Sink or Swim
Distance: 2.5 miles (one way)
Type: Out and back / Shuttle
While not quite a destination hiking trail, the Sink or Swim Trail is an integral part of the Snow King trail network. Running along baseline roughly one third to a quarter of the way up of Snow King Mountain, the trail is frequented by not only hikers getting to and from Josie’s Ridge and the Snow King summit, but also by mountain bikers looking to reach other areas such as Cache Creek.
Sink or Swim Trail Description
The Sink or Swim Trail runs from east to west along the base of Snow King for nearly 2.5 miles, connecting hikers and bikers to the Cache Creek trail network, to its western terminus at the Josie’s Ridge Trail.
Along the way are stunning meadows overlooking the town of Jackson from varying vantage points that are dotted among the old evergreen forest that carpets the mountain. As the trail crosses through Snow King Ski Resort, hikers and bikers are treated to wide open views of eastern Jackson, stretching far to the north beyond the National Elk Refuge, the Teton Mountains rising dramatically to the northwest. The Sink or Swim Trail also occasionally passes through a calming aspen grove, known to many as nature’s wind chimes. The trail is especially lush in the weeks after the snow melts, when all shades of green are growing in full health beneath a dome of forest green.
For the most part, the Sink or Swim Trail is a relatively easy trail with gradual elevation change. The only real exception to this is the western 0.4 miles. Ascending through dense forest with serene meadows, this stretch climbs steeply and intensely, acclimating hikers heading in that direction to the Josie’s Ridge Trail. At this point, the Sink or Swim Trail yields to the Josie’s Ridge Trail, where hikers can either head up to Snow King’s little cousin, or head down to make other trail connections on the western slope of the mountain. The views either way of western Jackson are worth the rests you’ll want to take.
Regardless of your destination, the Sink or Swim Trail makes a wonderful addition to any day hike in the area. Be sure to check either some or all of it out!