The Shoal Falls trail begins in the scenic alpine wonderland
of Granite Creek a good home base to explore this amazing area.
From the Swift Creek/Shoal
Falls trailhead hike or ride up the sagebrush and wildflower meadow until
the trail splits, look for a wooden sign that says "Shoal Falls". Follow
an old twoÂtrack road for the first 1…2
mile. The trail then turns to the south and angles up a forested hillside
and you climb a series of switchbacks that periodically reveal views of
Granite Creek Valley below and the grandeur of Open Door Mountain. Approaching
top of the ridge provides views of the Wyoming Range to the southwest.
Soon you reach a ridge that breaks out the forest to reveal magnificent
a series of meadows interspersed with groves of aspen and conifer underneath
the Gros Ventre Peaks. You then drop off this ridge into west Shoal Creek,
The trail continues to Deer Ridge. Deer Ridge offers an overlook for Shoal
Falls 5 miles from the trailhead but to get there you have to drop into
Shoal Creek and hike an additional 1.5 miles. Shoal Falls is at 8,200-foot
so a full round trip will be 13 miles.
From Shoal Falls you can continue on about 2.5 miles to Shoal Lake elevation 9800 feet. From Shoal Lake you can hook into trails that go to the Crystal Creek Drainage or to the Gros Ventre Drainage. You can also hike down Shoal Creek Trail to that trailhead on the Hoback River. This trail system is also accessible from Dell Creek out of Bondurant.
Young buck mule deer
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 regularly the rest are more allusive.
Shoal Creek is a spawning area for the cutthroat trout of the Snake and Hoback Rivers; a native population stays in the creek throughout the season and provides some fun fly-fishing.
The high alpine meadows 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.
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.
Scott Hunter having a little lunch along the trail.
Expect summer time temperatures to range from highs in the 70s-80s during
the day to lows of around 30 at night. Afternoon thunderstorms with lightning
and rain showers are common in the summer. It can snow any day of the year
and has, so visitors should come prepared for a wide variety of weather and
temperature conditions. Remember Murphy¡s Law and pack accordingly.
To get to the 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. You can also access Shoal Falls from Shoal Creek Trail from US Hwy. 191-189 in Hoback Canyon, The trailhead is about 1/2 mile west of Kozy Campground on the north side of the road and has a large parking area; this route is 16.8 miles to Shoal Lake. If my mission was to fish this is the route I would take. The trail can also be accessed from Riling Draw up Dell Creek out of Bondurant.
A few of our hiking and riding trails
is nestled in the north end of Alaska Basin on the Teton
Crest Trail, the tip of the Grand Teton can be seen just
over the ridge.
horseback riding and hiking in our very special neck of the woods here in the
Yellowstone Grand Teton region is a very special experience. Few places
have our diversity of trail choices. Yellowstone provides many otherworld
hiking and riding opportunities, the Grand Teton’s canyon trails beneath its towering granite monoliths provide scenery you can read about but can’t
believe until you experience it. The remoteness of the Gros Ventre, Wind,
Big Hole, Wyoming, Centennial, and Snake River mountain Ranges are treasures
in their own right. If you horseback ride or hike to get to where the remote
fishing is good, you have chosen the perfect destination.
In the Greater Yellowstone Region, anything can happen horseback riding or hiking. Wildlife sightings are the norm, moose, elk, deer, and bison are a daily occurrence if you are lucky you might see a wolf, mountain sheep, or bear. Extreme weather can be expected any time. A clear sunny day can quickly become stormy, bringing lightning, hail and sometimes snow. Hypothermia can befall you any time of the year if your are unprepared. Daytime summer temperatures range between 70 to 90 degrees. June can be cool and rainy, and high water during spring runoff can become hazards in stream crossings. The peak hiking and horseback riding summer months, July and August tend to be drier and better choices for the fair weather horseback rider or hiker.
and horseback riding in the Greater Yellowstone Region offers such a great
array of trails choices are difficult, but it’s tough to go wrong. Mountaineering
stores and saddle shops provide information, maps and books to help you stay
informed. Consult authorities for current conditions and wildlife sightings
before venturing into the backcountry. The more informed you are, the more
your trip into the mountains will be.
