The best views of the Tetons aren't in the Tetons, but rather from Cache Peak, a main peak (10,384-feet) in the Gros Ventre Mountains, just east of downtown Jackson. About 18 miles roundtrip and 4,000 vertical feet of climbing from the Cache Creek Trailhead, Cache Peak is a fun, non-technical scramble.
What Makes It Great
Immediately past the wilderness boundary, the trail forks. You can go to Horse Creek or Turquoise Lake/Highline Trail. Head left for Turquoise Lake. You’ll start gaining serious elevation. At a good clip, it'll take you about an hour or so to reach an elevation of about 9,300 feet, where you'll want to leave the trail and start making your way to the summit.
You’ll know you need to start rock scrambling when you see Cache Peak’s three summits—an intimidating, block-like one on the left, a pyramidal one to the right slightly behind the blocky one, and then, closest (and most mellow-looking) a grassy, tree-covered hump. The pyramidal one is Cache.
Cache Peak is a beautiful summit. The Gros Ventres are big, big country. A long-time local who knows his backcountry calls them “Alaskan in scale.” Jackson Peak, four hundred feet higher, is right there. Gros Peak is absolutely beautiful and you also get a unique perspective of Sleeping Indian.
Heading down, you can simply retrace your steps; that's the easiest way to guarantee you don’t get lost.
If you have a map though, it's fun to explore this big country. From this backside of Cache Peak’s summit, it’s possible to wrap around north, pop over a saddle and reconnect with the trail in a basin to the summit’s north and east. Those pretty, small lakes you saw to the north from the summit? The trail is right down there.
Who is Going to Love It
It doesn't really even have any exposed parts, making it a great summit for hikers and even trail runners.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
You can start from the Cache Creek trailhead on foot or bike. You can ride the latter about six miles to the boundary of the Gros Ventre Wilderness. At the wilderness boundary, helpfully marked with a “no bikes” sign, you can stash your bike in the woods and start walking or running.