unfolded with every step that we made.

Any group of people quickly becomes widely scattered except for several gathering points of interest. One can take the time to sit on a rock or fallen trunk of a tree and breathe in this wilderness beauty and savor it for a while. Most of the time, the three of us were alone on the path.

The entire hike to the falls was alongside the river. We thoroughly enjoyed each twist of the path and each discovery as it appeared to our eyes and ears. The course was natural—sometimes smooth and often rocky. One has to be in reasonably good shape to undertake this hike. Because this is in its natural state, there is no such thing as wheelchair access. So while limited to some, the pristine beauty remains pretty much as it occurred over time.

We saw many little chipmunks and ground squirrels along the trail. While similar in appearance, one can determine the difference between them because of a streak that continues alongside the chipmunk's face. In the case of the ground squirrel, the stripe ends at the back of the shoulder. They are cute little guys to watch as they scamper over rocks and munch on nuts.

Other wildlife found in this canyon includes the yellow-bellied marmots and the pika. The larger animals that are further up the canyon include the moose, mountain sheep, and the occasional black bear. Many birds call this location home. Included among them are hawks, eagles, western tanagers, and the American dipper bird.

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One sees Douglas fir trees in abundance. The air is fragrant and sweet. One should take time to savor the sights, sounds, and fragrances of this forested area to discover small things and significant ones.

Like all such nature preserves, one should haul out what one brings into this environment. No littering is allowed.

Hidden Falls

We could hear the falls as we approached the sight before seeing it. It is a gathering spot for people along the trail. Technically, Hidden Falls is not a waterfall at all. It is a cascade. A waterfall has to fall freely while a cascade tumbles over rocks as this one does.

Hidden Falls tumbles over rocks for about 200 feet before reaching the riverbed below. Most of it comes from melting snow. As the summer progresses, the falls diminish in volume over time. The name "hidden" came about because the only way to see it is by walking and hiking the trail. Views of it from the highway are not available.

Inspiration Point

The hike up to Inspiration Point would become more complicated and strenuous. My niece and I decided to undertake that, and we joined others who wanted to look down upon Jenny Lake and the valley containing Jackson Hole from that perspective. It was very rocky and, at times, a challenging chore to keep going, mainly because of those higher elevations. Just about the entire trail is above 7,000 feet.

Protected within the park are all-natural features such as the rocks and all vegetation. Photography is allowed, but items are not to be disturbed. No pets are allowed to be on the trails or backcountry in the park.

We saw several types of blooming wildflowers. Some of the wildflowers known to be in the park include wild columbines, Indian paintbrush, silky phacelia, glacier lilies, and many others. The trees vary from the Douglas Fir to a Subalpine Fir, Lodgepole pine, and Engelmann Spruce. There are some trees in this area reputed to be over 400 years old.

Gazing across Jenny Lake with the Grand Tetons to one's back, one can see the other mountains surrounding the valley and Jackson Hole.

One can continue hiking beyond Inspiration Point. We chose not to do that as my mother was waiting for us below, and we had quite a hike to get back down to the lake and catch our boat ride again across it. The trail leads for another six miles through Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude for those who have more time.

Off in the distance, we saw some people who were mountain climbing. Anyone going further than Inspiration Point has to register with the park rangers, and they keep track of just how many people are out there on those trails at any point in time.

This adventure took up one precious day of our time on this vacation trip, but it was well worth it. We communed with nature, enjoyed the fresh mountain air, and got some healthy exercise.


In July of 2018, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point was closed to the public because of a 100-foot long fissure recently discovered. Scientists monitor the site to determine if tourists can once again safely have access to these beautiful areas within the Grand Tetons.

After a month of assessment, the government reopened Hidden Falls and the Lower Inspiration Point back up to the public. The higher Inspiration Point would be closed for trail restoration lasting about a year. Some of the rock climbing areas would remain closed and be under further assessment by the park staff.

“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”

— John Muir


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 01, 2020:

Hi Cheryl,

I hope that you get a chance to visit this area someday. It is breathtakingly beautiful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 01, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

Thanks for all the shares of this article. I hope someday you will be able to visit the Tetons and see these glorious places for yourself.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 30, 2020:

This is a wonderful article. There are two hidden water falls in the area that I never knew about until now. You make me want to go there one day,

C E Clark from North Texas on September 30, 2020:

Had always hoped to see Grand Teton National Park. While I've driven through Wyoming several times, I've never stopped to explore. Your photos are glorious and I think it's fantastic that you have been able to explore so many places and are sharing your superb photos with everyone.

Posting this article to AH and FB. I've already posted it on 2 of my own boards a while ago.

Hope all is well with you and that you will continue to stay safe. Hopefully someone new will take charge of this pandemic soon and finally get it under control . . .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 30, 2020:

Hi Sarah,

It was such a fantastic vacation with breathtaking scenery. I will never forget it. Thanks for your comment.

