A Quick and Dirty Guide to Snowshoeing in Jackson Hole

Darby Canyon
Darby Canyon Ding Mishev
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Exploring the Jackson Hole region by snowshoe is a spectacular way to enjoy the area during winter. Grand Teton National Park is a popular place to explore, though there are also a number of trails near town that are regularly maintained and groomed by the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department.

Grand Teton National Park offers a variety of snowshoeing options, including a brochurewith trail-specific information. They also offer a handy winter trip planner to help visitors make sure they're ready for what snowshoeing in the Tetons involves. While snowshoers don't always think of avalanche danger as much as backcountry skiers do, be aware that some routes do head through avalanche terrain, so it's important to check the local avalanche forecast, be aware of conditions, and have the proper skills, equipment, and knowledge for avalanche country, as well as be prepared to spend a day outdoors in changing winter weather.

Here, our insider's guide to snowshoeing in Jackson Hole. One last note on trail etiquette: Be sure to stay out of the classic ski tracks while exploring on snowshoes.

Bradley and Taggart Lakes

Snowshoeing at Bradley and Taggart Lakes
Snowshoeing at Bradley and Taggart Lakes Dina Mishev

The Teton Park Road closes in the winter just past the Bradley and Taggart Lakes Trailhead , making this network of trails a popular and convenient option for snowshoers.

This route is relatively mellow, with a number of rolling hills, but no steep climbs. It's a great place to get some exercise and get used to the feel of snowshoes on your feet, while taking in breathtaking Teton views. The tallest of these hills is 150 feet or so, so the rolling hills shouldn't be much of an obstacle for most adventurers.

There are several options from the parking area, all with gentle terrain and great scenery. Select from a 3-mile roundtrip out-and-back to Taggart Lake, the 4-mile Taggart Lake-Beaver Creek Loop, or the 3.4-mile Bradley Lake out-and-back.

If you head to Taggart Lake, you can even take a peek up Avalanche Canyon for spectacular views, including a look at Shosoko Falls, which can be seen near the bottom of the north fork.

Bradley Lake is the smaller of the two lakes, but has fewer visitors and more of an alpine feel than Taggart Lake. The trail leading to it has a few creek crossings (with bridges), as well as spectacular over-the-shoulder views of Taggart Lake. Follow the trail down to the lake; pack a winter picnic for an alfresco lunch.

Cache Creek

Nice tracks at Cache Creek Canyon
Nice tracks at Cache Creek Canyon Dina Mishev

Just two miles from Jackson's Town Square, Cache Creek Canyon offers great snowshoeing options. Dogs are allowed—a plus for those with four-legged friends, as many nearby snowshoe routes, including those within Grand Teton National Park, ban canine companions.

Explore the area on five miles of groomed trails used by a variety of outdoor lovers, including cross-country skiers, fat bikers, snowshoers, dog walkers, and more. Hiking into the canyon with the out-and-back route offers 1,200 feet of elevation gain on the way in (as well as a similar descent on the way back out). The farther up canyon you head, the more challenging the terrain becomes.

You can snowshoe along either side of the canyon. On the south side, head a short distance down the road, cross a bridge over Cache Creek, and then start climbing, snowshoeing east or west following the Hagen Trail. Another option, on the north side, is to head up the Putt Putt Trail, north of the groomed road. Be sure to be aware of the trail grooming equipment, as Cache Creek Canyon is groomed several times a week.

Granite Canyon

Snowshoers looking for a pleasant trip into Grand Teton National Park will enjoy several options from the Granite Canyon trailhead. To access it, drive down Moose-Wilson Road past Teton Village. Continue for a mile or so into Grand Teton National Park and, where the road ends, park either in the Granite Canyon trailhead parking lot, or along the road.

From the trailhead, you have a few options. You can head out on the unplowed Moose-Wilson road past the gate (staying out of classic ski tracks, remember) or you can head up toward Granite Canyon. However, be cautious heading up the canyon itself due to avalanche danger, especially because this route is below a popular an avalanche-prone area that many backcountry skiers use.

Another option is heading up the Moose-Wilson Road to the also-closed Death Canyon Road, and heading up toward the Phelps Lake overlook. This option will add quite a few miles to your day and should be planned as a full-day snowshoe (approximately 11 miles roundtrip). But the views are well worth it.

Teton Canyon

Just a short distance over Teton Pass, in Teton Valley, Idaho, lies one of the area's snowshoeing treasures: Teton Canyon. This route is flat but comes with stunning Teton views. Snowmobiles are also allowed along this path, but many snowmobile users are backcountry skiers using the machines to access terrain.

Near Ski Hill Road, most users are cross-country skiers, fat bikers, and dog walkers. After a couple miles, they peter out for the most part, allowing a dose of additional tranquility. Open fields eventually give way to forest cover. Teton Valley Trails and Pathways regularly grooms the area, so be aware of their schedule before heading out.

Darby Canyon

Darby Canyon
Darby Canyon Ding Mishev

For another taste of the west side of the Tetons, check out Darby Canyon , a snowshoe trail accessed from Teton Valley. Snowmobilers also use the canyon, making the terrain a little tricky for cross-country classic skiers and skate skiers. However, snowshoers will find plenty of excellent terrain for exploring.

To reach Darby Canyon, head over Teton Pass to find the canyon between Victor and Driggs, off East 3000 South. Coming from Jackson, continue past Victor on Highway 33, then turn right onto E. 3000 S. Follow the signs for Darby Canyon until you can't continue any farther, as the road is no longer plowed. Park along the road and start exploring.

The route isn't groomed, but it offers excellent snowshoeing. Head along the road, closed to vehicles in the winter, towards the summer parking area. It's an eight-mile snowshoe along the closed road to reach the summer parking area, with a climb of several hundred feet spread out over the distance. Keep an eye out for moose along the tree-lined route. Otherwise, enjoy the solitude of the peaceful trail, as snowmobilers aren't usually out in great force.

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