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Epic hikes and wildlife

Level Contributor
10 posts
1 review
Epic hikes and wildlife

We're in the park for 4 nights in early August. Our family of 4 has planned three good half to full day hikes. Being that we're all into wildlife and photography, we wanted any expert insight on the best times of the day (early am dawn or late day just before dusk), best starting points, etc...

Hike #1 - Death Canyon. Looks like two starting point options. The main trailhead (other posts mention parking could be further back on the service road, no issues) or from the Rockefeller Preserve Center (we know this will add a few extra miles to the hike). We do want to climb up to the patrol cabin/ static peak trail junction. Looking for insight on which starting point provides a better chance of wildlife encounters by doing an early am or late day hike?

Hike #2 - Taggart/Bradley Lake loop - We're considering our starting point from the Lupine Meadows trailhead. Is that a good route. Not worried about the distance. Again, looking for best wildlife options either early or late day.

Hike #3 - Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude. We've done this once before (about 10 years ago) and had a mid-morning start. Spent too long at the lake and got to the last boat shuttle with minutes to spare. We were lucky. We really want to do this again because of Moose and Bear encounters but is there a hike we're missing that is just as amazing?

3 replies to this topic
Moose, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
Level Contributor
7,737 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Epic hikes and wildlife

>Looking for insight on which starting point provides a better chance of wildlife encounters by doing an early am or late day hike?

Of the 2 starting points, imo starting at LSR Preserve gives you a greater chance of seeing wildlife than starting at Death Canyon Rd. Both of these approaches intersect at the north end of Phelps Lake. Most of the wildlife I have seen on this trail has been at the north end of Phelps Lake (look carefully for moose in the willows) and farther out Death Canyon, which you'll pass no matter where you start. For viewpoints, however, starting at Death Canyon Rd takes you past the overlook of Phelps Lake, which is real pretty. This route, however, has 500' of switchbacks just beyond the overlook, which is avoided if you come by the LSR Preserve.

>Is that a good route.

It's mostly flat and wooded, not scenic, not likely wildlife spotting. I'd just park at Taggart Lake parking lot and start from there. If you go right toward Bradley at the fork (rather than left toward Taggart), there are great dead-on views of the Tetons down that trail a short distance. Great photos.

>is there a hike we're missing that is just as amazing

Even though it's a busy trail, Cascade Canyon does seem to have a lot of wildlife, as well as being a pretty hike. If you want something quieter but also scenic, you could hike Paintbrush Canyon (just north of Cascade). It's scenic, more elevation gain and rockier, but no guaranty of more wildlife than Cascade.

You need to carry bear spray on these trails.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 01:34
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
1,365 posts
2. Re: Epic hikes and wildlife

What an awesome post Bill. Heed this man's advice.

In the first week of July 2006 I was charged by a cow moose earlier morning after popping out of my tent wanting to pee and not get hordes of mosquitoes into it before packing at the campsite on Phelps Lake. I was headed to Mt. Hunt Divide and lets just say that's one of but a few times over too many years I came close to staining my bureau. This is a great hike; get that early start, maybe on your way back if it's hot you swim. The patrol cabin is a worthy goal, with an earlier start no hurry.

Bradley and Taggart makes for a wonderful outing. If you're tired just do the beautiful 3.2 total miles by some estimate.

I had a hatch of mosquitoes between String and Leigh Lakes May 31. guessing they might be down earlier this year, it's been warm, but for all I know the little vampires are adapting. Paintbrush is awesome, if you can make a 12 plus mile day with good elevation gain Holly Lake might change your life. A long time ago some of us starting calling Lake Solitude Lake Multitude. These are tow Different sides of Paintbrush Divide. May they both inspire you to return and fill in that classic loop.

Assuming you're smart enough to not go through Grand Teton without bearspary you might consider a close by classic in the Bridger-Teton. Jackson Peak, Cream Puff Peak, South of Teton Pass, Granite Hi-Line... All sorts of wonderful things that dwarf Grand Teton and Yellowstone combined as the 48 States second largest National Forest.

May those trails rise to meet you.

Level Contributor
10 posts
1 review
3. Re: Epic hikes and wildlife

Thanks Bill and Absarokanaut for the great advice!

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