My drive to Grand Teton was an experience in itself. On highway 287, you get unobstructed views of mountains and vast open land. I didn’t really know what an open sky was until this drive. During the 7 hour trip, we made several stops — 1) a wildlife sighting area where we saw prairie dogs and cows (lots of them!) and 2) split rock, a landmark for Oregon Trail travelers (see my blog post video on it).
The many stops I made stretched our 7 hour drive to nearly 10 hours. As we were approaching the entrance to Grand Teton, we were starting to lose daylight. We opted to camp in the Teton National Forest for the night. The campsite was at an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet and as the sun went down I got very cold! Instead of staying in the tent, I slept in the car, which turned out to be a warm decision.
The next day, I made it into the Tetons. My first glimpse was hazy. Smoke from nearby wildfires were filtering into the park and obstructing the view. Regardless, I headed to the trailhead hoping for improved visibility.
The hike to Hermitage Point is the most accessible hike in the park that will also provide expansive views of the Tetons. Even through the smoky haze, I could see how grand and impressive the Tetons are!
The ten mile loop is fairly flat and goes along the shore of Jackson Lake, an impressive sight by itself! The beginning and end of the loop are a flat walk through pine forest. The two miles approaching Hermitage Point is an open area with little shade or protection from the elements.
Hermitage Point offers unencumbered views of the full Teton range. After you reach this point, the trail loops away from the views. If you’re looking for a great lunch spot, a half mile from Hermitage Point, there is a campsite (Lakeshore 9) that’s right by the water and with a view of the Grand Teton.
The trail gains a little bit of elevation after this point (1,000 feet). First is a big hill then the trail alternates between slight uphills and flat areas. The views and relative ease of this trail makes Hermitage Point a must do in the Grand Tetons.