One of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park, Inspiration Point features beautiful views across Jenny Lake and over Jackson Hole. Along the trail, you also get to see the only accessible waterfall in Grand Teton, Hidden Falls, and explore the teal-blue waters of Jenny Lake (either by boat or by foot). Hiking to Inspiration Point is short, fun and a great way to see a few of Grand Teton’s most famous spots. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to plan the perfect hike!
- Grand Teton National Park
- Grand Teton Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls Overview
- Details | Grand Teton Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls
Hi there! We’re Sarah and Matt, two nomads road tripping across the United States with our cat, Fitzgerald, making a new place our home month to month while working full time and adventuring as much as possible. We spend any free time we can get hiking, camping, backpacking, and exploring new places! We hope that our experiences will help you plan for your next adventure and inspire you to be an outlier!
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Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is massive, spanning over 300,00 acres of untamed wilderness. With the iconic Grand Teton Range forming the backbone of the park, there is plenty to explore in the area including hundreds of miles of hiking trails, countless alpine lakes, diverse wildlife, meandering rivers, and colorful wildflowers. 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.
Grand Teton Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point is one of Grand Teton’s most popular viewpoints, offering lovely views overlooking Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole. The entire roundtrip hike to Inspiration Point from Jenny Lake trailhead is about 5.8 miles and but can be shortened to 1.8 miles by taking the shuttle across Jenny Lake.
Hiking to Inspiration Point also offers the opportunity to explore Jenny Lake, stop by Hidden Falls, and continue your hike into the beautiful Cascade Canyon, giving you a taste of a few of Grand Teton’s coolest spots! The trail is fairly easy, and the option to shave off a few miles with the Jenny Lake boat shuttle makes the hike to Inspiration Point very accessible for hikers of all experience levels.
Grand Teton Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls overview
Hike Stats (via Jenny Lake Trailhead)
- Hiking distance | 5.8 miles
- Elevation gain | 800 feet
- Total time | 2 – 3 hours
- Epic-ness rating | 6
- Difficulty | moderate
- Includes | Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point
Find this hike on AllTrails: Inspiration Point via Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle
Note that this link references a route via the Jenny Lake shuttle. The full roundtrip hike from Jenny Lake trailhead is not on AllTrails. This Hidden Falls Trail map will get you almost all the way there.
How difficult is the Grand Teton Inspiration Point hike?
We have rated the hike to Inspiration Point in Grand Teton as moderate. If you don’t take the shuttle, the hike is just under 6 miles but it is fairly flat. If you take the shuttle both ways, we’d consider this a pretty easy hike, as it cuts the distance down to under two miles.
If not taking the shuttle, most of the trail is fairly flat along the shores of Jenny Lake. The steepest part of the trail comes at the end, during the final three quarters of a mile up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.
- Nice views looking across Jenny Lake
- Peaceful hike around Jenny Lake
- Option to continue into Cascade Canyon, one of the best hikes in the park
- Crowds, crowds, crowds!
- Jenny Lake shuttle requires a fee
Modifications to the hike
The hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls is just under 6 miles roundtrip from the Jenny Lake Trailhead. There are a few ways you can modify the hike to make it shorter or longer:
- Take the Jenny Lake shuttle one way | 3.8 miles and 600 feet elevation gain
- Take the Jenny Lake shuttle both ways | 1.8 miles and 400 feet elevation gain
- Continue into Cascade Canyon | up to 14.8 miles and 1900 feet of elevation gain roundtrip. Note that you can turn back whenever you wish. From the Jenny Lake boat dock, it’s 9 miles roundtrip to the intersection of the South Fork and the North Fork of Cascade Canyon.
Hidden Falls in Grand Teton
Did you know there is only one accessible waterfall in the Grand Tetons? In a park filled with tons of alpine lakes, deep canyons, and snowy peaks, it’s quite hard to believe! Hidden Falls is a 100-foot tall waterfall that is hidden from the main trail and can be viewed head-on from a short spur trail.
Hidden Falls is located on the way to Inspiration Point, about half a mile from the viewpoint, and is an easy addition to the hike.
If you’re looking to extend your hike from Inspiration Point, you can continue on through Cascade Canyon after departing Inspiration Point. To the end of Cascade Canyon and back to the Jenny Lake Boat Dock is about 9 miles, but you can opt to hike for as long or short as you’d like.
Cascade Canyon is nestled between Teewinot Mountain and Mount St. John, offering sublime views of granite peaks on either side of the trail and probably your best opportunity to see wildlife (we saw two moose from this trail). Most of the elevation gain for this hike is up to Inspiration Point. Cascade Canyon itself features a slight incline, bringing you into the heart of the Tetons without the extreme elevation gain that many other hikes into the backcountry require.
If you plan to visit Inspiration Point, we highly recommend leaving the crowds behind and venturing into Cascade Canyon, even if you don’t go all the way to the end of the trail.
Jenny Lake Shuttle
Cost | round trip: $18 per adult, $10 per child, one-way: $10 per adult, $8 per child
To hike to Inspiration Point, you will walk along the shores of Jenny Lake for about 2 miles each way. Alternatively, you can take a boat shuttle across the lake, which is a popular way to cut down the hiking distance. In addition to saving your legs some extra work, taking the shuttle is a fun way to see the park from the water!
- The shuttle is operated by Jenny Lake Boating, not Grand Teton NPS. Read more about ticket prices and departure times here.
When is the best time to hike?
In Grand Teton National Park, many trails can still be snow-covered through June into early July. However, Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls are 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 completing the hike to Inspiration Point 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 Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls in mid-June and the colors were absolutely stunning!
