Everyone knows about Grand Teton National Park and its world-class trails. But did you know that neighboring Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is also a great hiking destination? The resort where skiers and boarders carve epic terrain in the winter turns into a hiker's paradise come summer and fall.
Try these six hikes for a taste of some of the best hiking the resort has to offer. Some start on top of the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, while others start at the base of the mountain. The Tram saves you a lot of uphill walking since it brings you up 4,139 feet in just 12 minutes (you'll start your hike at 10,450 feet), but you will have to buy a ticket before hopping on “Big Red.”
Whether you start on top of the mountain or at the base, this is still bear country: Black bears live on the mountain, and grizzlies wander through every once in a while. So bring bear spray and follow normal bear country precautions while hiking.
1. Marion Lake
This hike starts at JHMR but continues into neighboring Grand Teton National Park. Start by taking the Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain to enjoy this 12.5-mile roundtrip hike to Marion Lake. This route can be treacherous early in the season, so most hikers usually wait until the snow has melted in July to head out this way.
Even after taking the Tram up, you'll still find a lot of elevation gain along this route: Expect 4,250 feet of vertical rise during your day's adventure and allow about seven hours. If you'd rather make an overnighter of it, pick up a backcountry permit from Grand Teton National Park before you head out for the day (you'll have to travel to Grand Teton National Park to pick up a permit; they are not available in Teton Village or at JHMR).
2. Corbet's Trail
Take the Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain and hike this 1-mile roundtrip trail to scope out Corbet's Couloir. This infamous couloir is a winter rite of passage for many Jackson Hole skiers and snowboarders, who plunge down into the treacherous couloir to test their mettle while a throng of onlookers checks out their moves. In summer, however, it's a short, somewhat steep hike to peek down the rock face. Allow 30 minutes and enjoy the wildflowers along this route as well as great valley views.
3. Lower Face Loop
Enjoy some lower mountain adventure with this relatively easy, 2.2-mile roundtrip hike. Start at the base of the mountains and allow one or two hours for this mellow route. Since this route stays pretty low on the mountain, it's an easier route for those who are still acclimating to the altitude. It's also popular with trail runners, who love to use this loop as a quick and easy run.
4. Saratoga Loop
Start at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and plan about an hour for this short hike, which begins near the bike park by the Teewinot slope and will take you 1.4 miles round-trip. At first, the route follows the Summit Trail before it veers toward Grand Teton National Park and forms a short loop. On the lower part of the loop, you can link up with the Valley Trail to head into Grand Teton National Park for a longer hike.
5. Wildflower Trail
Head up this aptly-named trail mid-summer to enjoy the peak of wildflower season. Expect about four miles of uphill hiking to reach the Casper area of the mountain (though Casper Restaurant is closed in summer). If you'd like to keep going, you have the option of linking to the Summit Trail and ascending to the top of the Bridger Gondola or continuing all the way to the top of the mountain and the Tram, which will add about three more miles of hiking (one way). If you time it right, you can take the Tram or Gondola back down to the base of the mountain. Be sure to check operating hours and closures before planning on one of these options for your descent.
6. Summit Trail
Looking for a hardcore hike? Then plan about nine hours for the rigorous trek to the top of the mountain via the 7.-4-mile (one way) Summit Trail, which has a demanding 4,139 feet of vertical elevation gain. Some prefer to hike uphill and take the Tram back down, but be sure to check operating hours on the day of your hike and plan accordingly, as an unexpected extra 7.4 miles back down the mountain isn't many people's idea of a walk in the park.