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Crater Lake via Old Pass Road

Still waters in Crater Lake of the Teton Mountains producing a picturesque reflection with fall colors lining the hillside. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

The Crater Lake hike is a 1.3 mile (one way) hike up to a small glacial lake in the Teton Mountains along Old Pass Road, fed from snow melt high above from the Glory Bowl. The consistent elevation gain is not as hard as you might expect, offering a pleasant and short hike to a beautiful lake. Many other trails can be accessed from the area, so there are plenty of options to extend your hike if desired.

Crater Lake Trail Description

From the parking area at the Old Pass Road trailhead, begin hiking up beyond the small loop at the end of the parking lot. You’ll know you’re on the trail because it will literally look like an old road.

The trail/road meanders upward gently enough to be accessible, but at a steep enough rate to gain a decent amount of elevation. Along the way are aspen groves interspersed with the thick and mature evergreen forest, offering some great color in the fall season.

As the elevation gradually increases, views of the distant Gros Ventre Mountains on the other side of Jackson Hole begin to rise above the surrounding forest.

After a few bends in the road 1.3 miles up, Crater Lake comes into view nestled into a pocketed drainage far below the Glory Bowl. A small bench perched on a small overlook welcomes visitors to sit and relax along the quiet and peaceful waters. Stay as long as you’d like, then either head out the way you came in, or continue upward another 2.6 miles to reach the Teton Pass, or also to connect with other trails along the way.

Stormy weather passing over the southern end of Jackson Hole, the Snake River, and the Gros Ventre Mountains. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Getting There

From Wilson, head west on Highway 22 ascending toward Teton Pass. After 1 mile, look for a left turn into Old Pass Road. Follow that road for 0.9 miles until it dead-ends at the parking lot.

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All content © Copyright Mike Cavaroc, Free Roaming Hiker & Free Roaming Photography