Hiking Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park is an awesome experience. The biggest difficulty with this hike is parking. There is a small trailhead parking lot that fills up fast, and since the hike takes a fairly large amount of time, cars aren’t rotated out very quickly. There is also limited shade, so we recommend hiking Taggart Lake in the morning or evening to help with crowds and temperature.
You will find a few different ways to get to Taggart Lake in the Tetons. We parked at the Taggart Lake Trailhead. From there you can do an out and back hike, or take a loop which is slightly longer. We detail both of these hikes below.
Out and Back
Most people hike Taggart Lake out-and-back, and the distance is fairly short at just 3 miles roundtrip. The hike is very slightly uphill for the entire distance, though it is never difficult, or even moderate. Wheels would not work on this path.
If you are lucky enough to find parking at the Taggart Lake Trailhead, you start out on flat, level ground. After about a hundred meters, the trail splits at a small sign. Take the right fork to do Taggart Lake as an out-and-back trail. This trail actually loops, which we have explained below, but whatever you choose, it is best to go right at this junction.
The trail is busy as it winds gently up to the ridge. There is thick green vegetation along the way, and the trail is quite rocky. The trail follows right by a small creek that chuckles joyfully along with you. We did not see a lot of wildlife along the hike to Taggart Lake due to the number of people along the trail and the closeness of the trees. However, always keep your eyes open and make a little noise as you hike as there are a lot of bears in this area.
Taggart Lake is really beautiful, and the crystal clear water reflects the Tetons beautifully. Many people were sitting on the huge granite rocks that surrounded the lake. We took off our shoes and socks and dipped our toes in the cool water. Others were prepared with towels and swimsuits. Either way, take the time to rest and take a few photos. There are quite a few places along the edge of the lake to find a spot to sit.
Once you reach Taggart Lake, you can walk back the same way you came, which is slightly downhill and doubles the 1.5 miles you’ve walked to 3 miles.
Taggart Lake Loop
We chose to take the Beaver Creek Trail, which loops around to the south back to the car. This adds three-quarters of a mile to the walk bringing the total distance to 3.8 miles. However, we thought this trail was even better than the direct hike to Taggart Lake.
To access this loop, turn to the left when you reach the Taggart Lake. The trail only follows the shore for about 50 yards. Then it crosses a small footbridge, which is really picturesque. In fact, it would be a good idea to walk to this bridge even if you plan to walk back the way you came. It is a great spot for photos and there weren’t as many people crowded over in this section of the lake.
After the bridge, the trail climbs for a little bit and then passes through a small saddle. There are beautiful views at the crest. Soon the trail descends very rapidly. It winds steeply down a wide open bowl. This is the reason you don’t want to hike the loop clockwise. This climb would be killer.
Once the trail reaches the bottom, it walks along the hillside, and the views out over the lowland are mostly open. This would be a pretty good place to spot a moose or other large animal. For us, this was easily the most pleasant part of the trail. There were fewer people, and the country was much prettier. The trail follows the small creek for most of the trail and leads back to the split where you turned right to go to Taggart Lake. If you can manage the distance, it is definitely worth it to hike the 3.8 mile Taggart Lake Loop.
Taggart Lake Trailhead
We enjoyed our hike to Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park so much that it will become a regular hike for us. Next time, we are going to try for an evening hike instead of late morning in hopes of finding some wildlife, too.
You will find the Taggart Lake Trailhead 3 miles north of Moose, or 8 miles south of Jenny Lake Ranger Station. There is a sign for Taggart Lake and bathrooms at the trailhead. Cars are allowed to park along the road if they get completely off the roadway when the parking lot is full.