A pack string
heading out of Heart Lake Basin, you can see Heart Lake
and the Absoraka Mountains off in the distance
Goodwin Lake Trail• (Jackson
Hole) • The
Goodwin Lake Trail is one of those cheater hike/rides that
start by driving your car to about the 8,000-foot elevation
effortlessly expediting your buns to the high country (my favorite
kind). This trip is popular for its proximity to the town of
Jackson and Grand Teton National Park; it’s relatively short
ample sensory rewards.
Lake Trail • (Yellowstone
Park) •Tucked away on the east side
of Mount Sheridan in southern Yellowstone,
the continental divide from Yellowstone Lake is one of the
most pristine areas of Yellowstone National Park, the Heart
Lake drainage. In this region only a network of trails, primitive
campgrounds and a picturesque log cabin ranger station are
the only sign left by man, a remarkable fete in this day and
age when you consider that the Heart Lake is one of more popular
hikes for day hikers and backpackers; 40% of all of Yellowstone’s
backcountry overnight trips are to Heart Lake.
into Cascade Creek Drainage and Grand Teton National
Park from Hurricane Pass on the Teton Crest Trail
Teton Crest Trail • (Grand
Teton National Park) The Teton Crest Trail can be done
many different ways; the full
route is 39 miles, from Teton Pass
on Highway 22 to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park,
just north of Jenny Lake. Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail
takes about three days but this hike is no place to rush
if you can budget the time. Ambitious backpackers or horseback
riders can extend the trip to seventy-five mile trek along
the entire crest of the Teton Mountains with some creative
trail daisy chaining. Much of the Teton Crest Trail cuts
a serpentine path through Grand Teton National Park and
the adjacent Jedediah Smith Wilderness, rarely dipping
8,000 feet. This rugged mountain environment’s jagged spires,
alpine meadows, glaciers, lakes and vistas provide a challenging
trip with limitless and rewarding sections for off trail
and the Grand Teton from 10 miles up Cascade Creek Trail
in Grand Teton National Park.
Loop Trail • (Grand
Teton National Park) • The Paintbrush
Divide trail makes up the first part of a great loop
carries you across the Divide (10,720 feet), passing
Lake Solitude as it winds back down to the Cascade
Canyon. It's best to go up the Paintbrush Canyon
first because it allows for turning around quicker
if ice/snow at the divide is a problem. Also,
its steeper which is more pleasant to go up than down,
and gets the hard part over with while you are
fresh. A snowfield makes the trail a bit tricky
you cross the divide until early August. After
August is easily traversed without the need of an ice
trekking poles are always useful on extreme day
hikes and make the small snow excursions even easier.
Creek Canyon • (Swan
Valley Idaho) • Palisades Creek
Trail is located about 50 miles southeast
of Idaho Falls and about 60 miles west of Jackson Hole WY
in Swan Valley Idaho,
The four mile hike up to lower
Palisades Lake or the 6.2 mile hike to Upper Palisades Lake
provide some of the best mountain
views in the Swan Valley region. Palisades Creek Trail is
well maintained and can be used only by hikers, backpackers
or horses. If you choose to hike up to Upper Palisades Lake,
2 miles above Lower Palisades Lake you have to leave Palisades
Creek trail and turn up Waterfall Canyon and it is just a
short distance up Waterfall Canyon.
The Grand Teton
peaks of Table Mountain east of Driggs Idaho.
Mountain Trail • (Teton
Valley Idaho - Driggs) • Table Mountain
is a must do hike not to be missed in the Tetons. The
the best vantage
point in the Tetons for close-up views of the massive west
face of the Grand, upper reaches of Cascade Canyon,
and the U-shaped
glacial valleys and canyons on the west side of the Tetons.
