Holly Lake Trail is a 12.4 mile out and back trail located near Moose, Wyoming that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until September.

Length12.4 miElevation gain2,749 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingLakeWildflowersFeeNo dogs
Description
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Contact
Getting There

Grand Teton National Park charges a fee to enter that varies by vehicle or if entering on foot, horse, or bike. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/fees.htm.

Grand Teton National Park P.O. Drawer 170 Moose, WY 83012-0170 Information (307) 739-3300 More information: http://www.nps.gov/grte/contacts.htm Wyoming Business Council Tourism Office, Frank Norris Jr. Travel Center, I-25 & College Drive , Cheyenne, WY, 82002-0660, Phone: 307-777-7777, Fax: 307-777-6472

Directions from Moose: Travel north on the Teton Park Road to North Jenny Lake Junction. At the Jct. turn left and follow signs to parking for the Leigh Lake Trailhead.

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Reviews (90)
Photos (617)
Activities (65)
Completed (392)
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Mit Bour
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 10, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky
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Andrew Dalton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking
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Daniel Brookhouse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

Excellent and beautiful. We had some snow flurries on the hike at the higher elevations. The variety of the trail types made this hike very enjoyable. We saw a black bear within 20 yards of us, walking through the creek bed. Also mid way back to parking we had a cow moose within 15 feet of the trail. The challenge of hiking to Holly Lake was worth the trip with the view of the lake and surrounding terrain.

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David Custer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 25, 2020
Hiking
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Rafe Preston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2020
HikingGreat!

Would give this five stars but there are better lake destinations in the Tetons. Best parts of this hike are the overview of String Lake on the southern loop and a couple of the other overlooks farther up towards the top. The lake itself is nice and less trafficked than say Solitude. Also the hiking around String is a great opportunity for Moose and other wildlife viewing. I am blown away at the review of someone doing this hike in 3.5 hours and supposedly just "a bit of jogged". I hustled pretty good on this hike and managed it in 4 hours and 50 minutes with just a couple pee stops, one Moose viewing, and a 15 minute break at the Holly Lake. I was hurting on the last 4 miles! Realistically this is a 5.5-6.5 hour hike and likely more for a more casual hiker.

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Sam G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020
Hiking

Hiking around the lakes below is beautiful, easy walking paths and clear water. Heading up paintbrush canyon is awesome and the lake up top is serene with lots of places to relax on the shore to enjoy the view and the scene. A lot of elevation but very gradually over distance. Fall colors changing and looking amazing!

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Nicole White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Molly Blakowski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 27, 2020
Hiking

There and back in less than 3.5 hours with a bit of jogging. Great trail.

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Kenneth Dembny
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
Hiking

The thousands of brushstrokes that make up Paint Brush Canyon offer a magnificent panorama. The trails are well marked and in good condition. I would recommend walking up into the canyon from string Lake, sense you get to see the whole Canyon in front of you as you hike. I stopped at the screen field because I didn’t want to navigate that up and back, and because of the impending weather forecast. But I have no doubt the view looking down onto the Lake Solitude is amazing. Cascade Canyon Trail and the turn to Lake Solitude is a great hike. But in many respects hiking Paint Brush Canyon is better. The scenery is beautiful, there are fewer people, and you feel more in touch with nature. This is definitely a moderately strenuous hike, but I definitely think it should be on your “must do“ list. Enjoy.

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James Y
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

The trail is not difficulty but really really long but the view at the end made it totally worth the effort. Spotted a couple of beavers around the lake as well.

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Bobbi Botsford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

This doesn't seem to include the walk from the Leigh Lake trailhead/part of the Strand Lake loop, which you need to take to get to the Paintbrush Canyon trail. Gorgeous views. It gets a little more strenuous toward the top, that's for sure. As someone from a much more flat state, it was difficult. But that's what breaks are for. Saw plenty of marmots and pika. Wildflowers were still blooming too.

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PJ Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking

Gradual vert trail that brought us into contact with many multi-day trekkers wrapping up their journeys. The sprit of the folks on this trail made my wife admit overnight hikes are appealing.

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Brandon Zibell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
Hiking

Thanks for the previous detailed reviews and wanted to do the same. Liked the variety of pine forest, paintbrush valley, water falls and final push to the lake. No wildlife on our journey but really enjoyed the route. We left parking lot at 8:40am (3 spots left! ) and arrived at the lake at 11:30 as we were hustling with hardly any stops. Stayed 30 minutes (cold and brisk wind) and down at parking lot again by 2:30. Saw maybe 8 other hiking parties the entire time so certainly not over run. Liked the gradual climb (save energy for the end- not so gradual!!) and the majestic views.

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Irina Burke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Nature tripsGreat!Rocky

This trail was great! We did this one on a whim and started about 11am got done around 5:30pm. It’s a strenuous hike so hiking poles are recommended if you have bad knees or what not. We took a few breaks to catch our breath. Absolutely stunning views and so so worth it! Took a dip in holly lake at the end, crisp and refreshing!

