If you’re searching for an easy hike in Grand Teton National Park that doesn’t skimp on the views, look no further than Taggart Lake. This 3.3-mile roundtrip trail is a perfect hike to do with the family as the trail doesn’t gain very much elevation and it’s stunning year-round. Fall is particularly beautiful when the aspens turn golden. The trail is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.
The trailhead to hike to Taggart Lake is located along the park’s main scenic drive, Teton Park Road, making it super convenient for a quick day hike. Enter Grand Teton National Park through the Moose entrance station outside of Jackson, Wyo. Continue on Teton Park Road for approximately 2.3 miles and you’ll see parking for Taggart Lake on the left side of the road. Plan to arrive early since this is a popular hike and the parking lot may fill up on summer days. Afternoon thunderstorms are also common in the park in the summer months. Start early to avoid being caught on the trail during lightning or rain. It’s best practice to be off the trail by early afternoon.
Stop by Persephone Bakery in Jackson before your hike to get to-go sandwiches so that you can enjoy a picnic lunch when you reach the lake. Make sure to pack out everything you packed in, including wrappers and food scraps.
How Long is the Taggart Lake Hike?
The hike to Taggart Lake is 3.3-miles, roundtrip, with 300 feet of elevation gain. As soon as you start hiking, you’ll enjoy incredible views of 13,770-foot Grand Teton, the tallest peak in the Teton Range. From the parking lot, follow the trail to the junction with Beaver Creek Trail. Stay right to head to Taggart Lake. Stay to the right on the dirt trail when you pass a gravel road that heads left. Cross a bridge over Taggart Creek, which offers a nice photo opportunity of the water cascading down the slope.
From here, the trail follows the creek through stands of coniferous trees and aspens, which are stunning when they turn golden in the fall. You’ll pass through an area that was burned by a fire in 1985 just past the one-mile mark. You’ll pass the trail junction to Bradley Lake, which heads right. If you want to lengthen your hike, you can head to Bradley Lake and take the Valley Loop Trail to reach Taggart Lake afterwards. This adds another 2.2 miles to your roundtrip hike and 285 feet of elevation gain.
To hike straight to Taggart Lake, stay left and you’ll soon reach the shores of this stunning lake. Follow the trail along the shoreline until you find a good spot to enjoy a picnic lunch or a snack and take in the incredible views of Middle Teton, Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton, Mt. Owen and Teewinot Mountain.
Return the same way you came in.
Can You Swim in Taggart Lake?
Swimming is allowed in most lakes in Grand Teton National Park. However, the snowmelt-fed waters are extremely cold year-round, so you probably won’t want to do more than wade in Taggart Lake, even on a hot summer day.
The ground around the lake and the lakebed itself is uneven, so if you think you might want to wade, pack sandals with good tread like Tevas or water shoes to prevent slipping.
Are Dogs Allowed on the Taggart Lake Trail?
Dogs, and other pets, are not allowed on any of the hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park, including Taggart Lake. If you’re traveling with your furry friend, hikes in nearby national forests will be better suited for you.
Pets are allowed inside the park anywhere that cars can drive, but this doesn’t mean that you can leave your pets in your car while hiking. Not only is it against park rules, but the temperature in a car even on a mild day can become dangerously hot for your pet. Never leave your pet unattended in Grand Teton National Park.
The exception to the pets rule is winter time in the park. Pets can come snowshoeing or cross-country skiing with you on the unplowed sections of Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads, but not on the trail to Taggart Lake.
What Should I Pack for a Taggart Lake Hike?
The hike to Taggart Lake is relatively short and fast, but it’s important to be prepared anytime you venture out on a trail. Always bring water, especially when hiking in the Tetons, as the high altitude can quickly cause dehydration or altitude sickness if you’re not hydrating enough.
Bear spray is another essential when hiking in Grand Teton National Park. While this is a popular trail, you are hiking in grizzly bear country. Always having bear spray accessible, and knowing how to use it, can help keep you from having a bad encounter with a bear.
Do You Need Snowshoes to Hike to Taggart Lake in the Winter?
When the snow falls, Grand Teton National Park turns into a winter wonderland and Taggart Lake is a perfect wintry hike because of its short distance and moderate elevation gain. While the landscape is beautiful no matter what the weather is like, do note that if there are a lot of clouds or if it’s actively snowing, you probably won’t be able to see the Tetons.
While the trail to Taggart Lake is popular in the winter and often packed down, snowshoes can be incredibly helpful in navigating the trail. They disperse your weight and help keep you from sinking down into the snow. If you don’t own snowshoes, there are several places in Jackson that rent them. If you choose not to bring snowshoes, we recommend bringing along traction devices like YakTrax or Microspikes that can be easily attached to your shoes if the trail gets slippery.
The ice on Taggart Lake can be deceptively thin, especially early or late in the winter. It’s safer to enjoy the views of the peaks from the lake’s shore rather than venturing out onto the ice.