Ski Lake is the easiest alpine lake to hike to in Jackson Hole (about four miles round trip and 800 feet of elevation gain). Also, it’s gorgeous, has great banks for picnic-ing and, if you hit it right, there are wonderful wildflowers. Moose are often spotted en route too.
What Makes It Great
This is a great trail for dogs. You cross a couple of creeks as you’re hiking up and there’s a giant, cooling lake at the end! It's a mellow trail suitable for hikers of all abilities.
The hillside above the lake to the north (and slightly west) is a fun scramble. There are some loosesections, but you can (fairly) easily make it up another 1,000-1,500 feet to a rocky ridge with expansive views. Ski Lake itself, tucked into a bit of an amphitheater, doesn’t views out to the valley.
This trail usually melts out in mid- to late-June. Patches of snow can remain until July.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers looking for a modest trail with great views will enjoy Ski Lake. Great for families, dogs and quite potentially, families of dogs.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
In the Bridger-Teton National Forest, there is no permit or fee required for the 2-some mile (one-way) hike to Ski Lake. Get to this trail by driving half-way up Teton Pass, on WY 22. Shortly after a very hard curve to the left, you will see a sizeable parking lot on your left. Shortly after that, on the right there is a small sign that says “Phillips Canyon” and a small dirt road. You can turn right into this road, which ends shortly, and park or park in the lot across the highway. Walk up the road until you pass a kiosk on your left. The Ski Lake/Phillips Pass Trail starts there. Follow this trail into a large open meadow where you’ll cross a small bridge. Just past the bridge, the Ski Lake trail forks to the left. It’s another mile or so from this junction to the lake.