Distance: 4.4 miles
The Bug Canyon to Grand View Point Loop is a moderate 4.4 mile hike found in northern Grand Teton National Park, bringing hikers to the signature viewpoint via the scenic route. The trail provides a less-traveled trail up to the popular Grand View Point, providing panoramic views of both the Absaroka and Teton Mountains, as well as glacial lakes below each. While many will prefer to hike Bug Canyon heading out, it is the longer way. Therefore, hiking it first allows to save the best of the hike for last.
Bug Canyon to Grand View Point Trail Description
The trail for Bug Canyon can be found at the northwestern corner of the parking area. It begins as an old two-track road, crossing over a log and wandering through large meadows and flats. The mostly straight trail quickly enters into Bug Canyon, a shallow canyon shaped by a small ridge on the left and Grand View Point itself rising up above on the right. Thanks to the ridge on the left, any road noise is blocked out, despite the road being relatively close.
After 0.8 miles, Bug Canyon fades away and opens up into a large sagebrush flat with Pilgrim Mountain dominating the horizon. The trail then cuts eastward at an opposite-facing sign, where it also transitions to a more traditional single-track trail.
You’ll quickly approach the base of Grand View Point and make a brief but steady ascent through an old forest. The trail will level out soon enough where it begins to meander along the north side of the hill.
Through this dense old forest you’ll experience some tranquil moments in the woods as you pass small seasonal ponds and cross over small footbridges. After the lengthy but peaceful stroll in the woods, you’ll quickly emerge into a large meadow at the base of a tall hill on your left. After wrapping around the base of the hill, you’ll reach a junction as you reenter the trees. Head right at the junction to continue up to Grand View Point.
From the junction you’ll begin a steep climb up the back of Grand View Point. Through the consistent climb the forest is quiet and tranquil, encouraging an occasional rest to catch your breath if needed. After the first switchback, you’ll see the top of Grand View Point visible through the trees before reaching the ridgeline.
Once on top of the ridgeline, stunning and expansive views into the deeper Absaroka Mountains open up in the distance. The peaceful Two Ocean and Emma Matilda Lakes stretch out toward the mountains below. Just a short distance ahead is the actual Grand View Point, where the view eastward is fantastically rewarding.
As you continue along the trail, you’ll make a quick descent to a smaller knoll with views of the Tetons and Jackson Lake, this view frequently mistaken for Grand View Point. Regardless, you’re treated to signature views of the iconic range and lake.
As you begin descending from the viewpoints, you’ll wrap around one more small knoll in the forest with more gorgeous views looking eastward into the Absarokas. Continuing down through the forest, you’ll drop down along a hillside facing the Tetons once more, then east again before continuing deeper into the old forest.
Another junction is soon reached where you’ll want to continue right to head back to the parking area. Left will bring you to Emma Matilda Lake and will add a few miles to your trip.
Past the junction, the trail maintains a steady descent until it levels out as it begins to cross a large meadow. If you’ve hiked this trail years ago, you might recognize this spot as the old trailhead for the hike. Now returned to its natural state, the meadow opens up for views of the Tetons ahead as you pass over an open hillside. Continue twisting down to the lower hill where you’ll make an easy descent down the opposite hillside before wrapping around one more hill. The trail then drops into the trees and connects to a corridor through the forest back to the parking lot.
From the Moran Entrance Station, head north on Highway 89 for 5.7 miles. Turn right at an unmarked dirt road, also 0.9 miles north of Jackson Lake Lodge. The road will dead-end into the parking area after 700 feet.