Sarah on September 30, 2020:

So beautiful and majestic. That had to be a marvelous vacation experience.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 26, 2020:

Hi Devika,

My mother, niece, and I once spent two weeks of vacation in the Grand Teton National Park. A couple of those days we ventured north into Yellowstone National Park. That area of our country has glorious scenery! I am pleased to be able to show you what took up a large portion of one day in this very scenic area.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 26, 2020:

Jenny Lake is new to me have not been in that part of the world. A place that has beauty and in its own form is one the attractive places I have seen here. The scenery is amazing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

This is such a gorgeous area in the Grand Teton National Park. I appreciate your sharing this again so that more people can learn of it.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 24, 2014:

Beautiful photos! Already pinned to my 'Travel' board and now I've pinned it to my 'Pink II' board and shared on FB. Also sharing again with HP followers!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 24, 2013:

Hi Margaret,

I would also love to return someday with my husband so that he could also enjoy this superb scenery. It is such a relaxing place with nature at its best. So nice that you have had this experience. Thanks for the votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 24, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

There is much more of Wyoming that I would enjoy seeing someday and would heartily recommend this state if for nothing else than sheer beauty. It has spectacular scenery! Hope you get there someday. Thanks for the votes, share and pin.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on July 22, 2013:

This wonderful hub brought back memories of my trip to the Grand Tetons that we took about eight years ago. We rented a boat and took a ride across the lake. We also did the hike up to the falls. I would love to return some day. Voting this up, interesting useful and beautiful.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 21, 2013:

This is indeed another exceptional article packed with information and gorgeous photos! My #2 and I planned to visit Wyoming several times, but just never got there for some reason. We drove through WY on the east side between other destinations, but never stopped.

Voted up, beautiful, awesome, interesting, useful, shared, and pinned.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 20, 2012:

Hi sgbrown,

Thanks for your comment and votes. Hope that you do get to see this gorgeous area in the Grand Tetons National Park for yourself someday. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 20, 2012:

Hi Leah,

We also took a rafting trip on the Snake River and I showed that in another hub. What fun! Am so glad we spent all but 2 days of our 2 week vacation in the Grand Tetons...the other 2 days in adjacent Yellowstone. Like you, I would love to go back someday. Such beauty and majesty in those areas! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 20, 2012:

Hi AliciaC,

I know...what could be better than this type of scenery! Appreciate your comment and nice to know that you enjoyed your virtual visit to Jenny Lake and its surroundings.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 20, 2012:

Hi bdegiulio,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed these many photos of our experience on the beautiful Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons National Park. I purposedly split the Tetons into several hubs so that it would not be too long a read. Please enjoy the others if you are interested in this part of the country. Appreciate your comment.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 20, 2012:

This is a wonderful hub! Your pictures are awesome and the narrative was very interesting. I would love to see it in person some day. Thank you for sharing your trip with us! Voted up and awesome! Have a beautiful day! :)

Leah Lefler from Western New York on June 20, 2012:

Oh, Peggy - I love living vicariously through your travels. I absolutely love that area of the country - but I've only been near the Tetons once. I am desperate to go again, because the scenery is so dramatic and beautiful! I have never been to Jenny Lake, but we did raft on the Snake River. Gorgeous hub!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2012:

Mountains, trees, a lake and a river - what a wonderful combination! Jenny Lake looks like a beautiful place to visit. As always, your photos, videos and description combine to make a very enjoyable hub, Peggy.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on June 20, 2012:

Hi Peggy. This got published long before I discovered HubPages but I'm glad it's being shared now. What a beautiful depiction of Jenny Lake and the Tetons. The photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2011:

Hi Sam,

We spent the majority of an entire vacation trip in the Grand Tetons National Park with only 2 days of it visiting Yellowstone...just the opposite of what many people do. Jenny Lake and the other areas in the Tetons are so beautiful. Thanks for taking a look & leaving a comment.

Sam on October 22, 2011:

Love your Teton photos. A very nice in depth look at Grand Teton National Park you've created here. My recent post has some moose photos but we didn't do as in depth an exploration as you obviously did

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2011:

Hello atomicpaulsen,

Idaho does border the Tetons and as a matter of fact because of fires in Yellowstone closing the south entrance the year we were there, we had to drive through a portion of Idaho and enter Yellowstone from the west entrance. That part of Idaho was nothing but rolling potato fields so I really cannot comment on seeing much more of Idaho. So yes to your question as to seeing the beauty of the Grand Tetons from the Wyoming side. Most all of our vacation except for 2 days in Yellowstone was spent in the Tetons. My other hubs address more of it. Thanks for your comment.

atomicpaulsen from Orem, UT on September 11, 2011:

jenny lake looks like paradise. amazing collection of pictures. I'm trying to decide where to go next, this is definitely tempting me. Do the grand tetons also overlap into Idaho? Would you say the Wyoming side is more beautiful?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 23, 2011:

Hi jaclin,

Thank you so much! By all of your comments on some of the same places we visited, like Jenny Lake in Wyoming, you are taking me back in memory of the wonderful time that we had exploring much of the Grand Tetons National Park.

