Nestled in the foothills of Grand Teton National Park, Bradley Lake is the perfect spot to relax, swim and enjoy head on views of the iconic rocky peaks, accessible via a moderate 5-mile hike. On a calm morning, the reflection of the Grand Tetons onto the still waters of Bradley Lake creates a truly picturesque sight! Along the hike to Bradley Lake, you have the option to visit nearby Taggart Lake, which is a great way to spend a couple hours exploring Grand Teton National Park. In this article, we’ll break down what to expect from the Bradley Lake hike to help you decide whether to add the hike to your Grand Teton itinerary.
- Grand Teton National Park
- Bradley Lake Overview
- Highlights and lowlights
- How difficult is the Bradley Lake hike?
- Modifications to the hike
- When is the best time to hike?
- Bradley Lake packing list
- Tips for a great hike
- Bradley Lake hike details
Grand Teton National Park
- Hiking distance | 5.1 miles
- Elevation gain | 650 feet
- Total time | 2 – 3 hours
- Epic-ness rating | 7
- Difficulty | Moderate
Find this hike on AllTrails: Bradley Lake Trail
With over 300,000 acres, 200 miles of hiking trails, dozens of lakes, meandering rivers, iconic mountain peaks, and pervasive wildlife, there is plenty to explore in Grand Teton National Park.
From the dramatic top of the Grand Teton to the depths of Jackson Lake and everything in between, we have yet to find a place as beautiful as Grand Teton National Park. It is definitely our favorite national park!
Located about 30 minutes north of the ever-growing Jackson, Wyoming and about an hour or so south of Yellowstone National Park, no visit to the West is complete without some time spent hiking in Grand Teton National Park.
Bradley Lake in Grand Teton
Bradley Lake is located in the foothills of the Grand Tetons, offering spectacular views of the towering rocky peaks. Easily combined with nearby Taggart Lake, the Bradley Lake hike makes the perfect introduction to Grand Teton National Park, featuring two beautiful lakes, stunning mountain views and vibrant wildflowers during the spring.
For your first trip to the park, be sure to add this hike to your Grand Teton itinerary!
Bradley Lake may be reached via a 4 mile out and back hike, or a 5 mile loop that includes Taggart Lake. Both options are fairly easy hikes with gentle elevation gain. Of the many lakes in the foothills of the Grand Tetons (ie. Jenny Lake, Phelps Lake, String Lake, Leigh Lake, etc), Bradley Lake was our favorite!
Bradley Lake and nearby Taggart Lake are fairly similar in terms of views. Because the hike to Bradley Lake is a bit longer, there are typically fewer crowds than at Taggart Lake. We would recommend hiking to Bradley Lake, and stopping at Taggart Lake along the way.
How difficult is the Bradley Lake hike?
The hike to Bradley Lake is 5 miles roundtrip, with only 650 feet of elevation gain so we’d rate it as an easy to moderate hike. With gentle elevation gain, this hike is suitable for hikers of all experience levels.
- See two beautiful lakes with a backdrop of the stunning Tetons
- Relatively short and easy hike
- Beautiful wildflowers during early summer
- Multiple spots to hangout along the shores
- Popular hike means the trail is often crowded
- Can get buggy down by the lakes
Modifications to the hike
The hike to Bradley Lake can be shortened by skipping Taggart Lake, or lengthened by continuing to Delta Lake or Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes for a more challenging adventure:
- Out and back to Bradley Lake (skip Taggart Lake) | 4 miles roundtrip, 450 feet of elevation gain)
- Continue to Delta Lake | 12.8 miles roundtrip, 2750 feet elevation gain
- Continue to Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes | 15.8 miles roundtrip, 3500 feet elevation gain.
When is the best time to hike Bradley Lake?
In Grand Teton National Park, many trails can still be snow-covered through June into early July. However, Bradley Lake is located at a lower elevation in the foothills of the Grand Tetons, so the trail should typically be clear by late May or early June.
We highly recommend the Bradley Lake hike during the spring, which is around late May and early June in the Tetons, when the wildflowers are in full bloom. We hiked to Bradley Lake in mid-June and the colors were absolutely stunning!
Hiking to Bradley Lake is also possible during the winter, for epic views of the snow-covered Teton peaks! However, expect the trails to be snowy and icy, so microspikes may be useful.
Bradley Lake packing list
Below are a few important items to remember to bring for the Bradley Lake hike:
- National Parks Pass | gives you access to all U.S. National Parks for one year.
- Lunch | To enjoy on the shores of Bradley Lake!
- Backpack (CamelBak Helena 20L) | Just big enough to hold the essentials without weighing you down, and comes with a 2L bladder.
