Goodwin Lake – Hiking Near Jackson Hole

Hiking Length: Approximately 6 miles RT
Elevation Gained: About 900 feet
My View of Difficulty: Moderate
Best part:  The end when you reach a secluded mountain lake that I swam in until I could not stand the cold.
Location: Gros Ventre Range – Drive to the end of East Broadway in Jackson and turn left onto the gravel road on the National Elk Refuge.  After a couple of miles you will reach an intersection where you can turn left near a few homes.  Turn left and follow the road for a couple of more miles until there is another intersection where you can turn right and head towards the mountains.  Turn right and continue and head towards the mountains.  The road will switch back several times as you climb.  When you reach a dirt junction, bear right and continue another approximately 3 miles until you reach the trail head.

The trail will rise relatively quickly as you first go through some widely spaced trees, then meadows

Goodwin Lake

Hiking back from Goodwin lake

and finally into the forest.  Just as you begin to breathe heavily and wonder whether the hike is more than you bargained for, you will reach the crest and the rest of the way will, for the most part, be either level or only slightly uphill until the end which has a final sharp uphill section amid many rocks and boulders.  You will see magnificent views west into the elk range and the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole as well as views to the east and South into Sheep Creek Canyon and beyond.  Finally, without warning, the land will give away to a majestic mountain lake that is begging you to have the gumption to jump in and swim.

Arriving at Goodwin Lake

On the far side is a rocky peninsula where there are many places to comfortably eat and sunbathe.

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