A Hike to Avoid

Grand Teton National Park, I have a bone to pick with you (as my mother used to say when she was mad at me).

A few days ago the Good Hiker crew was looking for a nice short morning hike. Someone suggested we take a boat across Jenny Lake and hike up to Hidden Falls. Sounded lovely. We drove to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and bought our boat tickets. Had a beautiful ride across the lake and started up the trail to Hidden Falls. It was nice, but it was crowded. Really crowded.

By the time we got to the falls, the trail and the “viewing area” were overflowing with people: tourists throwing snowballs; people wearing sneakers slipsliding all over the snow; dorks harrassing the only wildlife in the area, a lonely marmot. Hiking back down the trail later, we had to stand on the side of the trail several times to allow throngs of people to pass. A peaceful mountain hike this was not. It was more like Disneyland.

I understand that national parks attract a lot of people. And certainly, we added to the mass of people. But can’t something be done to try to control the crowds on popular trails? A simple solution in this case would be to limit the number of boat trips across the lake. The boats ran several times an hour, and every trip disgorged a dozen or more people onto the trail.

We had a nice hike and lunch at the falls. And we saw a beautiful moose up close at the dock. But I wouldn’t go to that area again.

Next up, an area in Grand Teton National Park that does manage to limit visitors, making for a peaceful wilderness hike.

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4 Responses to A Hike to Avoid

  1. I had this on my list of hikes to do! Perhaps I might wait until the weather is bad. I’m sure the views will be stunning anytime of year.

  2. Pattie Logan says:

    I’ve been there in the fall. Absolutely glorious but for the occasional guy in a suit on the deck at the Jenny Lake Hotel. Republican convention! Quite a surprise.

  3. Tonia Sharp says:

    I’ve had great luck with this trail during off-peak times like mid-September. A great way to ditch the crowds is to continue inland after you reach Hidden Falls. It’s absolutely stunning. Disappointing to hear about the crowds, but again, absolutely stunning area and great, accessible day hike for all levels. :)

    • Cathy says:

      I’m glad to hear that, Tonia. It is a beautiful area. I think when we were there there was too much snow to go further on the trail. And it was mid-June. I heard they got 60 feet of snow this year, and normally get 30!

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