- Camera (Canon M100)| Bradley Lake with views of the Tetons is so picturesque! The Canon M100 was my first “real” camera and its compact size makes it great for hiking, while still taking great quality photos.
- Bear spray | This is grizzly bear territory, so be sure to carry a can of bear spray.
- Bug spray | Mosquitos can be brutal down by the lakes.
- Bathing suit and compact towel | For taking a swim at Bradley Lake!
Tips for a great hike
- Start the hike as early as possible. You won’t have to hunt for parking and the waters are most likely to be calm in the morning, creating that stunning reflection of the Tetons over the lakes.
- Pack a towel and lunch and plan to spend some time swimming and/or hanging out by the shores of the lakes!
- Take a detour to Taggart Lake. It makes the hike a loop, and is worth the extra mile to see both.
- Entrance to Grand Teton National Park is $35 per vehicle, or you can purchase an $80 National Parks Pass that gives you unlimited access to all U.S. national parks for one year.
- Jackson, Wyoming is the closest town to the Bradley Lake trailhead. However, accomodations here will cost a pretty penny! Check out Victor, Driggs and Tetonia just across the border in Idaho for more reasonable prices. Campgrounds inside Grand Teton fill up well in advance, so be sure to plan well in advance if you would like to camp in the park.
Hike Details | Bradley Lake Grand Teton
In the following section, we’ll tell you all about the Bradley Lake hike in Grand Teton so you know what to expect!
We started the hike early in the morning, around 8:00am, and stopped at Taggart Lake before continuing to Bradley Lake.
When we arrived at the lakes, it was a calm morning, creating an incredible reflection of the Tetons onto the perfectly still waters. Hiking to Bradley Lake in the morning gives you the best shot at seeing a stunning reflection and fewer crowds.
We hiked to Bradley Lake as part of a longer hike to Delta Lake, turning the relatively easy hike into a challenging full day affair. If you have some extra time and you’re looking for more of a challenge, we highly recommend continuing to Delta Lake, one of the most beautiful alpine lakes we’ve ever seen!
Which direction should I hike?
Bradley Lake may be reached via an out and back hike that is about 4 miles. However, If you plan to add Taggart Lake to your hike, the trail becomes a loop. The loop trail with Taggart Lake only adds about 1 mile and 150 feet of elevation gain, so it’s definitely worth doing.
There is no huge advantage to hiking either clockwise or counterclockwise. We hiked clockwise so we could see Taggart Lake first and save Bradley Lake for last.
Hiking clockwise makes for a fairly boring hike back after Bradley Lake, whereas hiking counterclockwise would leave Taggart Lake for the return trip.
Parking and getting to the trailhead
The Bradley-Taggart Lake trailhead is located just off of Teton Park Road, about 15 minutes from the south entrance to Grand Teton National Park. The road and parking lot are paved, so the trailhead is reachable with any vehicle.
The parking lot does tend to fill up, but overflow parking is available along the side of the road. We started the hike on a Sunday morning during the summer, and the parking lot was already full when we arrived, but we had not trouble finding a spot along the road.
Starting the hike
Less than a quarter mile into the hike you will reach an intersection. Turn right and follow signs to Bradley or Taggart Lake. The trail slowly gains in elevation as you head towards the lakes, with head on views of the Grand Tetons along the way.
Entering the loop
One mile into the hike, you will come upon another intersection that marks the start of the Bradley – Taggart Lake loop. Turn right to head directly to Bradley Lake, or turn left to start with Taggart Lake.
Continue another half mile past the intersection until you catch your first glimpse of Taggart Lake! The trail leads directly to a nice viewpoint, and then continues north along the shores of Taggart Lake for another half mile, so there will be more opportunities to soak in the beautiful views!
There are several access points along the trail that lead down to the water, so you can typically find a nice quiet spot to take a break.
Once you leave Taggart Lake, it’s about another mile to reach Bradley Lake. From Taggart Lake to Bradley Lake is the steepest section of the hike. Once again, the trail leads to a nice viewpoint overlooking Bradley Lake that is worth checking out.
To get back to the trailhead, you will reach an insection about a quarter mile past your first view of the lake. The trail does continue along the eastern shore of Bradley Lake and beyond.
It’s worth continuing to see more of the lake, but remember that you will have to backtrack to reach the intersection that returns to the trailhead.
There are also several spots by Bradley Lake just off the trail that are great for having lunch or taking a break.
Other hikes nearby
For more incredible hikes nearby, we’ve rounded up a complete list of our favorite hikes in Grand Teton National Park! Read more here:
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Questions about hiking to Bradley Lake in Grand Teton? What did you think of the hike? Let us know in the comments below!