This hike is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding
entire region and it bears the signature of the essence
of the Grand Tetons.
Elk Creek Trail •
Valley Idaho) • Big
Elk Creek is a
gorgeous stream that flows down a big pristine canyon that is
free of motor vehicles and
livestock grazing. The canyon includes many avalanche chutes
and rugged mountains. It has an easy trail leading up a broad,
open, and scenic canyon. The Trail from campground goes north along
Big Elk Creek, and heads for miles into the heart of the Snake
River mountain range. The high alpine meadows have exceptional
flower displays during the summer months. Excellent views are
everywhere you look throughout the Big Elk Creek backcountry.
Black bear are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant,
there is a population of mountain goats that cling to the many
cliffs of the Big Elk Creek drainage. The peregrine falcon has
been restored to the cliffs of the Snake River Range also.Swift
Creek Trail (Jackson
Hole - Bonduraunt) • I found nothing swift about
Swift Creek trail Oh! except the creek, the trail starts out
in Granite Creek Valley beneath the grandeur of this special
mountain valley's towering sentinels. You climb imperceptibly
through sagebrush and wildflower meadows interspersed with groves
of conifers and aspen. When you draw up close to the creek you
start ascending through forest and small meadows and for a while
lose the views of the mountains. Here the terrain flattens out
for a bit and you cross the creek, the trail breaks north to
reveal the mountains once again, North Cliff Wall on the left
and Corner Peak to the right. A trail through the meadow to the
right provides trail access to MacLeod Lake high up on Corner
Peak. Then up a little farther you see it, God accidentally misplaced
one of Yosemite’s water falls halfway up this canyon. What
a pleasant surprise.
Little Greys River
Trail access Greyback Ridge, Pickle Pass, Roosevelt Meadows
Cliff Creek and the Upper Hoback River Drainage.
Greys River Trail • (Star
Valley Wyoming - Alpine) The trail begins near the end of
Little Greys River Road #10047. The trailhead’s beginning
elevation is 6,950 feet and is at the edge of a giant meadow
and the river has already radically changed character it
is now in a spring rush down a steep canyon. This trail accesses
the scenic Wyoming Range and it connects to the Wyoming Range
National Recreation Trail #048 and the Cliff Creek Trail
#137. It has an elevation gain of 2,310 feet. The trail climbs
steadily through forest interspersed with meadow with regular
jogs over to the mountain edge for views of the Little Greys
River hundreds of feet below.
Creek Trail •
Valley Idaho) • Bear Creek is an idyllic mountain stream
that meanders through an equally serene alpine valley on the
side of Palisades Reservoir in Swan Valley
Idaho. The trail is an easy one even for novice hikers and the danger spots
for horses are few. Unlike the creeks on the Snake
River Range side of Palisades Reservoir the creeks of the Caribou Range
seem more open not that they are but the southern slopes of the mountains
are largely open meadow and lends itself to a more open feeling.
Falls Trail• (Jackson
Hole) • The Shoal Falls trail begins
in the scenic alpine wonderland of Granite Creek a good
home base to explore this amazing area. From the Swift
Creek/Shoal Falls trailhead hike or ride up the sagebrush
and wildflower meadow until the trail splits, look for
a wooden sign that says "Shoal Falls". Follow
an old two–track road for the first 1⁄2 mile.
The trail then turns to the south and angles up a forested
hillside and you climb a series of switchbacks that periodically
reveal views of Granite Creek Valley below and the grandeur
of Open Door Mountain.
of the Teton Crest Trail. South Teton Canyon Trail
is a tough one to beat.
Teton Canyon Trail • (Teton
Valley - Driggs) • From the trailhead
at South Teton Creek you enter the trail in a forested
area right by the creek by you soon break out into open
meadow terrain that compliments the surroundings groves
of conifer and aspen all dwarfed by the cliff bands and
peaks of this gorgeous glacial valley. The hiking is easy
and in spring and early summer there are numerous waterfalls.
