The Beauty of Jenny Lake

Nestled right at the feet of the Grand Tetons is a glacier lake that provides the most magnificent reflections of the majestic mountains. We had visited once before, a few years ago on a trip out to Jackson, WY, but this time we hiked part of the Jenny Lake Trail loop, and were greeted with some of the most breathtaking scenery one can imagine.

At the visitors center while we waited for the rest of our hiking party to join us, we checked out the exhibits and learned how the mountains and lakes surrounding us were formed. In addition, each kid picked up a Junior Ranger kit, to keep them engaged and learning while we were out on our adventure.

Getting help from our local, friendly Park Ranger

Once we were all together, we headed to the Jenny Lake Shuttle. This is a boat that goes about every 10-15 minutes from the visitors center to the Hidden Falls trail-head. Our crew of little explorers headed right up front, determined to get the best view. The ride over was a short trip, but filled with views of the Tetons, rainbows from the spray, and lessons on exactly how cold that water is. (Going in is the very last resort!).

The boat ride over gives you views of the lake and the mountains, and even rainbows over the waves*

Once there, we did the short ½ mile hike to Hidden Falls. Along the way, the kids climbed rocks, we saw and heard the rapids, and watched the steady stream of people that passed us both ways. Finally, we were able to make it to the base of the falls, were we were greeted with a beautify view of rushing waters over jagged ancient rocks. As we all took a rest (and gave the kids snacks), we enjoyed the view, and chatted (as this group does whenever we are together).

Hidden Falls is a local favorite, and a easy hike with little ones in tow*

Finally, it was time to head out. We hiked a portion of the Jenny Lake Loop trail, walking back to the boat ramp, then up the west side of Jenny Lake to Spring Lake, and its picnic area. The trail was relatively flat, but the views were spectacular. Once you got out of the woods, you were along the shoreline of the lake. Here you could see the tall trees and spectacular peaks as they reflected on the water. You could see all the wild flowers that grew up the steep mountainside, too steep for trees to grow.

The views along the hike were spectacular, and made you appreciate the nature around you*

Along the way we saw Columbine flowers, which grow in the shade, a butterfly, who landed on one of our hikers hands, and much flora and fauna that we couldn’t identify. We didn’t see much animal life, and we saw fewer people than we had during the hidden falls hike. Ironically, while this hike was longer, it was much much easier (in my opinion) than the hidden falls hike, which was all uphill. Here you could enjoy the view and keep your breath as you hiked, enjoying the splendor around you. (But don’t forget to look at your feet. That’s how I rolled my ankle and got my third injury of the trip!

The beautiful flora we saw around the lake

Finally we reached the creek that connects String Lake to Jenny Lake, and the bridge that crosses it. From there we could see the Grand Teton in all it’s glory. It was the perfect end to a perfect hike.

The view of the Grand Teton from the bridge*

Of course from there, we actually had to cross 3 parking lots to get to the picnic area. The kids were hungry and cranky by then, so we quickly made their sandwiches so they could eat and get back to a better mood. We also worked with our two to help them remember all what they saw on the hike, so they could do their junior ranger books. Soon everyone was fed and the rain started to come in. Thankfully, two members of the group had brought their mini-van, so we had enough seats and cars at the Spring Lake parking lot to ride over to the Jenny Lake Visitors Center parking lot.

Our hungry bears devoured their lunch after the hike

Once back at the visitors center, my kids went back to turn in their junior ranger packets and take the oath to become Junior Rangers. Both were proud of the accomplishments, and I’m glad I was able to incorporate some education into their day. (Got to prevent that summer slump!).

The newest Junior Rangers, sworn to protect the park and teach others about it

Once our kids were junior rangers, we refilled water bottles, and it seems everyone was satisfied with snacks and food, we piled into our rental, and headed back to town, ready to explore and enjoy a good, well deserved dinner. As we drove away, I didn’t stop looking out the window until the Tetons had faded from the mirror, engrossed in the sheer beauty that nature has to offer

Grand Teton National Park

  • Location: 103 Headquarters Loop, Moose, WY 83012
  • Times: Open 24 hour hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Price: $35 for one vehicles for a week pass, $70 for an annual pass

Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center

  • Location: 8 Miles North of Moose at South Jenny Lake
  • Times: Open 7AM – 8 PM, 7 days a week during the summer

Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle

  • Location: South Jenny Lake, near the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center
  • Times: Runs every 10-15 minutes, last boat time posted at the dock
  • Prices:
    • Adults $15 round trip, $9 one way
    • Children 2-11, $8 round trip, $6 one way
    • Senior $12 round trip (no one way price)
    • Under 2 and over 80 ride free
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