The Game Creek Loops hike is an easy 6.25 mile trek through a scenic canyon winding past beaver ponds in the lower Gros Ventre Mountains. In the wide canyon bottom, the trail forks into two separate loops, allowing two unique vantage points of both Game Creek and its canyon.
Game Creek Loops Trail Description
From the trailhead, follow the trail as it parallels Game Creek up the bottom of the lush canyon. Through a relatively large meadow, willows and aspen trees line the creek and trail’s sides. An evergreen forest ascends up the hills to the right. You’ll quickly reach a sign reminding you that this is, in fact, mountain lion country as larger peaks begin to rise ahead.
As the vegetation thickens around the trail, you’ll cross an old cattle guard, continuing to ascend gently up the canyon. The perennial creek runs consistently along the trail as views of distant mountains rise above the widening meadows.
Once the vegetation narrows again, you’ll then emerge into a large meadow along the creek below the peaceful mountains. At this point, the trail will fork at 1.5 miles in. You’re welcome to go either way, but this write-up follows going right.
Heading right from the fork, the wide trail narrows into a more traditional single-track trail. It makes several quick and easy switchbacks up the hill, paralleling the old road/original trail. The pleasant and scenic detour winds past sparse aspens and lush wildflowers. It doesn’t take long at all after that to be dropped down the small hill to connect with the road once again.
In just 0.2 miles, you’ll reach the next junction. As was the case with the prior fork, right continues up the Game Creek Trail, while left takes you around the Beaver Ponds Trail. Since this is the second of two loops, either way will bring you back to this junction. This write-up reflects going right.
With willows lining the meadow’s edge, you’ll snake down from a hillside to a wide and open canyon bottom, which then begins to narrow. For a decent stretch, you’ll wind between the hillside and the willows just below in a scenic and tranquil section of trail. You’ll soon connect with the Beaver Ponds Trail once again at 3.2 miles in. Head left to begin back to the trailhead.
You’ll cross a small footbridge immediately after the junction, guiding you through the dense willows. Following the trail, you’ll meander to the opposite side of the canyon where gorgeous views of the canyon itself and its surrounding terrain unfold. Continue along the scenic trail as the creek calmly cascades to your left. You’ll reconnect with the main trail at 4.1 miles in, the next junction coming once again in another 0.2 miles. Head right at the next junction to explore the other side of the initial loop.
The easy and wide path will bend down along the base of the small hill, effortlessly turning back down toward the first junction past scenic aspen trees. Once you’ve passed by the next junction at 4.7 miles in, it’s an easy and straightforward hike back to the trailhead.
From downtown Jackson, head west on Broadway Avenue. This will bend into Highway 89, which you’ll want to continue on for 7.8 miles from downtown Jackson. Look for the left turn at the bottom of the hill, and follow that road for 1 mile to the trailhead.
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