South Teton Creek Trail is in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness
and so all access is by foot or by horseback.
Darby Wind Cave is full of beautiful surprises.
Darby Creek - Wind Cave Trail • (Teton
Valley - Driggs) • Darby
Canyon Trail is one of several access points for the
Teton Crest Trail but it is better known for The Darby
Wind Cave which is the major draw to this popular Teton
Valley hike that takes you into the heart of the Jedidiah
Trailhead for south Fork of Darby Canyon is at 7,069 feet,
the first few miles of the climb up Darby Canyon winds
steeply through meadows and forest as it quickly gains
elevation. Intermittent waterfalls splash down the canyon
rim in early summer add to the hiking experience. After
about 2.5 miles the trail for the Darby Wind Cave forks
off to the right.
Highline Trail • (Jackson
Hol) • 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.
Trail provides access to the mountains north of Island
Park Idaho that stradle the Idaho Montana border.
Creek Trail • (Island
• Targhee Creek Trail I must say was a pleasant surprise,
canyon many times and never gave it a thought, as it
is unimpressive from the drivers seat at 55 miles per
hour on Highway 20. The Targhee Creek Trail
starts in a mixture of meadow and conifer and aspen
about 7,000 foot elevation but you soon leave the aspens
behind and the first three miles are an easy meander
along a pretty canyon bottom of open meadow and conifer
woods. Targhee Creek in August doesn’t have much volume
to it but I would bet that it hosts some fishy surprises
in it for the angler wishing to fish a tributary to
legendary anglers nirvana Henrys Lake.
Lake is a remote getaway deep into the Gros
Turquoise Lake (Jackson
Hole) • Turquoise
Lake is an alpine gem in the middle of the Gros Ventre
Wilderness and there are many ways to get there but the
most expeditious one is via the Goodwin Lake Trail. This
access facilitates a 2,000-foot elevation head start
over most others by virtue of its 8,000-foot trailhead. This
trip reveals the heart of the Gros Venture Wilderness,
the peaks of West Crystal to the east, the peaks of Packsaddle
Pass and Antoinette
Peak can be seen far to the southeast, to the south is Gros Peak and to the
south of it you see Pinnacle Peak. There is an impressive escarpment going
off the north side of Gros Peak that seems to speak of millions of years of
Lake (Teton Valley - Victor) • Moose
Creek Trail starts just east of Victor Idaho, it is one
for the Teton Crest
Trail that leads into the
heart of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. The Grand Teton’s, Moose Creek Trail,
is entirely within the Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the Caribou-Targhee National
Moose Falls you enter some wide open terrain that treats you to the glacial
nature of Moose Creek Canyon, and here the trail splits, here you can continue
to the right along the Teton Crest Trail to Grand Teton National Park, a
short distance away or turn to the left to continue to Moose Lake.
Pass Trail (Jackson Hole - Wilson) Phillips
Pass Trail is one of those cheater trails I like so well.
It starts about three quarters of the way to the top
of Teton Pass west of Wilson Wyoming, so the trail
at about 8,000 feet elevation. Starting at 8,000 feet
you are already into the beauty of the high country
only do you get t skip the climb, you also skip the pretty,
but vista challenged, boreal forest canyon bottoms most
mountain trails start at. Phillips Pass Trail is one
of the access points and is actually part of the Teton
Creek Falls cascades down a red rock cliff of
the Wyoming Range.
Creek Falls - (Bonduant WY) • After
a few miles the canyon starts to narrow and the mostly
slopes start sporting crowns of beautiful red ochre cliff
faces that wouldn’t be out of place in southern Utah, but
are a pleasant surprise here in the Teton Region of Wyoming......................The
first waterfall you see is a lesser one on a fork of Cliff
Creek but when you see it look to the left, and the larger
Cliff Creek Falls is on the larger fork of the Creek. The
trail splits here, and trail #3137 goes to the left taking
you a short distance to the falls and beyond. Upon reaching
Cliff Falls (base elevation 8,000 feet) you are treated
to a cascading waterfall that tumbles 68 feet down into
a red rock basin. A spot right at the bottom is perfect
for a morning shower for those who camp here.
