Jackson, Wyoming & Victor, Idaho
It’s finally time to share our biggest Hike & Hop yet! We saved the best for last in our Yellowstone/ Grand Teton adventure. This incredible hike starts at Jenny Lake, travels up to the breathtaking Inspiration Point and finally travels into the Cascade Canyon Valley with stunning views of the Grand Teton peak. This hike completely blew me away and I already want to go back and do it again! There are plenty of opportunities for extending or decreasing the mileage while still getting in a fantastic hike. After this all day trek in the woods, Snake River Brewing in Jackson, Wyoming really hit the spot. And to round out the day, we drove back through Idaho and hit up Grand Teton Brewing in Victor.
THE HIKE: Grand Teton National Park – Cascade Canyon
Length: 9.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,096ft
Time: 4 -5 hours
Trail use: Hiking only
Parking: Very popular spot so Jenny Lake parking fills up quickly
Although most of our trip was in Yellowstone, we decided to add a day trip down to Grand Teton after hearing so many people raving about it. We got up before dawn to drive down through Yellowstone. It was truly a magical experience with the park so quiet and full of mist swirling in the sunrise. We even saw the most majestic elk emerging from the woods to stand in the early morning light.
We had a lot planned for a single day and made several stops before our big hike to take in the scenery. Guys, if you’ve never seen the Tetons, they are real mountains. The kind that stay snow-capped all year round. I could not wait to hike them! The only problem was, when we got to the Jenny Lake parking lot it was packed. Not a single spot anywhere. So we had to make a brash decision and go to the next trailhead to park. At first, I was disappointed, knowing that this would add a good 2 miles to our hike but as soon as we set out, I quickly swallowed my disappointment. The trail was so peaceful with very little traffic that we were really able to enjoy the beauty around us. And much to my surprise, we saw two moose in the distance within 10 minutes of starting out!
This trail follows along the shore of Jenny Lake and offers incredible views of the stunningly blue lake. I really loved this part of the trail, despite it not being part of our original plan. However, once we made it to the main trail, we had to share the way with a LOT more people. The first main viewpoint is Hidden Falls, which were lovely but could easily be skipped if you can’t spare the extra miles. It’s a really popular spot that was overrun with people taking a lunch break when we visited. The next stop is Inspiration Point which, while just as popular, is so beautiful that you just have to do it! The path to get up there is quite steep and not for the faint of heart. The steps are cut into the hillside and can be quite difficult for anyone unsteady on their feet or who have a fear of heights. As you’re going up, make sure to turn around and see the Grand Teton veering up behind you! After Inspiration Point, it’s time to head into the valley. The terrain will suddenly change from rocky and rugged to lush and green. And the trail will be noticeably quieter as the majority of people turn around at Inspiration Point. As you head into the valley, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This is a very popular place to see moose and bears! We weren’t so lucky but the stunning views made up for it!
At this point, you have some options. Since we didn’t have all day to hike, we walked for a while into the valley and then turned around to head back. If you want to continue into the valley, you can hike all the way to Lake Solitude and back for a 13.7 mile out and back. To save your legs, you can take the Jenny Lake ferry back and forth from the trailhead; just make sure to check the hours and have cash! Or if you really really want to challenge yourself, you can do a huge 21 mile loop from the String Lake trailhead that encompasses Cascade Canyon, Lake Solitude, and Paintbrush Canyon. This can be done as a backpacking trip too! I’m definitely adding to my backpacking wish list!
Even though we didn’t do the whole loop, we still had clocked nearly 30,000 steps! Needless to say we were definitely ready for a brew!
THE BEER: Snake River Brewing
Address: 265 S Millward St, Jackson, WY 83001
Distance from Trail Head: 20 miles, 32 mins
Food?: Full Menu
H&H Rating: 3/5
Only about 20 miles away from the trailhead is Snake River Brewing in Jackson. There are several breweries in town so you’ll have plenty of options if this one doesn’t suit you! I was very excited to see so many breweries here since opportunities for Hikes & Hops in Yellowstone were extremely limited! In fact, Wyoming only has 22 breweries in the whole state!
Snake River Brewing first opened in 1994 so it is pretty established in town as the place to be. That couldn’t have been more clear when we arrived and had to wait over an hour for a table! Thankfully the expansive outdoor space made it a comfortable place to relax and wait. It’s not often that we end up at breweries with a full menu so this was a treat. We both scarfed down an elk burger and were pretty happy with our beers. My only complaint was that the fast paced environment of the brewery made it feel very impersonal and made it hard to relax and have a good time. I think we might have been better off getting dinner somewhere else and having a beer outside here.
Afterwards, we needed to drive back to West Yellowstone through Idaho. One of my goals is to not only go to every state but also go to a brewery in each one. So, of course, after hiking in Grand Teton National Park, we had to stop by Grand Teton Brewing Company in Victor, Idaho. I LOVED this little brewery. We sat outside and watched the sunset drinking beer made from 100% glacial water! It was the perfect end to such a fulfilling but exhausting day.
Snake River Brewing
- Earned It – New England IPA – 6%
- Custer’s Last Ale – Pale Ale – 6%
Grand Teton Brewing Company
- Mail Cabin – Scottish Ale – 6.5%
- Black Cauldron – Imperial Stout – 9.5%
- Amber Ale – Red Ale – 4.8%
SUM UP: The highlight of our Yellowstone/ Grand Teton trip was our hike through the Cascade Canyon. To do this trek, you can park at Jenny Lake and either take the ferry to the trailhead or add on the hike along the shore line like we did. Along the hike, be sure to stop at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. I rate this hike as difficult because of the rocky climb up to Inspiration Point and the length of the hike. Our favorite part was the hike into Cascade Canyon where you are surrounded by lush forests and snowy mountain peaks jutting up beside you. Keep your eyes open for bears and moose in this area! To cap off your day, check out Snake River Brewing in Jackson for a delicious elk burger and some crisp, refreshing brews. If you still can’t get enough, make the gorgeous drive through the mountain pass into Idaho and watch the sunset at Grand Teton Brewing Company in Victor, Idaho. A perfect day!