Oxbow Bend Overlook and Emma Matilda Lake

The Teton Mountains rising above the Oxbow Bend Overlook Trail at sunrise. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Distance: 4 miles

Type: Lollipop loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Water: Yes

Kid-friendly: Yes

Dog-friendly: No

The Oxbow Bend Overlook Trail intersects with the Emma Matilda Lake Trail to create a moderate 4 mile loop originating from Jackson Lake Lodge. After passing by the gorgeous Oxbow Bend Overlook, the trail meanders through serene woods to the popular Lookout Rock rising above Emma Matilda Lake.

Oxbow Bend Overlook to Emma Matilda Lake Trail Description

From Jackson Lake Lodge, follow the trail under the Christian Creek Bridge, emerging into a large field of willows. Follow the trail and at the junction just beyond the bridge, head right and drop down into the willows. The trail will meander through the dense vegetation before climbing up a hill where Christian Pond will lie below. The surprising pond rests tranquilly below the trail, most drivers within ears shot oblivious to the serenity and natural beauty lying before you. From the pond, the trail will head into the woods and bob up and down over small hills before reaching another junction. At the junction, head right to proceed to the Oxbow Bend Overlook.

The Oxbow Bend Overlook Trail continues a small climb onto a ridgeline over small hills and rises. Views of the Teton Mountains quickly come into view as it meanders in and out of aspen trees and meadows. Shortly thereafter, Oxbow Bend itself comes into view, sprawling out below with Mount Leidy rising in the distance above. Panoramic views unfold before you as you hike through the aspens and meadows, each view mesmerizingly different than the one before it. For those limited on time or resources, a shortcut trail heads left at a junction to reach Emma Matilda Lake quicker. For those wanting to do the full hike, continue straight.

The trail continues down through a small drainage where more stunning views of Oxbow Bend crowned by the Teton Mountains unfold, continuing through more serene aspen trees. A sign pointing the way to Emma Matilda Lake points the way ahead before the trail begins a relatively steep ascent through more aspen trees. Partially up the way, one last view provides a dramatic and sweeping view of Oxbow Bend with the Teton Mountains rising in the distance before finishing the climb and heading into the woods.

Mount Moran and the northern Teton Mountains rising high above Emma Matilda Lake. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The woods are briefly broken up as you head under power lines, where you’ll then descend easily through thick woods. A small meadow interrupts the forest before you reenter another dense forest. Through a quick descent to a larger meadow, you’re treated to another brief view of the Tetons, where you’ll then head in and out of trees. After descending through another thick forest, you’ll quickly reach the Emma Matilda Lake Trail, where you’ll want to head left. Just a short distance from there is the beautiful Lookout Rock.

From Lookout Rock, the trail descends back along the shores of Emma Matilda Lake for a brief moment. You’ll cross a footbridge after continuing through a small junction. You’ll climb through a brief set of woods where you’ll head left through a junction and through a meadow. The trail zig-zags through the forest and up and down small hills before rejoining the Christian Creek Trail where you’ll want to head right to return to Jackson Lake Lodge.

Elevation Profile for the Oxbow Bend to Emma Matilda Lake Hike
Elevation profile for the Oxbow Bend Overlook to Emma Matilda Lake hike in Grand Teton National Park
Elevation and route courtesy of Route Scout

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