Paintbrush Canyon - Cascade Canyon Loop is a 21.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Moran, Wyoming that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until September.

Length21.9 miElevation gain4,229 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyRockyScrambleSnowFeeNo dogs
Description
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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. Strenuous loop starting and ending at String Lake that goes up Paintbrush Canyon and down Cascade Canyon. The route visits Holly Lake, Lake Solitude, Inspiration Point, and Hidden Falls along the way. Lingering snow in the pass that covers the steep talus slopes at the top of Paintbrush Canyon can be treacherous to pass so be aware of current conditions.

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Reviews (92)
Photos (4,197)
Activities (46)
Completed (376)
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Joe Doss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 24, 2020
HikingIcyScrambleSnow

We started at the Leigh Lake Trailhead and the first four miles to Paintbrush were steadily uphill and manageable. From there it continued to be uphill but the snow conditions made it challenging. The trail was difficult to follow and thankfully someone had gone up recently and we could follow their tracks. The final half mile to get to Paintbrush Divide was a bit sketchy. Without poles we wouldn’t have been able to work our way all the way there. Spikes would have been helpful. The top of the divide was very windy and we weren’t able to stay very long. Getting from the divide to Lake Solitude was a lot of post-holing, very windy and cold. Once you get to Lake Solitude and beyond into Cascade Canyon it’s a very beautiful and rewarding downhill hike to Jenny Lake. The total loop was 21 miles and well worth it

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Wondering On
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Hiking
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Adam Lohr
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HikingGreat!

One of the best hikes we have ever done. My wife and I are moderate hikers and this one did push us at times, mostly from the elevation gain in the second half of paintbrush. The trail was well maintained and the views were spectacular. Can’t recommend this trail enough.

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Travis Speight
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous trail. A fair amount of snow already up by the pass. Still doable with spikes or some additional traction.

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Michael May
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingIcy

Used micro spikes from holly lake to lake solitude (>9000ft). Kind of wish I had trekking poles for the top for some extra sense of security. There were a couple points where an ice axe for self arrest may have been needed. A lot of the hillside was iced over but rocks were not evenly covered.

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Ginny Miller
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BackpackingIcy

Beautiful trail. Saw foxes right by our backcountry camp site in the canyon. Definitely strenuous hike, as depicted. We had to traverse some snow/ice towards the peak on a step cliff. I personally am not afraid of heights, but I would not encourage someone who is to visit this trail.

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Corey Hobbs
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HikingGreat!

i liked it.

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Kayetan Wozniak
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Hiking
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Joy Taing
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HikingIcy

Did this as a day hike starting up paintbrush and down cascade canyon on 9/28 on a weekday. About 9 hours total with 45 minute lunch break at lake solitude and a few snack/water filter breaks in between. Totally doable as a day hike and was easier than I thought it would be. Gradual elevation gain for most of the part until paintbrush divide where it gets a little steeper but nothing too challenging. (For reference, I’m an avid hiker/backpacker and have no problems with 3000ft+ gains). The 20+ miles passed by fast especially with all the spectacular views. Easily one of the best trails I’ve been on. Solitude lake was epic, and that alone was worth it. Started at 745am and only a few people going up paintbrush but coming down cascade canyon in late afternoon had a bunch of people. Like a lot, even for a weekday. Wasn’t as windy as I was expecting at any parts of the trail. Temps were mild-mid to high 50s. Lots of spots to filter water.

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Salvador Salinas
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Joy Taing
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Quite possibly one of the best trails I’ve been on, just like everyone else says. Did it as a day hike and was a bit anxious knowing that it would be 20ish miles, but it was easier than I thought. 9 hours total, with about 45 min break at lake solitude and few short snack/water filter breaks. Up paintbrush and down cascade canyon. Started at 730am on a weekday and only saw a few people the entire time up to paintbrush divide. The fall colors are awesome going up paintbrush canyon. Views are spectacular coming down paintbrush divide and gets even better from solitude lake to cascade canyon junction. Wasn’t crazy windy as I thought it would be. But reviews are right about the amount of people on cascade canyon trail. So many people.