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Todd Spang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

Go early, we hit it at 6am We saw 4 Moose, 1 bear, 2 elk, 2 marmot and plenty of Pika Was packed on way down at 10am

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Lori Sunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

I really enjoyed this day hike. We were concerned about what the Teton trails might look like during high season in the middle of COVID, but this wasn't too bad. We saw other hikers of course, but it wasn't nearly as congested as other areas of the park. We started around 9:30am, which is a bit late for my taste, but I was pleased to still see several spots at the String Lake lot. I want to clear up a couple of things before I get into my review: 1.) A number of other reviews suggest this trail is "very hard" or "strenuous". This trail is a challenge to be sure, but it is doable to any reasonably fit person. Don't let it scare you. 2.) Both my husband and I though this trail was closer to 14 miles (round trip) than the 12.5 and 13 miles some other books and reviews said, so just keep that in mind for expectation management purposes. The beginning is fairly flat as you hike around String Lake and across the bridge dividing it from Leigh Lake. This is where we were treated to a small black bear. This area is pretty and nicely shaded with great views of the lakes and mountains. About 1.5 miles in you reach the entry to Paintbrush Canyon Trail and that's where you start to gain some elevation. For the next 4-ish miles you are in a Lodgepole Pine Forest, but is still pretty manageable and protected from the sun. The guide books will tell you to look out for bears around here as there are a number of huckleberry bushes, but we didn't see bears- we did walk right up on a massive moose in the trail around a curve that raised our heart rates a bit. We backed away slowly and he gave us a side eye and continued on with his lunch. We backed away and let him move off the trail a good ways before we attempted to pass. Shortly after, the trail opened up into Paintbrush Canyon. This was my favorite part of the hike. The views of the canyon were stunning, there were fantastic wildflowers on display and, to the left, we saw a perfect Moose habitat so decided to look for a moment and- BAM, spotted another one! If you aren't up for the full 14-ish mile round trip, you could turn around here and still have a nice little hike. Next starts the most challenging part of the hike which is the push to Holly Lake itself. The incline really starts to steepen, and there is a stretch of very dense chest high brush with a narrow path. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my hand on the bear spray during this stretch. Once this stretch was complete it was basically a steep hike to the top on a boulder field. At this point you become more exposed to the sun (time to refresh that SPF!) but the altitude and the brisk creek next to you will keep it from feeling too hot. Caution: Don't be fooled by the decoy lake that's about .3 miles from the top. That is not Holly Lake (sorry, you'll really want it to be at this point). Keep going, it's worth it. Holly Lake is a beautiful lake to grab your lunch, soak you feet in the cool water, and celebrate your labor before heading back down. If you're tougher than me you will head up to paintbrush divide. I did not. There was a little bit of snow around the lake but not on the trail (as of late July 2020). It took us about six hours round trip and we are relatively fit (but not olympians) 40-somethings with desk jobs during the week.

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Jason Selzer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
Hiking

Great trail from Stand Lake area to paintbrush divide with Samuel. Lots of animals including a moose. The last portion of the trail to the divide is in pretty rough shape. Not for the faint of heart.

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Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike. I was at the trailhead at 7:30 am to get parking. I used All Trails for navigation but there are signs at all major intersections. The first 3.5 miles parallels the lake and then go through thick woods with occasional sights of surrounding crags through the trees. At around 3.5 miles you come to the first of many falls and the start of the lower Paintbrush Canyon camping spots. The next half mile is in and out of the trees. At 4 miles you burst out of the trees to spectacular views. The hike is a mile longer than what is posted on All Trails.

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Mark Bitter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Did this hike today, July 21, 2020. Both my watch and my wife's GPS watch were closer to 13.5 miles than the stated 12.4 miles. There is no longer any snow to cross, although if you are going on to Huckleberry Divide there was some snow where the trail takes off from Holly Lake. Also, you don't need any water shoes - only the soles of my boots got wet on a few stream crossings. The best part of this hike are the great views of Jackson and Leigh lakes on the way down!

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Geri Rosenberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views in the canyon and up the switchbacks! The climbs were quite moderate (not steep) which was a nice change from what I’m used to. Snow is no longer a problem at the lake—a few short stretches you can’t avoid, but there was no need for the micro spikes we brought. As to continuing along the pass, there’s still too much snow to do the whole loop safely. We started at 8:45am and barely saw anyone else until we reached the lake, except for two moose who were hanging out directly on the trail!

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Kristin George
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
HikingGreat!RockySnow

This is a MUST do in the park. Breathtakinng views throughout, moderate grade for most of the hike, then gets steep the last couple miles. Snow stopped us about a half mile from the lake, but others pushed through. Despite it being a holiday weekend, we saw very few people.

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Buster Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
HikingSnow

Paintbrush Canyon is beautiful. Starting out in the woods, climbing to an open canyon with waterfalls and a river. Incredible views of the lakes below as you climb. Once you pass the boulder field the snow starts shortly after. The lake is completely frozen and there is no visible trail - it is all covered in snow. Poles would have been helpful. Make sure you have all trails saved for holly lake so you can find it.

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lorna sharon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2019
Hiking

This is by far the most beautiful trail in GTNP. The views are spectacular, and the fall colors add to the beauty. Parts of the hike were a challenge, but I am 75 years old and my husband is 72. We plan to hike it again this fall.

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Kimberly Nolan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2019
Hiking

Completed this trail as an out and back hike from Paintbrush Canyon trailhead to Holly Lake and beyond to Paintbrish Divide. This trail is in excellent condition, a continual but gradual gain of elevation over the 6 miles to reach Holly Lake. Paintbrush Canyon, Holly Lake, and the Divide do not disappoint and provide great views the entirety of this hike. Go to the "Nolan Ventures" channel on YouTube to view a detailed video of this amazing hike.

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peter senger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2019
Hiking

did hike on 7/7 and made it all the way to Holly Lake. Last .75 miles was snow - a few sketchy spots, but were able to make it to the lake. Lake was 50% thawed. Absolutely stunning views on the way down. Appears there was a recent avalanche that did significant damage near the lake.

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Bergen Fuglestad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2019
Hiking

too snowy to make it to the lake for us but the views were wonderful, we did run into a grizzly in the lower huckleberry field

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