About Hidden Falls
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.
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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