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Jenny Lake in Wyoming - Grand Tetons National Park - Photos
Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons National Park
Grand Tetons National Park
During our two week vacation while staying in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of the tours we took in the Grand Tetons National Park introduced us to Jenny Lake.
My mother, niece and I generally like to take tours when new to an area because we learn so much from the guides and then, if we have extra time, we can always go back to areas where we might wish to spend some extra time. This was the case when we first saw Jenny Lake.
These first three photos are from that one day tour. The rest that follow are from our going back and spending much of a full day there.
Jenny Lake was formed about 10,000 years ago along with the other lakes in this area after glacial action scoured this locale leaving the valley surrounded by mountains.
Jenny Lake in the Grand TetonsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lakes in the Grand Tetons
The other lakes in this national park are Taggart and Phelps lakes to the south and Leigh and Jackson lakes to the north. Jackson Lake is by far the largest lake.
Jenny Lake is about 1 1/2 miles long and about 1 mile wide. It's depth is marked at approximately 236 feet at it's deepest point. Trout have been stocked in this lake.
The lake was named for the wife of an early homesteader by the name of Beaver Dick Leigh.
Jenny Lake sunrise
Taking a boat ride across Jenny Lake, we were to ultimately see the lake not only at ground level, but also from a much higher elevation looking back down upon it.
We were warned by the guide and also in reading materials to treat all water in the area as if it is contaminated. According to reading material, most of the water has the contaminants Giardia and Campylobacter in it. This comes from wildlife wastes and also from human activity in the area.
Heeding this advice we carried our own water and snacks for the day.
Although there were other people on the boat with us, once one starts walking the trails, one can feel quite at home with nature and meld into the landscape taking one's own time to absorb the beauty that is surrounding one with every turn of the head.
Any group of people quickly becomes widely scattered except for several gathering points of interest.
One can take the time to sit on a rock or fallen trunk of a tree and breathe in this wilderness beauty and savor it for awhile.
After disembarking the boat, the start of a hike that would take us up to Hidden Falls began.
The boat would come back and be available to us on a regularly established schedule so that everyone could determine their own pace and take their time in the enjoyment of this unspoiled beauty of nature that gradually unfolded with every step that we took.
One was surrounded by the sound of calm to rippling to rushing water as the entire hike to the Falls was alongside the river.
The path was natural and sometimes rather smooth and oftentimes rocky. One has to be in reasonably good shape to undertake this hike. Because this is left in a "natural" state, there is no such thing as wheelchair access. So while limited to some, the pristine beauty remains pretty much as it was created over time.
We saw many little chipmunks and ground squirrels along the trail. While similar in appearance, one can determine the difference between them because of a stripe that continues alongside the face of the chipmunk. In the case of the ground squirrel, the stripe ends at the back of the shoulder.
They are cute little guys to watch as they scamper over rocks and munch on nuts that they have found.
Other wildlife found in this canyon include the Yellow-bellied marmots and the Pika. The larger animals that are further up the canyon include the moose, Mountain sheep and the occasional black bear.
There are a number of birds that call this location home. Included among them are hawks, eagles, Western tanagers and the American dipper.
One sees the Douglas fir trees in abundance and the air is fragrant and sweet.
This is definitely a place to savor the sights, sounds and fragrances of this forested area and take one's time in discovering small things as well as large.
Fallen tree trunks and large rocks provide seating areas if one wishes to take a rest or use those places to sit upon and enjoy a snack or drink. We used them as such and saw other people doing the same.
Similar to all such nature preserves, one is expected to haul out what one brings in to this environment. No littering is allowed! It would be such a shame to see discarded litter in this pristine area and fortunately we did not see any refuse.
Obviously the people that had gone before us felt the same as we did in keeping this sight beautiful and unspoiled for the people that would come after our presence had long disappeared.
For most of the time, the three of us were alone on the path. Obviously people were up ahead of us, and some would be coming behind us, but this wilderness area is large enough to swallow up a number of individuals and make it seem as if this part of paradise is reserved for the person or persons right there at that specific moment in time.
We thoroughly enjoyed each twist of the path and each discovery as it was introduced to our eyes and ears.
Keep in mind that this was midsummer when supposedly more tourists would be there. Perhaps this was a crowded condition to the locals, but coming from Houston, Texas, this seemed like a dream of wide open spaces filled with wondrous sights to us.
Hiking up to Hidden Falls from Jenny Lake in the Grand TetonsClick thumbnail to view full-size
We could hear the falls as we approached the sight prior to seeing it. It is definitely a gathering spot for people along the trail.
Technically Hidden Falls is not a waterfall at all. It is actually a cascade. A waterfall has to fall freely while a cascade tumbles over rocks as this one does.
Hidden Falls tumbles over rocks for about 200 feet ( or 60 meters ) before reaching the riverbed below. Since most of it is derived from melting snow, as the summer progresses, the falls diminish in volume over time.
The name "hidden" came about because the only way that it can be viewed is by walking and hiking the trail. It cannot be seen from the highway.
Hiking up to Inspiration Point
My mother decided to stay at the Hidden Falls location as she felt safe knowing that there would undoubtedly always be people there.
The hike up to Inspiration Point would become more difficult and strenuous. My niece and I decided to undertake that and we joined others that wanted to look down upon Jenny Lake and the valley containing Jackson Hole from that perspective.
It was a very rocky and at times a challenging chore to keep going especially because of these higher elevations. Just about the entire trail is at an elevation above 7,000 feet or 2100 meters.
Since we live in Houston, Texas which is just slightly above sea level, it takes a while to adjust to these higher elevations. We stopped along the trail and besides huffing and puffing, we rested when needed before we would again resume the hike.
All natural features such as the rocks and all vegetation are protected in the Park. They are to be enjoyed and photographed, but are not to be disturbed.
No pets are allowed to be on the trails or back country in the Grand Tetons National Park.
We saw several types of blooming wildflowers. Some of the wildflowers that are known to be in the park include wild columbines, Indian paintbrush, silky phacelia, glacier lilies and many others.
The trees vary from the Douglas Fir to a Subalpine Fir, Lodgepole pine and Engelmann Spruce. There are some trees in this area reputed to be over 400 years old.
We arrive at Inspiration Point
Gazing across Jenny Lake with the Grand Tetons to one's back, one can see the other mountains that surround the valley and Jackson Hole.
One can continue hiking beyond Inspiration Point. We chose not to do that as my mother was waiting for us below and we had quite a hike to get back down to the lake and catch our boat ride back across it.
For those that have more time, the trail leads for another six miles through Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude.
Off in the distance we saw some people that were mountain climbing.
Anyone going further than Inspiration Point has to register with the park rangers and they keep track of just how many people are out there on those trails at any point in time.
Have you ever visited Jenny Lake?
This adventure took up one precious day of our time on this vacation trip, but it was well worth it. We communed with nature; enjoyed the fresh mountain air and got some healthy exercise.
Jenny Lake is one gorgeous spot of many in the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming!
Kayaking Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons National Park
Nice video to wrap up this hub about Jenny Lake.
© 2009 Peggy Woods