The Cascade Canyon Download

Highlights: Diversity of landscapes, those incredible Teton peaks, abundant wildlife.

Travel Time (from Urban Centers to Park/Trailhead): From 30-45 minutes from Jackson, Wy.

Nearby Supplies and Gas: Moose (13 miles south, by south entrance).

Difficulty: There is some climbing, but it’s spaced and never overwhelming.

Distance: 6.4 miles.

Entrance Fees: $30 for vehicle, $25 for motorcycles, $15 for individuals, plus various annual passes.

Top Elevation: 7,457 feet.

Elevation Gain: 1,037 feet.

Trailhead Waypoint: 48.30.908, -120.44.157

Getting There: Drive 14 miles north of Jackson on Highway 89 to Moose Junction. Turn left (west) and drive 11 miles to the North Jenny Lake Junction and turn left (west). Drive 2.5 miles to the String Lake picnic area. The parking lots can get overflowing, especially later in the day.

I asked around for a day hike that would provide a good selection of the many fruits that Grand Teton National Park offers. The consensus was to head up to Cascade Canyon. This also appears to be one of the most – if not the most – popular hikes the park has to offer.

I have a few caveats to introduce off the bat:

* This hike normally includes a jaunt to Inspiration Point, which I skipped, partly because it was early afternoon in the fall and I wanted to return before evening set in the fall. Also, I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so an expansive view of the lake didn’t interest me greatly.

* This hike could include a stop at Hidden Falls, which I really wanted to see. However, that trail was closed for repairs.

* This hike generally is begun from the Jenny Lake trailhead, and one could shave two miles by taking the ferry across the lake, but that ferry was closed for the season when I was there. A ranger I met also suggested taking the route that started at String Lake. I enjoyed the hike along Jenny Lake from the String Lake trailhead. Just saying’.

* You will see plenty of signs warning you about bear activity. Take those seriously. You can buy bear spray in Jackson; even though you will have to leave it behind, consider it a $55 insurance policy. However … even in the fall, the trail was pretty full. I think in the middle of the day, there are enough people around – but still take precautions.

There is good reason why this is such a popular hike. You get various angles at those mesmerizing Teton peaks, about half the hike along a peaceful lake, moving water, numerous beautiful vistas and plenty wildlife.

During my hike I spied two bull moose, the only time I saw males, though they were too obscured by brush and trees to photograph. I really went to the canyon to photograph American pika, which I found. I also encountered chipmunks, marmots and raptors.

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