Hike to Phelps Lake

4 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by IdleTheoryBus

Enjoy epic cliff jumping with equally as great scenery! It's a moderate hike to one of the best swimming holes in the Tetons. 

Don’t look down! You’re about to cliff jump 40 feet from a granite boulder into a lake cold with Glacier runoff. This short and beautiful hike, with a four hundred foot climb, will lead you to our favorite summertime activity…jumping and swimming!

If you park at the Preserve trailhead, plan to get there early during summer months; the lot fills up fast. Using this trail the hike is flat out to Phelps Lake. When you reach the lake take a right in a north eastern direction and in a mile or so you will reach the jumping rock.

The insider/adventurous way to go is to park by the trailhead for Death Canyon. This trailhead is #12 on the paper park map. Down the dirt road there is unlimited parking, a major plus. Just don’t drive too far down the road; it becomes four wheel drive in a very obvious way. On this alternate entrance you will hike up 450 feet to Phelps Lake Overlook for a fantastic view down on the lake. Hike down the other side of the overlook and take a left south eastward around the lake to reach the jumping rock. This direction is a bit more strenuous but it is the way to go if you prefer quiet hikes.

The jumping rock is on the east side of the lake, and is visible from most open sections of its circumference. Its backdrop, looking north west into Death Canyon, is simply majestic. Likely, you will hear the screams of others taking the plunge as you near the water. Follow them to the adventure.

The top of the rock is wide enough for small groups of people to hang out, sun, and watch others leap. Be considerate of others on busy days and don’t occupy the space the entire afternoon.

In the Tetons, you must be bear aware. There are often black bears and grizzlies around the lake. Bear spray is recommended by the rangers, and we did see a bit of scat. Make sure to bring some food, maybe an adult beverage. Kids love this place; they'll take the plunge over and over. You should too; as today's deep philosophers put it, YOLO.

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Tags

Chillin
Photography
Swimming
Hiking
Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

great spot for jumping

We started on the Death Canyon Trail because parking was booked at the other trailhead. We walked about 1 mile to the trailhead from our parking spot (just before you get to 4-wheel drive road). It was a leisurely walk. Then we hit the trail to the phelps lake overview. Very scenic. Take some pics. Then we hit the switchbacks down into the lake. When you are able hang a left. And follow the trail to the jumping rock. We arrived about 10:45. Not a lot of jumpers. Our kids had a blast jumping and swimming. The water is crystal clear, cold and about 23-25 foot jump. Great way to break up the hike. Total it was about 7 miles back to our car at the Death Canyon Trailhead. We did not see any bears but because of reviews we took bear spray. Happy to have it but not use it.

Must Do

If you’re in Teton NP, you have to take the time to do some cliff jumping. The first time I went, there was a ton of deer and the walked right up to us and smelt our hands and then went on their way. Water is cold but it’s refreshing after a hike in.

🥈 Contributor

about 3 years ago

Make it a day

You can spend a whole day here. Bring some lunch, and hang out on the rock for hours. Pro tip: If you're going to try to flip, time it right; otherwise a painful, painful belly flop is in store.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 3 years ago

must do

This is a great afternoon adventure.. bring a couple inter-tubes to chill on in the water after you get your fix of jumping off the boulders.

Awesome!

Great opportunity to get the adrenaline pumping. Great for beginners but fun for all, just jump far and you'll be grand. Went on Memorial Day and the waters cold but bearable. Just make sure you park at the Preserve or you'll have a 6 mile one way hike through back country to get to the hike. We did a 16 mile loop but know that that's not for everyone. Also be aware on the long trail there's still plenty of snow and fallen trees so it's hard to find the trail at times. Great spot though!

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