A peak in
the North Willow Creek Drainage
Willow Creek Trail (Star Valley) • The first couple of miles there are several
creek crossings but as you climb the trail veers away from
the creek. There are parts of the trail that is really
rocky and parts that are steep stretches of clay that could
easily turn to a dangerous slime, on horseback, in a rainstorm.
ATVer’s use the lower section but there was no evidence
of them in the higher elevations. About halfway you get
into the sub alpine terrain which provides better views
of the surrounding peaks and the canyon below.
When you think that you have reached McDougal
Pass, you haven’t, the first saddle drops you into the
head of Strawberry Creek where Strawberry Creek Trail merges
with North Willow Creek Trail for the final couple of hundred
yards to McDougal Pass. It is about a half mile from the
Strawberry/N. Willow divide to the Pass.
From the top of McDougal Pass, you look
down Bear Creek into the Greys River Drainage--------------------------> More
A peak in
the North Willow Creek Drainage
Creek Trail (Star Valley) • Strawberry
Creek Trail is one of the more accessible trails into the
rugged and scenic Salt River Range from Star Valley WY.
The trail starts at 7200 feet and follows a gorgeous valley
7.5 miles to McDougal Pass where Bear Creek trail begins
for a drop into the Greys River Valley. Hikers can take
the road to the end but if you are pulling a horse trailer
find a turnout before you get into as situation you wished
you were not in.
The trail starts in creek bottom boreal
forest and a short way up the trail, another trail cuts
off to the left, this trail is the Covey Cutoff Trail which
is a shorter way to get to the Greys River Drainage. This
is not marked so keep right if McDougal Pass is your destination.
From bottom to top there are plenty of open
areas to view the surrounding peaks of the Salt River Range.
About halfway up you enter the sub-alpine terrain and the
forest opens up creating greater viewing opportunities--------------------------> More
Creek Trail (Jackson Hole) • Willow
Creek is a major drainage system for the Wyoming Range,
the scenery is fantastic and provides prodigious,
geographic, flora and fauna viewing and
there are many trails you could get lost on. Take a map. The trail is popular
with horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers hunters, and fisherman.
Hikers, Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park
Willow Creek's headwaters begin high in
the Wyoming Range on the south end of Jackson Hole. Fisherman
may with to trying to outwit the feisty native Cutthroat
that make Willow Creek their home. These fish are native,
not stocked, so they offer a challenge for the most experienced
fly fisherman and an opportunity to advance the skills
of the novice. Catch and release only, please. The Jackson
Hole One Fly Foundation - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Conservation Partnership Program is funded a project to
improve a degraded area along Willow Creek. --------------------------------------> More
Trout Lake (Yellowstone) • This serene and beautiful lake is accessible via a short hike through the forest. It is a steep 1/2-mile trail through a Douglas fir forest leads to the lake. Trout lake sits in a depression on a high bench above the Soda Butte Creek Canyon south of Cooke City. Formerly known as Fish Lake and Soda Butte Lake this 12-acre gem is a popular backcountry lake for hikers and anglers. --------------> more
Some of Greater Yellowstone's mountain ranges
A cattle ranch of the Gros Ventre Mountains in Bondurant, Wyoming
Gros Ventre Mountains • The Gros Ventre Mountains
of western Wyoming is another fine example of western Wyoming’s
embarrassment of riches in the natural wonders department. The
range is composed of high craggy peaks, glacier scoured valleys,
and rolling sagebrush foothills. The Gros Ventre Mountains
much less visitation than the more well known Grand Teton Range
which you can see from much of the Gros Ventre’s northern
and western flanks. Views from the high country also include
views of the Absaroka Mountains, Wind River Mountains, the Snake
River Range and the Wyoming Range. The name Gros Ventre is from
the French word for "big belly", and originated from
Indian sign language meant to convey the idea of "always
hungry". .................. more about
Rafters enjoy a float down the Greys River that drains the Wyoming Range
Range • The Wyoming Range runs for about eighty
miles in a north-south direction in western Wyoming. These
