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Phelps Lake via Lake Creek Trail

Phelps Lake and Autumn Colors
A clearing storm revealing golden aspens beyond red and yellow ground brush leaves along Phelps Lake. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Phelps Lake is a gorgeous glacial lake in Grand Teton National Park at the mouth of Death Canyon, most frequently accessed from easy 1.5 mile (one way) hike from the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve. Though many trails converge at the lake, the Lake Creek Trail is the only one that will bring you there along a lush and rushing creek. And while the trail does have a bit of elevation change, it’s still not a difficult hike at all.

Phelps Lake via Lake Creek Trail Description

The Lake Creek Trail begins at the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve, along with three other trails that eventually branch off in their own directions, all meeting back up at nearby points of Phelps Lake.

Begin by hiking from the Visitor Center of the preserve where the trail will soon begin paralleling Lake Creek. Shortly after, a bridge will span across the creek where the trail forks into the Woodland Trail and the Lake Creek Trail. Cross the bridge to begin the Lake Creek Trail. This will guide you up and over a small hill where you’ll begin to make your way through the forest, occasionally getting a sweeping overlook of the creek below.

At about 0.6 miles from the Visitor Center, you’ll reach a crossing passing over the Moose-Wilson Road. Proceed with caution and continue another small ascent, Lake Creek never too far below.

The trail from here gently meanders along the creek, soon passing the junction to access both the Woodland Trail as well as the Aspen Ridge Trail. Continue straight to maintain the Lake Creek Trail, where one scenic vantage point of the rushing creek is presented after another.

Rocky Section of Lake Creek Trail
A rocky section of the Lake Creek Trail in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve lined with ground brush changing for the autumn season. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

A large meadow soon opens up along the trail where the creek is also easily accessed. Once through the meadow, the trail gently dips into a boggy area before making a short climb back out, where Phelps Lake opens up in front of you, the sharp cliffs of Death Canyon looming in the background.

A small overlook area lies directly ahead where you can stop and enjoy the view. Admire the scenery for as long as you’d like, then head out the same way you came.

Want to take a more scenic route back? Head east along the trail to join up with the Woodland Trail a short distance back to make a lollipop hike out of the trails. Looking for a bit more mileage? Consider taking either the Aspen Ridge Trail or the Boulder Ridge Trail back, the junctions located a bit farther west and east of the Lake Creek Trail, respectively. Likewise, a gorgeous and scenic loop can be taken around Phelps Lake to add an extra 3-4 miles. Regardless of which route you add to your trip, be sure you have plenty of food and water, or at least a way to filter more water!

Getting There

From the Moose Junction, head south along the Teton Park Road for 3.75 miles and turn into the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve on your left. Look for the parking area at the end of the road.

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