Many years after my bear adventure , I returned with my family to the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park. The mountains and the lake look the same, but the park has had some upgrades. The visitor center area is more elaborate, and there is now a boat service that you can use as a tour, or to shorten the hikes that start on the lake’s western shore.
As before, we started in a clockwise direction around the lake on the Jenny Lake Trail. Views of the mountains came in and out.
The trail that used to hug the lake has been rerouted, and now it is further up the face of the mountain. A narrow path has been leveled in the middle of a field of scree (loose jagged boulders).
After about two miles, the trail splits. To the right (downhill) is where the boat would drop you, to the left is Cascade Canyon, which follows Cascade Creek. We turn left, and begin climbing. Eventually we reach Hidden Falls. We turned around after these falls on my last trip.
There is a crowd here, and everyone is talking about the big bear we just missed. The falls are a popular turn-around point, so there are fewer people as we continue up the hill. After several switchbacks, we reach Inspiration Point.
The Point is a nice view of the lake, but really not that different from what we’ve been seeing. On the uphill side, we are at the beginning of the Cascade Canyon Trail. For the first time, we see some previously hidden peaks, and there is snow on them. (It’s early September, btw.)
The trail follows the creek, sometimes in the woods, sometimes in a wide open valley.
In the valley, the Cascade Canyon Trail is easy walking. It rises slightly, but it’s pretty level. We see other people, but not as many as earlier. They mention wildlife sightings. We see what we are told is a moose sitting down in a bush, but only the ears are visible. A mile down the path we see a little more of a moose. Sightings are partial amid the thick underbrush. Later we are warned about another bear.
Finally, the trail and the canyon splits into two tributary forks. I’m told that beyond this point the trail goes more steeply uphill, passes treeline and becomes really spectacular. Unfortunately we had a late start because of weather, so that wasn’t an option.
As the sign above says, the South Fork trail goes over the pass to reach Alaska Basin. The Basin is in the Targhee Caribou National Forest, and we came up on that side on a different hike a few days later.
Some hikers resting at the split advise us to go up the South Fork a short way to see a final waterfall. We do so, and then turn around.
I wish we could have gone further, but the weather and our schedule didn’t cooperate. Even so, we did about 11 miles and had a great time. The entire trail is lush and beautiful, the water abundant and clear. No bears this time.