mountains are a mixture of rolling open slopes dotted with
aspen groves and forested hills with pines, spruce, and fir
trees. Waterfalls plunging over high cliffs are tucked in
rugged mountain peaks. Many of the peaks in the range rise
to over 10,000 feet the highest is Wyoming Peak at 11,363
These magnificent mountains remain in relative obscurity due
to their proximity to the more famous Wind River Mountains
and the Grand Tetons; this makes solitude more achievable
Wyoming Range is not as rugged or remote as the nearby Wind
River Range or Gros Ventre Mountains................... more about
Mountain Goats of the Snake River Range
Snake River Range • The Snake River Range starts
at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between
and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National
Forest. The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to
Idaho and south to Alpine Wyoming. The Snake River is the eastern
boundary back up to the Tetons. This is rugged country, and
has plenty of water; glaciers and running water shaped the
deep canyons. The lush vegetation will impress the visitor,
the land is dynamic and unstable, rockslides and earth flows
common, landslides created both Upper Palisades and Lower Palisades
Lakes a couple of jewels of the range. Mount Baird, at 10,042
feet, is the highest point in the Snake River Range. ................... more about
Teton sunset from Signal Mountain
The Grand Tetons • One of the things that sets
the eastern view of the Grand Tetons apart from other ranges
is there are not any foothills to obstruct the view. The actions
of nature’s elements have sculpted a monolith of sharply notched
peaks accented by deep U shaped glaciated canyons that are
truly a sight to behold. If you think the Grand Tetons is awe
inspiring from the valley floor a trip into the center of them
will set new benchmarks for beauty for the hard drive in your
skull. .................. more about
The Wind River Range • A mountain is the best medicine for a troubled mind. Seldom does man ponder his own insignificance. He thinks he is master of all things. He thinks the world is his without bonds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only when he tramps the mountains alone, communing with nature, observing other insignificant creatures about him, to come and go, as he will, does he awaken to his own short-lived presence on earth. — Finis Mitchell, "Wind River Trails"
The Wind River coming out of the Wind River Range at Green River Lake.
The Wind River Range is a remote hundred plus mile range, stretching through Wyoming along the crest of the Continental Divide. Among the Winds unrelenting height, contain seven of the ten largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, as well as more than 2.25 million acres of public land. They are in the southeast section of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest environmentally intact temperate-zone ecosystem in the lower 48 states. .................. more about
Pinnacle Peak of the Absaroka Range
The Absaroka Mountain Range • The Absaroka Mountain Range is a sub-range on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains stretching for about 150 miles across the Montana-Wyoming border. A complex range, it takes significant effort to learn all the various groups, sections, and drainages. More specifically a member of the Central Rocky Mountain Chain stretching from Livingston (Montana) to a point east of Dubois Wyoming, it forms the core of the Yellowstone region of the Central Rockies. Some 165 miles in length and 75 miles wide at its widest. It is, depending on how one measures, the largest individual range in the 1200-mile-long Rocky Mountain Chain. The Continental Divide passes through the southwestern corner of the range but not near the crest. The range wraps around the eastern and northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
The high alpine meadows have prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. Tall perennials such as cow parsnip, penstemon, lupine, monkshood, and western coneflower. These plants grow so tall that they obscure lightly used trails by midsummer. Black bears are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant; there is a population of mountain goats in the much of the middle of the range. It is the home to many trophy mule deer. Grizzly bears, which move in winter from Yellowstone National Park to the nearby lower elevations of the Absaroka Range Wolves, are seen regularly. There are many grizzlies here so use all due caution................... more about