Of all the incredible day hikes in Grand Teton National Park, Inspiration Point is a must-do. Highlights of this easy two-mile hike include a boat ride across Jenny Lake, a spectacular 100-foot waterfall, and awe-inspiring views. Inspiration Point is really the perfect family-friendly hike in Grand Teton National Park.
FAQ’s About Hiking Inspiration Point In Grand Teton National Park-
Here is all of the basic info you need to plan your Inspiration Point via Jenny Lake hike in Grand Teton-
How do you get to Inspiration Point Trailhead?
Park in the Jenny Lake Visitor Center parking lot off of Teton Park Road.
Jenny Lake is twenty miles from Jackson Hole and the drive will take about thirty minutes.
There are two different ways to access the trailhead from the Jenny Lake visitor center parking lot. The first is to hike the Jenny Lake Loop Trail around the southern end of the lake. The other option is to take a shuttle boat across the lake to the trailhead.
The hike around Jenny Lake is beautiful but it is almost two miles one way to get to the trailhead. I would absolutely recommend taking the shuttle boat (at least one way). The boat ride is part of what makes the Inspiration Point hike so unique and fun.
When Is The Best Time of Day/Year to Hike Inspiration Point In Grand Teton?
Inspiration Point Trail is the most popular hike in Grand Teton National Park (for good reason). If you want to avoid the crowds and easily find parking, I would suggest doing the hike first thing in the morning. That being said, when you hike early in the morning the lighting for photos isn’t ideal. You will be taking photos from Inspiration Point right into the sun. If taking great pictures from the overlook is more important to you than avoiding the crowds, hiking in the afternoon is a better option.
The best time of year to hike to Inspiration Point is in the spring, summer, or fall. There will be fewer crowds in the spring and fall.
If you plan to do this hike early in the spring or late in the fall, check Jenny Lake shuttle boat’s website to make sure the shuttle is running. The shuttle boat is usually running from mid-May through the end of September.
How Long is the hike to Inspiration Point and What is the Elevation Gain?
If you take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake, the hike to Inspiration Point is 2 miles round-trip. If you choose to hike the Jenny Lake Loop Trail to access Inspiration Point, the hike will be 5.8 miles round-trip.
The elevation gain is 400 feet from Jenny Lake up to Inspiration Point.
How Much Time Will It Take To Hike to Inspiration Point?
Expect to spend approximately two to four hours hiking to Inspiration Point. Although the hike is only two miles, there is a lot to stop and look at along the way. Also, it is likely you will have to wait to get on the shuttle boat on the way there or back.
Shuttle Boat Across Jenny Lake to Inspiration Point Trailhead
Here are some important things to know about the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake-
- Getting there – Take the path from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center parking lot towards the lake and follow the signs to the East Boat Dock
- The shuttle boat service does not take advanced reservations, it is first-come first-served.
- You pay at the dock before you board the boat.
- Shuttles go back and forth every ten to fifteen minutes all day long. Because there are so many shuttles, getting on a boat should not be a problem even on the busiest days in the summer. However, you will most likely have to wait in line on the busy days.
- You can purchase a one-way ticket if you want to hike the Jenny Lake Loop Trail one-way.
- Summer of 2021 prices were $18 for an adult round trip, $10 for a child round trip, and $15 for a senior round trip. It is ony $10 for a one-way adult ticket and $8 for a one way child ticket.
For current prices visit the Jenny Lake Shuttle Boat website.
*Insider Tip – The first boat of the day is only $10 round trip (cash only), another reason to start the hike early. But, you will want to get to the dock at least 20 minutes before the first boat departs. We arrived 15 minutes early and there was already a line at the dock. We were the last ones to get on the first boat.
Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls
After getting off the boat, the hike to Hidden Falls is a gentle slope with an elevation gain of only 200 feet. The trail is wide with lush vegetation on either side. The trail crosses a bridge over the rushing Cascade Creek near the beginning of the hike.
Half a mile into the hike, look for the fork in the trail and a sign to Hidden Falls. From here it is a short hike up to Hidden Falls overlook (about 20 yards).
Hidden Falls is absolutely amazing! Our latest trip was in August and the water was still running strong. There is a tiered viewing deck to stand on, the perfect place for pictures.
On our way up early in the morning, there was just one other family at the Hidden Falls viewpoint. But, on the way back when we stopped to see the falls again, there were so many people it was hard to even find a spot on the tiered deck. Another reason to do this hike early.
Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point
After Hidden Falls, the trail gets steeper for the last half-mile. There are also parts of the trail with big drop-offs so make sure to keep an eye on little ones.
There are good peek-a-boo views along the way to Inspiration Point. But, once you actually arrive at the viewpoint the views of Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole Valley are incredible and expansive.
The flat rock viewpoint at Inspiration Point is large enough for everyone to find a great vantage point even if there is a crowd.
If you want to keep hiking, the trail continues from Inspiration Point for miles through Cascade Canyon.
Return Trip From Inspiration Point
One of the things I love most about the Inspiration Point hike in Grand Teton is that there is an awesome view on the way down too. When you turn around to head back you will see the Cathedral Group- the mountain peaks Grand Teton National Park is known for.
When you are almost all the way back, look for signs for the dock. Because the hike gets really congested as groups get off of the boat to start their hike, the park service built another trail directing the returning passengers to a different spot to wait for the shuttle back to the visitor center.
If the wait is long, you can enjoy the beautiful views of crystal clear Jenny Lake and the surrounding mountains.
We had the return shuttle all to ourselves!
Tips For Hiking to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park
Some tips to make the most out of your Inspiration Point Hike in Grand Teton-
- If you have time to go into the National Park the day before your hike, stop by the Visitor Center. It’s always good if you are traveling with kids to pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet before you do any hikes. I wish I would have gone to the Visitor Center because there were all kinds of berries along the trail to Inspiration Point that I had never seen before. After the hike, I found that the Visitor Center had an interesting display about the different kinds of berries in the park, both edible and poisionous.
- Dress in layers. It can get cold at 7,000 feet early in the morning in the summer and then warm in the afternoon.
- Use the restroom at the Visitor Center before you get on the boat. There are no bathrooms or outhouses on Inspiration Point Trail.
- Bring snacks and water.
- Have fun!
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