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Phelps Lake Overlook

Phelps Lake at the mouth of Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming reflects clouds in the sky on a still, summer morning.

The Phelps Lake Overlook hike is a moderate 2 mile round-trip hike that brings visitors to the top of a glacial moraine, providing a stunning overlook of Phelps Lake below. The destination can either be a short and easy hike, or a scenic stop along the way to Phelps Lake itself, or Death Canyon.

Phelps Lake Overlook Trail Description

From the trailhead, begin by hiking up the trail where you’ll connect with the Valley Trail just a short distance in. Stay left and continue through the old and dense lodgepole pine forest. Along the way, an occasional footbridge will guide you across seasonal streams, running frequently in the early summer months to provide a soothing soundtrack to the natural silence.

Soon an occasional meadow begins to break up the forest, aspen trees accompanying the trail through each. A glimpse of the distant Gros Ventre Mountains to the east can be seen through a meadow here and there as the trail maintains its consistent climb up toward the moraine. Finally, at 1 mile in, you reach the Phelps Lake Overlook. Directly below is Phelps Lake, stretching southward with Snow King Mountain in Jackson rising above. Enjoy this view for as long as you’d like, then head back out the same way you came.

Getting There

From Moose, Wyoming, head south on Moose-Wilson Road for 3 miles. Turn right at the signed right turn for the Death Canyon Trailhead, and follow that for 1.6 miles to the trailhead.

Note that after about 0.75 miles the road becomes a rough dirt road. From here it’s highly recommended you take a high-clearance vehicle to the trailhead. The roughly 0.75 mile remainder of the road begins smooth enough, but as you near the trailhead, the road condition deteriorates dramatically. Along the way there are other parking spaces, so you can head in as far as you’re comfortable and use one of those if you’re more comfortable with that option.

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