Beautiful, secluded lake at the base of the Grand Teton. Access via unmaintained trail equals rare solitude for dayhikers. Distance: 7 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain: 2400 feet.

Delta Lake is a hidden gem in one of America's busiest national parks, Grand Teton in Wyoming. On paper, Delta Lake should be a hotspot for visitors to Grand Teton with its relatively moderate distance and elevation gain which lies in the realm of most dayhikers. However, this spectacular glacial lake which lies at the base of the Grand Teton is almost unheard of. The reason for the lake's secrecy is the lack of access to reach it. To reach the lake one must traverse an "unmaintained" trail and then navigate a large boulder field which requires some good route finding skills.

To reach Lupine Meadows Trailhead (from Jackson) head north into the park on US191. Make a left at Moose Junction onto Teton Park Road. Stay north on Teton Park Road for just over 7 miles where you will then turn left onto Lupine Meadows Road, it is unpaved but relatively well maintained (my FWD sedan made it no problem). Follow Lupine Meadows Road to the end where you will a parking area and the Lupine Meadows trailhead to begin the hike.

From the Lupine Meadows trailhead, the first mile of the trail is a gentle, steady incline before it banks to the right and begins a steeper ascent up a ridge. This portion of the trail is mainly forested with occasional views of the Tetons presenting themselves. When you reach the junction for the Valley Trail make sure to stay straight toward Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes. The next mile and a half takes you over a series of steady switchbacks through open meadows with commanding views of Jackson Hole and Bradley Lake below. Eventually you will reach another junction where the trail will split to either Garnet Canyon (left) or Surprise/Amphitheater Lakes (straight/right). Make sure to stay straight/right toward Surprise/Amphitheater Lakes. The first switchback after the junction you will leave the maintained trail.

The "unmaintained" trail is not hard to find but easy to miss if you're not looking. The trail will quickly descend and just as quickly mellow out. This portion of the trail it is easy to see why it is "unmaintained" with several fallen trees creating obstacles. While the trees are not difficult to navigate around it is very easy to lose sight of the faint trail. This is where having good route finding skills comes in handy. After a few tenths of a mile the trail will open up into the first boulder field. Look for cairns to guide you to stay on the trail.

The trail continues after the first boulder field then entering a much larger boulder field which marks the final 500 feet of elevation gain to the lake. Keep an eye out for cairns to help maintain your course and take it slow, while not a technical scramble by any means it still takes some balance and careful navigation. Follow the boulder field up until you reach the foot of lake. Be sure to bring a camera and stay awhile as the view is gorgeous!

To return retrace your steps back to the trailhead and your car.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
Show More
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Features
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Best Hike In The Tetons And No Crowds!

If I had to look at one alpine lake for the rest of my life i'd pick here! Such a great way to escape the crowds, only saw one other group at the lake! Fun scrambling to get there and as long as you follow the cairns and water flow it's hard to get lost. Epic mountain views and the water is unreal up there!

Rough Hike But Worth It!!

One of the most amazing views of the Tetons. Such an epic place. Would highly recommend it.

over 1 year ago

Gorgeous

I got to the Lupine Meadows Trailhead around 8:30 on a Monday and the parking lot was already pretty crowded. It took me around 2 hours to get to the lake. The cairns through the boulder fields are not very obvious but there are actually packed down trails and you don't go through either boulder field for very long. I thought this would be a pretty remote hike and there wouldn't be a lot of people, and from the comments about it being an "unmaintained" trail I thought it would provide to be pretty difficult route finding. This was not the case. The trail seems to get quite a bit of traffic and has been pretty packed down, making it a rather obvious route the majority of the way. I did this hike alone and had no problems. I stayed at the lake for about an hour and saw around 20 other people. Definitely worth it.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Backpack the South Fork of Garnet Canyon

To start this trip you will need to go to one of the local ranger stations for a backcountry permit, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, etc.

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Backpack to Surprise Lake in Grand Teton NP

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Hike to Amphitheater Lake

The trail starts at Lupine Meadows Trailhead. You will see signs as you drive down the Teton Park Road. If heading north and you go past the Jenny Lake Visitor Center you have gone too far.

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