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Victor Brouk
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Hiking
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Darlene Hensley
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Backpacking
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Joseph Daniel
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One of the best hikes I've done in the U.S. Props to people that do the entire loop in a day, we camped 2 nights in the backcountry, 1 night would have been enough but 2 nights made for some incredible camp views. The divide is sketchy for anyone with a fear of heights but we did it with trekking poles only despite some snow and slippery patches. Did manage to get off trail on a not great section of the divide going straight up so keep an eye out, that was not fun. Views coming down from the divide through Cascade are INCREDIBLE. Saw a black bear, weasel, red fox, and mule deer and lots of fresh bear scat in paintbrush.

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Grant Gangeness
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
Hiking

This is a fantastic and challenging day hike. We only did a little less than half the loop from String Lake to Holly Lake. It was a 13.5 mile out and back day hike. Saw multiple backpacking groups throughout the day. There are waterfalls, vista views, forests, rivers, and alpine lakes. It has it all.

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Christine Holding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020

Beautiful loop up Paintbrush and down Cascade. 9 hrs RT. The weather was perfect. Started at 30 degrees and warmed up to 60 by the time we crossed the divide. About 30 feet of snow to cross before the divide. Fine without spikes. The fall colors are spectacular and we saw moose, mountain goats, deer, and a red fox. Plenty of water along the trail all day. One of the prettiest hikes in the Tetons.

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James Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 30, 2020
BackpackingGreat!IcyRockyScrambleSnow

Did the hike in 3 legs. String to Holly and camped. Holly to North Cascade and camped. Then North Cascade out to String. Saw a black bear on the way up, then a grizzly and 2 moose on the way down. Incredible views. Snowed the first day so the top was a bit slick but passed through with only trekking poles. Would do it in one day with a daypack if we do it again.

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Brad Spudic
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BackpackingGreat!

Did this in late September 2020. Absolutely breathtaking! Both the views and the fact that I was really out of shape after the general situation that was 2020. I hiked up Paintbrush Canyon over the divide, and camped near Lake Solitude on the North Fork Cascade Trail, which was somewhere near 13 miles for the first day. Very few people on this stretch of trail as its a bit tougher of an ascent compared to the Cascade Trail and getting over the divide is a little sketchy with all the snow, ice, and rock you need to scramble a little bit (or I did something wrong). Saw a lot more people on day 2 as I got off the North Fork and back onto the Cascade Trail heading back toward Jenny Lake. Going this route makes for a relatively easy day 2 if you choose to make it a two dayer, but its doable in one if you start early enough. Plenty of places to get water from along the trail.

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Teague Walsh-Felz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

Fantastic hike with breathtaking views. Early starts are best as paintbrush divide can get gusty, especially in the afternoon. There's about 30 feet of light snowpack you have to cross on the paintbrush side heading up to the divide, I did it in runners and trekking poles no problem on 9/25/20. Once you hit solitude lake be prepared for more foot traffic.

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Luke Hester
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Definitely the most beautiful hike I have ever done but definitely the hardest. My wife and I did it counter-clockwise and I think that is the way to go for light, views, and difficulty. If you are scared of heights like my wife is then the section climbing to the top of the divide will be pretty sketchy for you in parts. The top of the divide is also incredibly windy. We saw a few moose and pika in Cascade. I highly recommend this hike but only if you know you can handle the distance. My recording had it at 23.5 miles. I think it would be best enjoyed as a backpacking trip.

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Luke Hester
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HikingGreat!
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Jasleen Kaur
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Hiking

Amazing hike with beautiful views! My bf and I completed this hike today, hiking CCW starting from string lake trailhead. I agree with other reviews that this is the best way; however, we saw a ton of people going the opposite way, including those with really full packs, so it’s definitely doable. The only comment to add is that it was crazy crazy windy as you reach paintbrush divide. The wind was strong enough to push you over if you didn’t have proper footing, and to take anything you weren’t clutching tightly onto. P.s. saw a few moose! P.p.s recording unfortunately cut out for a bit in the middle

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