Granite Highline Trail Gros Ventre Wilderness
Granite Highline Trail
Horseback rider looking toward Gros Peak and Granite highline Trailfrom Little Horse Creek divide, not part of this trip.
Granite Highline Trail
The assent/decent to the Granite Creek trailhead goes over ridge in background left.

The Granite Highline Trail is often overlooked due to Jackson Hole¡s embarrassment of nature¡s riches. It is a beautiful high elevation trek up through the boreal forest of Cache Creek and across the sub-alpine regions of the Horse Creek Drainage and Granite Creek Drainage. A rugged, variable-length day hike, or a 2-day hike featuring access to several high peaks the trail is about 15 miles long. After the initial climb on either side the trail remains remarkably level for most of its length. Much of this trail is in open meadow with groves of aspen and conifer here and there and much of the trail is in the shadow of the Granite peaks above.

The western trailhead is outside the town of Jackson and is actually Cache Creek Trail for the first 8.7 miles; the Granite Highline Trail officially starts at the Gros Ventre Wilderness boundary at the divide between Horse and Cache Creeks. Before you get to the Horse Creek Divide a trail splits off to the north that can take you to the headwaters of Flat Creek, Cache Peak, or on to Turquoise Lake another great destination.

Horse Creek Drainage
Clark Wheeldon looking towards Jackson somewhere above the Highline Trail

From the Wilderness Boundary the Granite Highline Trail traverses the south side of 11,180 foot tall Gros Peak maintaining about 9,000 foot elevation till it gets to the Little Granite Divide This traverse has three trails that split off to the south the first is at the divide and it drops you into North Horse Creek. The second drops you into Blackman Creek and the third right before the Little Granite Creek Divide drops you off into South Horse Creek all three of these trails merge downstream. There is not any public access for Horse Creek where it enters the Snake River near Hoback but you can access it through Camp Creek 5 miles south of Hoback. This is steep country and this high elevation traverse provides a great perch for the view.

Highline Trail looking down into Horse Creek
Looking down into Horse Creek from Granite Highline Trail

After you pass Little Granite Divide the trail continues to hold steady at about 9,000 feet and here you get some great views of 10,808-foot Pinnacle Peak which soon you will be traversing the south side of the south side of. Little Granite Creek Trail splits off soon after the divide and is a quicker exit from the Highline Trail. The trail holds steady until you get to where it begins its rapid decent to the Granite Creek trailhead at 6,800 feet.

horseback riders Granite Highline Trail Little Granite Creek Drainage
Just east of the Little Granite Creek Divide

The Gros Ventre Mountains are home to elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bear, wolves, mountain lion and many other species. Deer, moose and elk are spotted regularlythe rest are more allusive.

As the Granite Highline Trail follows no waterway accept for the Cache Creek portion you really have to work for fishing opportunities. I have no fishing info on Cache Creek but I would thing there would be some in there. The North Fork, South Fork and main Fork of Horse Creek all have good fishing for native cutthroat, as does little Granite Creek, you will not find any meadow meanders on these cascading streams, all of these are major detours from the Granite Highline trail. Granite Creek has good fishing. A diehard fisherman could head down the Horse Creek¡s North Fork then hook back to the Highline Trail via the South Fork of Horse Creek, this is a good loop opportunity for those not wishing to make Granite Hot Springs their destination.

The high alpine meadows of the Highline Trail have prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. As the season progresses fireweed, Indian paintbrush, and lupine proliferate.

Horse Creek
Lower Horse Creek 4 miles below Granite Highline Trail

Granite Hot Springs a pool built by the WPA in the 1930¡s below the towering peaks of Granite Canyon at the end of Granite Creek Road makes pleasant conclusion to any hike in the region and is only about a mile drive from the trailhead.

Getting there
From Jackson Directions to Trailhead: You can ride this without the use of a car from town. Ride/drive east from Hoback Sports towards the hospital on Broadway. Turn right onto Redmond Street and go south for about 1/2 mile. After riding uphill for 100 feet, turn left onto Cache Creek Road and keep going until the trailhead.

To get to the Granite trailhead from Jackson follow Hwy. 89 South to Hoback Junction. Go east on Hwy. 191 approx. 11 miles to Granite Creek Road and turn left. Follow this road to a parking area on the right at the junction of Swift Creek and Granite Creek.

Granite Hot Springs
Granite Hot Springs in the Gros Ventre Mountains
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