That was some picnic you shared! With the spectacular beauty of Jenny Lake and those mountains, I can see why it rates at the top of your picnic list! :-)

Dornans...quite a place! The size of those sandwiches...!

jaclin on February 23, 2011:

On one of our days in this area we visited Dornans in Moose (which you reference in one of your other hubs) and stopped at the deli where we too purchased some serious rolls and various goodies for a picnic... then we stopped at Jenny lake where we hired a canoe and ventured out onto the lake... we tied ourselves to one of the many tree trunks that was jutting out of the water and we enjoyed the most amazing picnic lunch - it is on the top of our list of best picnics in the world... i do love the way that you write - it really takes me back to that moment in time that we were actually there... thank you once again...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2010:

Hello stephhicks68,

So glad that you liked this hub about Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. The Tetons are incredible! So much beauty! We spent 2 weeks there one summer with only 2 of those days spent in Yellowstone. Did the exact opposite of most people. If I could, I would spend even more time there! Yes...this darn hub writing gets in the way of traveling. Haha! Thanks!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on September 23, 2010:

wowowow! How did I miss this hub? Incredibly beautiful! If I didn't have a family to raise (and hubs to write), I would travel through all the beautiful parks and hike to the lovely lakes in this region of the country. Love all the magnificent photographs. Simply breathtaking!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2010:

Hi Kaie Arwen,

Hope you make it back to the Grand Tetons National Park and Jenny Lake as well as others in the area. Wyoming is a fabulous State as well you know traveling through some of it. Thanks for the comment.

Kaie Arwen on September 17, 2010:

Breathtaking........... I traveled through Wyoming this past spring, but I didn't make it to the national park die to limited time and the fact that my son was waiting on the destination side of the journey. Thanks for this............ I need to go back! Kaie

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 18, 2010:

Hi billyaustindillon,

Oh yes! The Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming is a treasure trove of wonderful spots for those who like to hike and enjoy gorgeous scenery. We loved going back to Jenny Lake after a tour and exploring it some more. Most people zip through the Tetons on their way to Yellowstone and we did the opposite spending more time in the Tetons than the latter. Have you visited either place?

billyaustindillon on July 18, 2010:

Peggy you present another grand hiking trip this looks wonderful - there is so much to see out there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 27, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

As a "lover of life" I truly hope you get to see Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons National Park someday. You will LOVE pun intended...well...just maybe a little. LOL Most people skip on by the Tetons on their way to Yellowstone National Park, and while that park is certainly worth are the Tetons! Thanks for the comment.

loveroflife on October 27, 2009:

These pictures really make me want to visit the Grand Tetons National Park. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2009:

Hi myownworld,

So happy that you enjoyed this photographic tour of Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons National Park. It is such a beautiful place! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

myownworld from uk on October 12, 2009:

just reading this and seeing the pics, I feel refreshed! a pleasure to read...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 29, 2009:

I agree, Camping Dan, the Tetons are beautiful! So glad that we got to spend as much time there as we were able to do. Most people breeze on by when going to Yellowstone and miss seeing what they have to offer. Thanks for the comment.

Camping Dan on June 29, 2009:

Those are some beautiful pics! I was able to see the Tetons about 10 years ago and loved them. I just have not been able to get back to them again like I had planned.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2009:

It truly is beautiful and peaceful, Ethel. Thanks for the comment.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 30, 2009:

Peaceful and full of awesome photos. Looks idyllic.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 29, 2009:

Hello kerryg,

So happy that this kindled some good memories for you. It is truly such a beautiful area of the country. Thanks for your comments.

kerryg from USA on March 29, 2009:

This brings back some wonderful memories! Last time we were in the area we did the Cascade Canyon trail past Hidden Falls - such a stunning hike!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2009:

Thanks Lupo! I looked up the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness and learned that it is the 3rd largest wilderness area in the lower 48 of the United States.....between Idaho and Montana. Most of the area is in Idaho. Many lakes within its boundaries. You were indeed fortunate to have experienced this! Thanks for educating me about it with your comment on my Jenny Lake hub.

Lupo from Boston Area on February 28, 2009:

Very lovely hub about this place. I have been fortunate enough to have visited numerous lakes like this in the Selway Bitterroot Mountains and there was no one at all around. This place seems nice though and it seems to have some areas that anyone can get to while others take a little more work. I like the fact that there is access for everyone to be able to see something like this, even if it does make it less secluded of a spot.

Thanks for sharing the photos and your experiences there.

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