About Granite Falls
Granite Falls was a waterfall in the Gros Ventre Mountains near Jackson Hole that surpassed my expectations for an attraction that didn’t require much hiking to experience.
After all, it featured a wide block waterfall with dimensions that I’m estimating to be roughly 40-50ft tall and 125-150ft wide.
Perhaps even more surprising was that I noticed a little hidden-in-plain-sight natural thermal pool fed by a hot spring cascade across the rushing Granite Creek.
And on top of all the waterfall’s features, there were some beautiful mountains and formations further adding to the overall scenic allure of this spot.
Of course, a few hundred yards further upstream from the main waterfall was the more developed Granite Falls Hot Springs, which was a small swimming and soaking pool popular with locals and visitors in the know.
Nevertheless, as far as the waterfall itself was concerned, I only had to scramble less than a quarter-mile from the nearest parking area to the base of Granite Falls.
On the late afternoon that I showed up, it seemed to be a pretty popular spot despite the rough and bumpy pothole-ridden dirt road to get here.
I suspected that due to the close proximity of some popular primitive campsites here, it certainly enhanced the popularity of this somewhat locals spot.
During my August 2020 visit, I only wound up spending less than hour away from the car, but I easily could envision spending much longer here due to the this place’s location.
My only fear is that places like this are becoming more rare as time goes on (and more people use the internet to find once-local spots like this).
In any case, for now, it’s one of the better “play” waterfalls that I’ve been to, and I sure hope it can stay that way.
The Granite Falls Experience
From the nearest parking area (see directions above), I followed one of several use-trails that all descended towards Granite Creek.
I started with the path that went more-or-less downstream of Granite Falls so I was able to get a more contextual look at it.
Given how narrow the “trails” were amongst the lush overgrowth by the banks of Granite Creek, I’m sure none of these trails were official (i.e. just created by random people and followed by others thereafter).
Anyways, the contextual views of Granite Falls were nice because I also noticed an impressive cliff formation towering in the distance and hinting at the beauty of the Gros Ventre Range.
After having my fill of this spot, I then backtracked and followed other use-trails leading further upstream, which then veered back to Granite Creek for slightly closer views.
Some of these closer viewing spots were where I noticed people wading across the creek (likely around knee-deep to thigh-deep from what I saw) to get both unobstructed frontal views as well as access to the natural hot spring.
The use-trails ultimately led right up to the base of Granite Falls, where I managed to get profile views across the full width of the waterfall.
Some kids use the fallen logs and jumble of rocks here to try to get part way across the creek before going into the water to continue their way to the other side.
I opted not to go to the other side of the creek, but maybe one day if we come back here, I’d like to bring my wife and daughter here so they can experience this place.
On the way back up to the small parking area, I noticed lots of black-headed plants or flowers in bloom, which I wasn’t sure if they were common or not, I definitely noticed lots of them in Western Wyoming and Nothern Utah..
Granite resides in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson in Sublette County, Wyoming. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Granite Falls resides in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near the Hoback River east of the Hoback Junction.
Since the nearest city of note was Jackson Hole, I’ll describe the driving directions from there.
So from downtown Jackson, I’d drive follow the US191 for about 13 miles to the roundabout at the Hoback Junction.
Then, I’d take the second exit to go east on the US189/US191 for another 11 miles or so before leaving the highway to turn left onto the unpaved Granite Creek Road.
I then followed this unpaved road for just under 9 miles continuing straight on the main road and ignoring the spur roads on either side.
Eventually, I reached a somewhat rough parking area on the right, where I could already notice Granite Falls.
The developed Granite Falls Hot Springs was another half-mile or so further up this road.
Overall, it took me a little over 60 minutes to do this drive 34-mile drive (though there were some construction delays so it could take less time).
For context, Jackson was 86 miles (over 90 minutes drive) west of Dubois, 160 miles (under 3 hours drive) west of Lander, 89 miles (under 2 hours drive) east of Idaho Falls, Idaho, 127 miles (2.5 hours drive) south of West Yellowstone, Montana, and 275 miles (over 4.5 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.
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