Hike and Camp on Jackson Peak

10.4 miles 2580 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Cole Buckhart

There's nothing like free wilderness camping, a fun easy hike with epic 360° views of Grand Tetons, Gros Ventre & Jackson Hole. There is alpine lake fishing & chilling, close to town of Jackson (25 min drive) and a 10,741 ft summit elevation.

Start at the Goodwin Lake Trailhead by driving through the Curtis Canyon Campground, following the road RIGHT at the first split, then LEFT at the second. The trailhead is at about 8,000 feet of elevation, up from the 6,200 ft of the town of Jackson.

The trail starts out a bit steep at first but nothing a relative beginner couldn't get through. After 30-40 minutes the trail flattens out into a more subtle ascent. You'll pass through rather dense forests and a few wide open ridges with vast views towards the northern Teton range.

Continue on the trail into the forest a while longer until you reach Goodwin Lake - this is the best place to camp on this adventure. There are a number of defined camp sites with stone fire pits, but in the National Forest, you can pitch camp anywhere you like and build fire with whatever wood you can scavenge. With a good water filtration system, Goodwin Lake water is some of the sweetest alpine water you'll find. The small - very cold - lake also offers trout fishing.

We set up camp on the North side of the trail, opposite the lake side and cooked and relaxed for the evening and summited Jackson Peak in the morning, although the peak hike is very doable in a single day from the trailhead and back.

Continue on the same trail to the east to make your way to the summit. About a half mile above the lake the trail forks - take the right fork to reach the summit, going left will take you towards Cache Peak and deeper into the amazing Gros Ventre wilderness.

The Jackson Peak route will take you through vast open alpine fields, past a few very small lakes/ponds and up a couple of steeper inclines on your way to the peak. But again, nothing a relative beginner couldn't handle; some friends came from sea level and did the summit and back in one day.

At the summit of Jackson Peak you'll find a large cairn in the middle of a small boulder field with lots of natural rock seating and 360 degree views of Jackson Valley, the Grand Tetons, Cache Peak, the Gros Ventre Wilderness and all the way back to Snow King Mountain above the Town of Jackson. The hike from Goodwin Lake is about 2 hours to the summit. Overall a spectacular and easy hike to one of the best views you can imagine.

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Overall rating: 

Best Overnight Hike

I am a beginner and this was a tough hike to start out with! It was absolutely amazing, worth every step. We started our trek in to Goodwin lake in the late afternoon (after getting lost for a bit, I recommend getting a map). Our mistake was not giving ourselves time to take in the beauty because even though we were rushing we still barely made it to a site. Plenty of campsites, but it didn't matter because we were the only ones out there. The ONLY THING is to bring either tons of bug repellent or nets. The mosquito and biting flies were miserable, didn't matter the time of the day. We woke up in the morning, left our camp set up, and hiked to the top of Jackson Peak where the view blew us away. On our way down we collected our gear and made it back down to the lot. It is worth noting that there are two trails to get to the top of the peak. Right when you get to the lake there is a fork that goes right and left. GO LEFT over the creek, the side with the campsites! The other trail is fine, just incredibly steep and long.


over 4 years ago

Worth Every Step!

It's steep, it's windy, it's rocky BUT it's worth every step! The 360° view of Jackson Hole is unmatched. Yes, there are more beautiful views from other peaks and points but none showcase the Tetons, the valley and the Sleeping Indian with such elegance like Jackson Peak. Sunrise, mid-day, sunset or night Jackson Peak never fails. Meteor showers, lunar eclipses or fireworks Jackson Peak is my place. Hydrate plenty and wear hiking boots rather than hiking shoes, you'll thank me when you go home with no ankle injuries. Also, please stay on the trail, too many opportunities for injury if all of a sudden you get adventurous. Enjoy!

Hiked Jackson Peak

Incredible hike- with amazing view. The lake is wonderful and the entire way there is spectacular.

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