Hermitage Point

If you want a sublime, easy, all-day hike with incredible views of water, mountains, ponds and the possibility of seeing animals and birds, then Hermitage Point should be your pick. At the very least, it is one of my top choices. Sure, it is 9.4 miles round trip. Yes, it is a rather long drive from Jackson Hole (fifty minutes by way of US-191 and US-89N). But the hike is relatively flat (elevation gain of 440 ft.) and easy to follow. And, at the beginning and end, there is a park restaurant with all you need to start your day and replenish after the hike.

To find the trail, follow the concrete road south that tracks along the boat landing area. When you reach the end of the concrete, follow the old gravel/dirt service road that runs along the Colter Bay Marina. While walking, take in the beautiful views of water backed by mountains (Mt. Moran and Rockchuck Peak).

Soon, you will reach the Swan Lake/Heron Pond split. Veer right and head towards Heron Pond. You will notice that the path turns to a much narrower dirt path of the type that you would expect in the park. At the next junction (unmarked) head right towards Heron Pond [make sure that you pick-up a trail map to eliminate any confusion). In a few minutes, you will reach another junction. If you take the path to the right you will go uphill to an overlook with fabulous views. Continue further and that trail re-joins the trail you were on. Either way, after a short-distance, you will see an incredibly beautiful pond that will likely be filled with lily pads. Afterwards, you will have a rather lengthy trek through the woods before the terrain opens into sagebrush flats before coming at an end at Hermitage Point (make sure you follow the trail to right when you get to an “X” intersection, otherwise if you go left you will end up at Swan Lake.) The views of the Tetons juxtaposed against Jackson Lake are magnificent at this stage of your journey.

When you reach the rocky beach to your right, settle down for a well-earned sandwich and enjoy the magnificent views and the breeze.

When it is time to go home I recommend retracing your steps. I have gone the other way on the southeastern side of the point and, while interesting (off in the distance you can see Jackson Lake Lodge and you pass a rather cool camp site), I don’t think it worth the seemingly slight extra distance.

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