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.

Read More

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

Leave a Review

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

over 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.

Stay Nearby

Teton Village, Wyoming

Glamping Of Jackson Hole

Glamping of Jackson Hole is a summer glamping destination located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. We provide a luxury wilderness camping experience only 20 minutes from Jackson Hole down Fall...

From $500/night

Alta, Wyoming

Reunion Flat

Overview Reunion Flat Campground is located in beautiful Teton Canyon in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Hiking, backpacking and horseback riding are popular activities in this scenic region.R...

Alta, Wyoming

Teton Canyon

Overview Teton Canyon Campground is located in beautiful Teton Canyon at an elevation of approximately 6,500 feet. Driggs, Idaho is just 11 miles away. Hiking, backpacking and horseback riding are ...

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Adventure Townhouse

Nestled in Jackson Hole between Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Snake River, our 3BR, 3BA log townhouse is the perfect home base for up to 8 adventurers. With cozy rustic décor and easy access t...

From $183/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Backpack to Death Canyon

    Day 1: This trip begins at the Death Canyon Trailhead. Try to arrive early, as it gets crowded and various groups day hike from here. After the first few miles, you’ll encounter Phelps Lake. You’ll have several opportunities for photos, and they ...

    26 miles

  • Backpack to Alaska Basin via Death Canyon

    Death Canyon Trailhead is easily accessed by heading south on Moose-Wilson Rd. from Grand Teton National Park Headquarters for 3 miles. Once at the junction turn right onto an uneven dirt road and go north 0.7 miles to the parking area.Day 1: (8.3...

    28.2 miles 7500 ft gain

  • Hike to the Patrol Cabin at Death Canyon

    Your adventure begins at 7,000 feet along lodge pole pines and small creeks. Just a few minutes into the hike, you will reach the Valley Trail Junction. Stay left and continue towards Death Canyon. The first mile of the trail climbs 400 feet throu...

    8 miles 2000 ft gain

  • Hike to Huckleberry Point, Grand Teton NP

    Getting There: Coming from Jackson Hole, enter Grand Teton National Park and turn left onto Moose-Wilson Road. Continue southwest until you come to Death Canyon trailhead on your right. There is a large parking lot beside the trailhead, as well as...

    4 miles