During the winter, many of the roads in Grand Teton close down due to snow, so hiking to Inspiration Point is and Hidden Falls may not be possible.
Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point packing list
In addition to your typical hiking gear, below are a few important items to remember to bring for the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point hike in Grand Teton.
- National Parks Pass | gives you access to all U.S. National Parks for one year.
- Lunch | To enjoy with stunning views from Inspiration Point!
- Backpack (CamelBak Helena 20L) | Just big enough to hold the essentials without weighing you down, and comes with a 2L bladder.
- Camera (Canon M100)| The Canon M100 was my first “real” camera and its compact size makes it great for hiking, while still taking great quality photos. You won’t want to miss the awesome photo ops from Inspiration Point!
- 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 Jenny Lake.
- Bathing suit and compact towel | For taking a swim at Jenny 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 Jenny Lake.
- Pack a towel and lunch and plan to spend some time swimming in Jenny Lake along the way and/or hanging out on the shore!
- 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 Jenny Lake trailhead. However, accommodations 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.
Grand Teton Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls hike details
In the following section, we’ll detail each section of the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point hike so that you know what to expect.
We’ve hiked to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls twice – first as an out and back day hike, and second as part of a longer backpacking trip around the Cascade Canyon – Paintbrush Canyon loop. We thought it was a fun hike with nice views if you’re looking for something fairly short and easy in Grand Teton. That being said, the view from Inspiration Point really can’t compete with some of the epic views deeper in the backcountry, like Paintbrush Divide, so our second experience felt somewhat underwhelming.
Additionally, this is a very crowded trail so you shouldn’t expect to find solitude here… I bet it’s lovely at sunrise! Our favorite part of the hike was probably continuing into Cascade Canyon, where you can escape the crowds and walk along a peaceful stream with adjacent Teton views.
Parking and getting to the trailhead
The trail to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls starts from the Jenny Lake Trailhead, on the east side of Jenny Lake near the visitor center. It’s about a one-hour drive from Jackson, Wyoming. The east Jenny Lake boat dock is located right near the trailhead.
Note that the parking lot at Jenny Lake, as with most popular spots in Grand Teton, can fill up. We recommend getting an early start to avoid having to wait for a spot.
Taking the shuttle
If you plan to take the shuttle across Jenny Lake, advance reservations are not needed (or even an option). Simply show up at the boat dock and purchase a ticket. Shuttles depart every 10-15 minutes, but you may have to wait in line during the busy season.
It’s also possible to hike first and take the shuttle back from the west dock. You will pay for your ticket upon returning to the east dock.
Hiking along Jenny Lake
The trail to Inspiration Point starts out along the southeastern bank of Jenny Lake, making for a relatively flat and serene first few miles. If you hike in early to mid-summer, you’ll likely see some amazing wildflowers along the lake!
Jenny Lake is one of the most popular areas in the Grand Tetons, as it’s a central hub for many hikes. The lake offers lovely views all the way around, looking down Cascade Canyon from its eastern shore or across to Jackson Hole from its western shore.
Intersection towards Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point
At two miles into the hike from Jenny Lake Trailhead, you will reach an intersection. The trail straight ahead continues towards the west Jenny Lake boat dock and then farther along the shores of Jenny Lake.
To get to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, take a left here. As you leave Jenny Lake and head towards Hidden Falls, the elevation gain starts to pick up.
Hidden Falls is located about a quarter-mile past the intersection and 2.25 miles from the east Jenny Lake boat dock.
From the main trail, you can catch a small glimpse of the falls (see photo to the left below). However, for a head-on view (like the one you see in the righthand photo below), take a short detour down a spur trail to the left. From here you can enjoy an awesome view of the 100-foot waterfall!
From Hidden Falls, it’s about half a mile to Inspiration Point. The final section is the steepest and includes a somewhat narrow section along a steep cliff. The trail never gets narrower than roughly 4 to 5 feet, so we always felt safe, but if you have a serious fear of heights this section may make you nervous.
When you arrive at Inspiration Point, there are several massive boulders you can hang out on to enjoy the views. This is a popular spot, so don’t expect to have it to yourself!
Continue into Cascade Canyon
If you want to get away from the crowds and experience more of the Teton backcountry, continue on the trail into Cascade Canyon. With towering peaks on both sides, the trail into Cascade Canyon cuts down the middle of the canyon through the dense forest of lodgepole pines. To your left, you have the Jaw, sitting at an elevation of 11,365 feet and to your right, you can see both Mount Owen (12,875) and Teewinot Mountain (12,166).
As you make your way farther from Inspiration Point, you’ll leave the crowds behind a find some solitude among the rocky peaks. This is a great area for seeing moose and other wildlife so keep your eyes peeled!
Once you’ve explored as far into Cascade Canyon as you would like, return back the way you came, past Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls until you reach Jenny Lake. From here, you can either continue the hike back to the trailhead or catch the boat shuttle to save some time and energy!
Other hikes in Grand Teton
For more incredible hikes in Grand Teton National Park, check out the following trail guides:
- Backpacking the Paintbrush Canyon Cascade Canyon Loop
- Bradley Lake in Grand Teton: Complete Trail Guide
- How to Hike to Delta Lake: An Epic Hike in the Tetons
- How to Spend 2 Days in Grand Teton National Park
- Complete Guide to Hiking Holly Lake in Grand Teton
- 18 Best Hikes in the Grand Tetons
For all things Wyoming: Wyoming Travel Guide
Questions about hiking to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point in Grand Teton? Let us know in the comments below!