DISTANCE
19.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4064 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

hiking
8 months ago

My wife and I did this hike in 3 days for our first backcountry camping trip. While we did a copious amount of planning and research for the Yellowstone portion of our trip later that week, we most assuredly did not for Grand Teton, and took whatever walk-in permit the park had available. Needless to say, we were not prepared for how demanding this hike would be.

We started our journey from String Lake and made our way up Paintbrush Divide, where we found an incredible campsite on a ledge overlooking Leigh Lake to spend our first night.

All was well, until on day 2 I was hit with a bout of altitude sickness. Moving a few feet per minute, it was the most miserable 4 miles of hiking I've ever experienced—rounding every corner and seeing more incline was a constant blow to my psyche. Once we reached the top, however, it was all worth it, as the views were breathtaking. As soon as we started heading down the backside into Cascade Canyon, I immediately felt like myself again. We stopped at the pristine Lake Solitude to fill up and made our way down the trail a bit to set up camp for the night.

Day 3 was a slow descent back towards Jenny Lake, where we were ecstatic to see the first signs of the parking lot, barely able to contain our excitement at the thought of taking off our hiking boots and dropping our packs.

TL;DR This was an absolutely stunning hike—we just weren't prepared for the physical toll it would take.