Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point

Hiking Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point

Among all the hiking we’ve done in the area, there’s one easy day hike that stands above the rest in Grand Teton National Park:  Inspiration Point.  This year more than 3 million people will visit Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  Many of those visitors look for day hiking trails that combine the best of the park.

Does it have stunning views?? √ Check.

Does it have a waterfall? √ Check.

Can the whole family tag along?? √ Check.

Wildlife watching and fresh mountain air??? √ Check and √ check.

Inspiration Point has all of these rolled up into a 2.2 mile easy to moderate out-and-back trip.    If you’re looking for your first day hiking experience in Grand Teton this is the place to start.

Grand Teton National Park: Jenny Lake
Grand Teton National Park: Jenny Lake

Planning your visit to Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point

The hike to Inspiration Point (7200 feet – 450 feet of elevation gain) leaves from the Jenny Lake Trailhead in the central portion of Grand Teton National Park.  Visitors should follow the main park road (Teton Park Road) to the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center.  Turn west off the Teton Park Road and park anywhere in the public parking space.  You may also drive further towards the boat landing area, however the parking becomes more congested.

Pick up your National Park Service passport stamp in the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center and then head to west to the Jenny Lake Trailhead signs.  Hikers have 2 options from here:  You can take the 12 minute boat shuttle across the lake to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead and hike to Inspiration Point from there. Or you can hike the Jenny Lake Trail around the western shore of the lake to the same trailhead. Park Chasers recommends hiking the lake trail on the way out and then taking the boat shuttle home when your legs are less fresh.

This map shows the boat launch route, the trailhead, and Inspiration Point:

Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point - map provided by NPS.gov
Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point – map provided by NPS.gov

 

Once you have reached the Cascade Canyon Trailhead on the western shore of Jenny Lake, begin your climb westward along the banks of Cascade Creek. Along the way you will meet the junction for Hidden Falls, one of the most well-photographed waterfalls in Grand Teton National Park.  Stop and view the falls on your way up, then return to the main trailhead for the 1.1 mile climb to Inspiration Point.

Grand Teton National Park: Hidden Falls
Grand Teton National Park: Hidden Falls

The trail will now begin the most strenuous stretch with roughly 400 feet of elevation gain.  Hikers should be advised that along the way up to Inspiration Point you will encounter a section of trail that hangs on a very steep ledge.  The rocks can be slippery in this section and the trail is narrow.  While it is safe for entry-level hikers and children, be cautious of footing in this area.

Grand Teton National Park: Hiking to Inspiration Point
Grand Teton National Park: Hiking to Inspiration Point

Travel Notes

  • There is a fee to ride the Jenny Lake boat shuttle.  Be sure to check the schedule and purchase your boat tickets before you leave on the hike. There’s nothing worse that expecting a lift home only to find the shuttle has just departed on the last route of the day.
  • While on Inspiration Point, you can look out on Jenny Lake but also look back up towards “The Cathedral Group” of the Teton Range.  The 12,325-foot Teewinot Mountain, 13,770-foot Grand Teton and 12,928-foot Mt. Owen can all be seen from this vantage point.
Grand Teton National Park: Inspiration Point
The Cathedral Group
  • The Jenny Lake Trailhead is one of the most popular in the park.  Plan ahead and hike in the early morning and late afternoon to avoid crowds.
  • Small critters at Inspiration Point can be aggressive in their search for food.  Keep an eye on backpacks and snacks while you are taking in the views of Jenny Lake.
  • For more info on this hike and others in Grand Teton National Park, check out these resources:


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