Hiking Phelps Lake Loop Trail In Grand Teton National Park
The Phelps Lake Trail Loop, situated within the serene beauty of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park, spans a little over 7 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 650 feet.
Despite its length, we found it to be relatively easy, making it an ideal option for a family outing. The trail offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy stunning views of the Teton Range and the serene Phelps Lake.
Accessing the trail requires driving along Moose-Wilson Road and following the signs leading to the preserve. It’s worth noting that the road is closed to RVs and trailers. The parking lot, accommodating only 50 cars, tends to fill up quickly, so arriving early or in the afternoon is advisable.
During our visit, we arrived early, and as we left after four hours, there was a queue of people waiting to secure a parking spot.
Nestled within the 1106-acre refuge of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, the trail commences at the parking lot and passes by a visitor center that merits a brief exploration. From there, one can opt for either the Lake Creek or Woodland Trail, both leading to the tranquil shores of Phelps Lake.
To experience the entirety of the loop, we took one trail to the lake and the other back. Once you reach the lake there’s a great spot to take pictures then continue on the trail around the lake.
Throughout the hike, we were treated to awe-inspiring views, encounters with diverse wildlife and plant life, and the stunning beauty of Phelps Lake. The trail meanders through a diverse terrain, encompassing wooded areas, open meadows, a small wetland area, and rocky stretches, providing a moderate challenge with some uphill sections.
While on our hike, we chanced upon a couple of deer, but the highlight was undoubtedly an encounter with a mother black bear and her cub. They were close to the trail, but with some precautionary noise, they didn’t seem bothered by our presence.
It’s always advisable to carry bear spray when exploring any of the hiking trails within Grand Teton National Park.
Phelps Lake offers numerous idyllic spots for picnics, along with a sizable boulder that serves as a popular platform for jumping into the water. Although we decided to forgo this particular activity during our hike, it seemed to be a source of fun for others.
Undoubtedly, the Phelps Lake Loop stood out as one of our favorite hikes in Grand Teton National Park. While the park boasts several remarkable trails, this one, in particular, should not be missed. Despite its popularity, it doesn’t seem to get as crowded as the Jenny Lake area.
For those seeking to prolong their adventure, the addition of the Aspen Ridge or Boulder Ridge trails can further enhance the experience on the way to and from the lake.