Distance: 1.5 miles
Best time of year: Year-round
Last hiked: 2016 December
The Taggart Lake is one of Grand Teton National Park’s most popular, and for good reason. It’s considered one of the easier hikes in the park and offers stunning views of the mountains rising above a picturesque glacial lake. The best part is, it can be accessed year-round, whether it’s during the busy season of the summer, or completely covered in snow.
The Taggart Lake Trail starts off on level ground at the northwest corner of the parking lot near the outhouse. A sign (when not covered in snow) will direct you westward along the trail. This will lead you toward the glacial moraine that was created by the glacier in Avalance Canyon, creating Taggart and Bradley Lakes upon its retreat. As you reach the moraine, you’ll find the trail heading north, following the base for a short distance. You’ll cross over Taggart Creek after entering into a large aspen grove, then you’ll hike past an old, but still operating ranch on your right. Please respect the owners’ wishes to not feed the animals.
From here, you turn west and begin hiking alongside another creek up the moraine. This is the only significant elevation change on the trail and it continues for about half of a mile. Once on top of the moraine, the trail flattens out and panoramic views of the Tetons unfold in front of you.
Continue straight and after a short distance you’ll notice another sign (also when not covered in snow) that will direct you to Bradley Lakes over another small moraine. If you have the time and energy, why not? Back on the Taggart Lake Trail, continue heading west (toward the Tetons) and the trail will begin to make a small descent to a young lodgepole pine forest. This is the new growth after a natural wildfire, the Beaver Creek Fire, burned the area back in 1985.
After passing through the trees, the trail opens up at a meadow, skirting the treeline on the right. It soon takes a sharp turn west back into the trees and drops you off at Taggart Lake.
From the Grand Teton National Park Visitor Center, head west on Teton Park Road for 2.5 miles, passing through the entrance station. The trailhead will be on your left in a large parking area.
Note: The route recorded does not follow the trail exactly. This is because in winter, the trail gets covered up and new trails are created over the snow more-or-less along the existing trail.