Hidden Falls was a satisfying 75-100ft waterfall at the far end of the scenic Jenny Lake, which fronted the signature skyline of the Grand Teton Range. To our knowledge, this was the most accessible of the significant waterfalls in Grand Teton National Park, which was surprisingly rare, especially compared to the plethora of the many easy-to-see waterfalls in the neighboring Yellowstone National Park to the north. Indeed, most of the Grand Teton Waterfalls were either too difficult to reach or were nothing more than temporary or unremarkable (in our opinion, at least) snowmelt cascades. I suspect that the falls got its name because it fell mostly unseen to all but hikers on the Cascade Canyon Trail as it was nestled in a deep canyon surrounded by tall trees.
As the most accessible of the Grand Teton Waterfalls, it was also very busy. To reach the falls, we paid for one of the frequent boat shuttles (which left about every 20 minutes between 8am to 6pm) going across Jenny Lake. This reduced an otherwise 5.2-mile round trip hike to a much more manageable 1.2 miles round trip. With the shorter hike, it also made continuing the hike up into the scenic Cascade Canyon for more mountain scenery more attractive, and it was what Julie and I did when we first visited this place back in June 2004. There was also the option of taking the boat to the far end of Jenny Lake then hiking back.
From the boat dock at the far western end of Jenny Lake, we followed a well-used uphill trail that involved steps flanked by bush (many of which had huckleberries growing out of them) and tall trees. The foliage obstructed the mountains flanking Cascade Canyon though there was always enough of the peaks in sight to tempt us to take more photos or at least tease us into hiking further to get closer to those mountains. About a quarter-mile up the 0.6-mile of hiking to reach the falls, the trail crossed a trail junction then skirted along the rushing Cascade Creek presenting more intermediate cascades and rapids as the trail switched between steps, dirt, and granite surfaces. Eventually, the trail crossed over Cascade Creek before curving back and encountering another trail junction.
We kept left at this junction to hike the remaining spur trail leading past a sloping field of boulders to a lookout for the Hidden Falls. The path on the right crossed another bridge then would climb up towards a pair of Inspiration Point Overlooks (looking back towards Jenny Lake) before entering Cascade Canyon where the 13,000ft peaks flanking the canyon itself would be clearly in view. There was limited space at the spacious lookout where the views of the Hidden Falls were choice, which meant that it could get a bit on the busy and claustrophobic side. The viewing area also opened out at the end towards a cliff face where we noticed rock climbers ascending it. After having our fill of this lookout, we headed back to the boat and ended the short excursion in a leisurely (especially since both Julie and Tahia were at it again picking huckleberries) two hours away from the car.
Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon were all part of an excursion to Hidden Falls. There was a separate one-way loop road that brought us to this view
This was the Grand Teton Range at the famous Snake River Overlook were looking in the direction of Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon. Over the years the trees below have grown to block parts of the river
The Grand Tetons was best experienced in the morning since most of the mountains faced east. If the weather cooperated, then it would be the time to take those picture perfect postcard shots
Not far to the north of Grand Teton National Park was Yellowstone National Park with its geothermal features such as what's shown here at the West Thumb Geyser Basin
We were very lucky scoring a pretty close parking spot to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. From there, we walked towards the Boat Dock
About to board the boat across Jenny Lake
While on the boat across Jenny Lake, we noticed this thin cascade on our first visit to the area in June 2004
The boat about to approach the dock at the far western end of Jenny Lake
Julie looking for huckleberries with Tahia almost immediately after we started hiking
The trail was a little bit slow going on the way there because it was mostly uphill
Tahia getting in the act as she was hooked on searching for huckleberries along the trail
Julie and Tahia continuing up the rock steps on the trail
Looking back at the trail, which now followed along Cascade Creek
Looking towards some intermediate cascades on Cascade Creek on the way up to Hidden Falls
The trail was a very busy trail as you can see here
This rocky and fairly open part of the trail also revealed the Cascade Canyon Trail, which you can see towards the topright of this photo providing some sense of scale of how much more climbing would beg necessary to get up to the Cascade Canyon
Approaching the fork in the trail where going left went to Hidden Falls while going right went up to the Cascade Canyon and the Inspiration Point
This partial view of Hidden Falls was the first glimpse we had of the aptly-named waterfall
The short spur leading to the Hidden Falls lookout passed by this sloping boulder field
Finally making it up to the viewpoint for Hidden Falls
This was our view of Hidden Falls on a better weather day during our first visit back in June 2004
Context of the Hidden Falls lookout as well as how crowded it could get here
Towards the very end of the lookout area, we saw this cliff face, which had people climbing it as they were apparently part of some kind of climbing school
On our first visit in June 2004, we continued beyond the falls towards Cascade Canyon
Above the trees looking back at Jenny Lake on our first visit. I believe this was one of the Inspiration Points
Julie on the trail climbing up to Cascade Canyon with Jenny Lake below us
Julie distracted by the lakeside views before entering Cascade Canyon
Within Cascade Canyon
Looking up at a different context of the Cascade Canyon Trail climbing high up above
The return hike was pretty much all downhill
Julie and Tahia continuing closer to Jenny Lake
Looking down at the boat dock on the far end of Jenny Lake
The return trail went down a different path towards the boat dock
Looking back towards the thin Ribbon Cascade while we were cruising Jenny Lake back towards the Visitor Center vicinity
The turnoff for the Jenny Lake Boat Dock and Visitor Center was about 13 miles southwest of the Moran Junction a short distance off the Teton Park Rd (the so-called Inner Loop Road) just past the junction with the Jenny Lake Rd. Even though there were quite a few parking spaces in lots flanking the Jenny Lake Campground Road, it was still very busy and congested so we saw plenty of people parking on the road shoulders along this road. The nearest parking lot to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and Boat Launch was at the end of this road.
The Moran Junction was about a mile south of the turnoff for the Jackson Lake Lodge and about 4 miles west of the Moran Entrance Station for the Grand Teton National Park. For additional context, this junction was 34 miles (45 minutes drive) north of Jackson and 21 miles (30 minutes drive) south of Flagg Ranch as well as 92 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) south of West Yellowstone, Montana.
Jackson was about 88 miles east of Idaho Falls, Idaho, 127 miles (2.5 hours drive) south of West Yellowstone, Montana via Ashton, Idaho, 156 miles (4 hours drive) south of Gardiner, Montana, and 280 miles (4.5 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.
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