Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls are two of the top hiking destinations in Grand Teton National Park. Each can be accessed via a 1 mile hike from the West Boat Dock, or a 3.25 mile one-way hike from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. The latter can be a round-trip hike, or many people opt to hike in and take the shuttle boat out.
Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls Trail Description
Begin at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and access the Discovery Trail right out front. The Discovery Trail leads to an overlook of Jenny Lake just a short distance into the trail. Once at the overlook, head left and continue to the next junction just a short distance beyond. Head right to drop down to the shuttle boat dock. At this point, you can decide to take the boat across to the West Boat Dock, in which case you can skip ahead, or continue hiking across the bridge to begin the main Jenny Lake Loop.
Jenny Lake Loop to Inspiration Point
From this point on, the trail wanders through consistent evergreen trees along the shore of Jenny Lake, showing off an occasional view of the glacial waters through the trees. At just shy of a half-mile in, you’ll pass a parking area for people to launch boats in the lake from.
Just beyond the parking area, the trail veers away from the lake to climb a glacial moraine on the southwest side of the lake. It’s here that the trail reaches an overlook for Moose Ponds below, where the trail then cuts northward. It levels out after a bit more ascending as the trail maintains a steady pace through the old forest. At 1.2 miles in, you’ll reach a junction with the horse bypass trail where you’re encouraged by the sign to continue straight.
The Jenny Lake Loop at this point veers a bit closer to Jenny Lake from a higher vantage point than prior, the views peeking through the trees. The trail descends closer to the lake, and at 1.6 miles in, you’re treated to stunning views as the trail joins the lakeshore. It continues in and out of the trees and along the occasional sprawling lakeshore vista.
After cresting a small ridge at 2.25 miles in, you’ll begin to hear the white noise rush of Cascade Creek farther ahead. A staircase climbs up a short distance beyond where the creek rushes below a small switchback. Shortly after, head straight through the junction to continue heading upward toward Hidden Falls. The trail continues climbing up rocky forested terrain, Cascade Creek rushing below. A small footbridge will bring you to the next junction at 2.6 miles in, where you continue straight to head to Hidden Falls. One more junction follows shortly thereafter, where you’ll want to head left to access Hidden Falls just a quick distance up.
Though Hidden Falls is an optional detour, it would be tragic to miss out on the massive 100-foot waterfall along Cascade Creek. The beautiful waterfall pours over a rocky cliff rising high above the vantage point, cutting through the forest on its way down. Wooden benches encourage you to relax and enjoy the calming view.
Once back at the previous junction, head left to begin the hike up to Inspiration Point. You’ll cross two bridges spanning two different channels of Cascade Creek, where the trail quickly begins ascending up the rocky stairs toward Inspiration Point. A short distance beyond the climb wraps around an overlook above Jenny Lake, which some people confuse as Inspiration Point, and while the view is inspiring, it will only get better.
As the stairs climb back toward Cascade Canyon to continue ascending, views of the Cathedral Group of Teton Mountains dominate the landscape. Teewinot rises high into the sky with the Grand Teton peeking up behind it, with Mount Owen sweeping in to the right. Another switchback brings you higher to another perch high above Jenny Lake before ascending one more rocky switchback.
The final ascent climbs up a narrower and rocky section of trail. It climbs along a cliff face, so those with a fear of heights might find this section a little intimidating. It’s short-lived though as immediately after you reach Inspiration Point, an awe-inspiring view rising high above Jenny Lake with the Gros Ventre Mountains rising on the horizon in the distance. While relaxing, you may also notice a few critters being extra friendly toward people. They do this because they’ve been fed, which seems helpful and cute, but in reality, you’re actually killing them by weening them away from natural food sources. While they’re well-fed during the summer, their constant supply that they get accustomed to runs empty during the long winters, leaving them to starve. Please don’t feed the wildlife, no matter how large or small.
Inspiration Point from the Boat Dock
From the boat dock, head left on the trail to begin the 1 mile hike up to Inspiration Point. The trail wraps around the mouth of Cascade Canyon to Cascade Creek where it begins climbing up along the creek from there. You’ll reach a junction after a short distance where you’ll want to continue heading straight. Follow the trail as it climbs steadily up along the creek, ultimately reaching another junction just after crossing Cascade Creek. Follow it to the right to head toward Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.
The junction for Hidden Falls is just a short distance up the trail where you’ll also cross Cascade Creek once again to climb to Inspiration Point. To read up on the details, scroll back up to the Inspiration Point section just above.
From Moose, head north on the Teton Park Road for 6.9 miles and turn left at the South Jenny Lake Junction. Park in the closest available spot to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center to access the trail there.
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