Taggart Lake – Hiking Grand Teton National Park

Whether it is a hike in the spring, summer and fall, or a snowshoe or cross country ski jaunt in the winter – the trail to Taggart Lake and its destination represents the best compromise of distance, beauty and terrain in Grand Teton National Park.  A casual hiker will be able to negotiate the 3.6 mile round trip without great difficulty.  The traveler looking for a greater challenge can continue to Bradley Lake or be satisfied with an incredible combination of water, mountain, terrain and vegetation that will make the day well worthwhile.  The easiest way to get to the trailhead

Taggart Trail Start

is to enter Grand Teton Park through the Moose entrance and go three miles to the Taggart parking lot on your left.

The first several hundred yards of trail heads due west towards a low rise.  The Tetons loom beyond.  When you reach a “T” intersection take the right branch of the trail.  After crossing a stream on a scenic wooden foot bridge you will pass a rail fence on the right before the trail once again turns west and starts up the only significant uphill section of the journey.  After about ten minutes, and one or two stops to catch your breath for those that are not in condition, the narrow wooded trail will open up to a vast vista of the Teton mountain range beyond and a stony, but grassy, valley below.

Continue on and you will once again be faced with a choice of trails.  The path to the right will take you eventually to a series of switchbacks heading towards Bradley Lake – but that is a story for another day and another post.  Instead, continue straight and the path will descent into a stretch of pygmy like trees.  This short section is one of the most delightful parts of the hike.  Whether you are hiking or whisking through mounds of snow

Author In The Trees

you will feel isolated and at peace as you pass through a tunnel of green.

Upon emerging you will see an open area that shortly descends to the lake.  The views of the mountains forming a barricade on the other side of the water is majestic –

Taggert lake

your choices of paths simplistic.  Bear left and you will come to a long wooden bridge crossing the short neck of the lake.  It is a great location to stop and eat.  If you want you can continue on and loop back to the parking lot – but I do not recommend it.  The journey back by retracing your steps is shorter and more rewarding.  If you bear right at the lake rather than left there are many rocky outcroppings on which you can enjoy a welcome break. If you continue further a determined hiker will reach Bradley Lake after negotiating a series of switchbacks up and then down a low hill.

In the winter, after checking that the lake is well frozen, you will be well rewarded if you head out into the frozen expanse stretching in front of you.

On Taggert’s Frozen Expanse

The perspective and vastness will overwhelm you, as will your curiosity as to the destination of the creator of the inevitable set of cross country ski tracks heading for the western shore.


  1. […] resort and I browsed through many of the well-known galleries in town. Together we snowshoed at Taggart Lake and took our daughter on a sleigh ride along the elk refuge. We ate at so many great pubs and […]

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