One of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park is the trail to Hidden Falls. With views of beautiful Jenny Lake, and the most accessible waterfall in the park, it’s easy to see why.
Grand Teton’s Hidden Falls hike is also one of the best trails for kids in the park. If you take the shuttle boat, it’s an easy and short out-and-back hike.
We knew from our research that we wanted to do the Hidden Falls hike, and possibly Inspiration Point.
The trail to both of these hikes starts at the Jenny Lake Trailhead, near the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center. We showed up a little before noon in July, which was a really busy time! I would definitely recommend showing up at 7-8am if you want to beat the crowds. That just didn’t happen to work out for us that day!
All the parking lots were full and cars were parking all along the road (which is typical for summer months).
If you choose to do the Hidden Falls or the Inspiration Point trail, you can either do the full hike around the lake, or shorten it considerably by taking the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake.
According to the National Park website, The Hidden Falls Trail is 4.9 miles if you choose to take the South Jenny Lake Loop trail (around the lake), or 1 mile if you choose to use the shuttle boat.
Inspiration Point is about half a mile past Hidden Falls, all uphill.
Jenny Lake Shuttle Boat
The shuttle boats run continuously throughout the day, departing every 15 minutes. For this reason, there is no reservation for the shuttle.
The path to the shuttle starts behind the Visitor’s Center. When you get to the intersection in the path, take a left to continue to the dock.
You will purchase your tickets directly at the boat dock. An adult round trip ticket is $20. Children (age 2 to 11) round trip tickets are $12. Senior (age 62 and up) round trip is $17. (Prices correct as of November 2022)
You may also decide to purchase one-way tickets and make the hike back.
The last shuttle boat will leave at the posted closing time. Check the website for hours – they change by the season.
If you miss the last boat back, you will be stuck making the 2 mile hike back around the lake! (But I hear it’s not bad at all, and honestly, I wish we would have done it – you will see why later!)
Hiking to Grand Teton’s Hidden Falls
Once we departed the shuttle on the west side of Jenny Lake, we headed south on the trail to Hidden Falls.
This part of the trail is pretty flat and easy, with a few sections of stone steps.
Eventually, you will reach a wooden bridge crossing over Cascade Creek.
Once you have crossed the bridge, the turn for Hidden Falls will be to the right. You can see a view of hidden falls from the trail, or take a little detour to get to the base of the falls.
From the view of Hidden Falls, you can choose to turn around and go back, or continue up to Inspiration Point.
The hike from Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point isn’t far, but it is steep, and you will be walking along an exposed edge. We decided against it on this trip because the little one was done, and we were ready for lunch!
When we made it back to the boat dock to board the shuttle, there was a pretty huge line waiting. We started in line at about the one hour mark, but below you will see the 30 minute mark.
We debated walking around and skipping the shuttle, but in the end decided to wait it out. I think hiking back around would actually have been the quicker route.
The wait was made easier by the entertainment of the ground squirrels begging for food. (Don’t feed the wildlife! Don’t give in to the cuteness!)
What to Bring on Your Hike
What you decide to bring on your hike will be dependent upon the season and weather. Here is what we brought along for our short summer hike:
- Enough water for everyone (we brought a couple of bottles & a Camelback hydration pack)
- Snacks (We brought trail mix & fruit snacks)
- Bear Spray (We didn’t see any bears this time, but several people who were in the shuttle line with us did!)
- Bug Spray (We didn’t end up needing it, but heard the mosquitos can get bad down by the lake!)
- Park map (Grab one at the visitor’s center or download one from the National Parks app!)
After the Hike
After finishing our Grand Teton Hidden Falls hike, we walked through the little store and the kids got slushies.
In hindsight, I would’ve liked to have packed us a picnic lunch and hung out by Jenny Lake enjoying the views after our hike.
We were definitely ready for lunch and stopped to eat at Dornan’s Chuckwagon Grill. It was a perfect stop because it had casual outdoor seating with an incredible view, and there were games to entertain the kids.
The food was ok – standard burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese type of meal.
Dornan’s is located just outside of the south pay gate of Grand Teton National Park.
This was such a beautiful and easy hike to do with kids! If you are planning a trip to the Tetons with your family, I would definitely recommend Grand Teton’s Hidden Falls hike for all ages!
Next, read our Ultimate Guide to National Parks for Families.
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