Convincing A Tired Girl To Go On A Phelps Lake Hike

Just a few short hours after completing the Grand Teton Half Marathon my husband convinced me that in order to make the most out of our vacation, a Phelps Lake hike was in order, and there was no time like the present. I, on the other hand, thought a shower and a long afternoon nap would make my vacation perfect!

Knowing our time in Jackson, Wyoming was limited, I relented, changed into dry clothes, and made a deal. I’d hike, but only after doing a little yoga to stretch out my tight running muscles and eating a big breakfast.


But First, Breakfast!

A little research took us to Nora’s Fish Creek Inn for a fabulous breakfast of scrambled eggs, extra crispy bacon, and a hotcake the size of my head. Apparently, we weren’t the only one impressed with this simple down-home style breakfast because it had been featured on Diners Drive-In’s and Dives.

Nora Fish Creek Inn


Grand Teton National Park

With bellies full, we drove north from Wilson to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Our first stop would be our Phelps Lake hike before driving around the southern end of the park scouting out other places to explore. With 310,000 acres laying before us, we would only be visiting a smidgen of the park.

With limited cellular reception in the park, using Waze was fruitless and we had to resort to old-fashioned map reading. We found the Phelps Lake parking lot, squeezed our rental car into one of the few remaining parking spaces, and started our hike.

Phelps Lake Hike


Where The Road Ends And The Trail Begins

As we walked along the very wide and rocky trail we come upon more and more cars and realized we were still on the road leading to the trail head. After about a half mile hike we finally reached the trail head at 6,807 feet . After running a half marathon earlier in the morning I guess I needed the exercise – HaHa!

Phelps Lake Hike


Death Canyon Trail

We checked out the map and then headed on our way…

Phelps Lake Hike


Other than crossing a couple of tiny creeks and climbing a few rather steep sections (400 feet total of altitude gain), the Death Canyon Trail was pretty easy and not that technical.

Phelps Lake Hike


As faster hikers came up behind us, we’d move to the side to let them pass, but not before Bill explained that I’d run a half marathon earlier that morning. It was kind of nice having an excuse for going slower and occasionally whining! 😉


Phelps Lake Overlook

Once we got to Phelps Lake Overlook, we stopped and talked to a mom and her young daughter for a little while, and swapped off taking pictures of each other with Phelps Lake in the background.

Phelps Lake Hike

Phelps Lake Hike


The view of Mount Hunt as we looked across the glacier lake was stunning.

Phelps Lake Hike


We shifted our position to get both Mount Hunt and Prospectors Mountain in the background. Take a closer look at the red can of bear spay under Bill’s right arm. The inn keeper at Jackson Hole Hideout, the bed and breakfast where we were staying, let us borrow it.

Phelps Lake Hike


We continued on our hike past Phelps Lake Overlook for a short distance so Bill could capture some pictures from a different angle. On our hike back up toward the overlook we met a man running toward us. I can’t imagine a more beautiful place for a trail run!

Phelps Lake Hike

Phelps Lake Hike


The Descent Is Always Easier

As we headed back down, we met a group of girls with hula hoops. It was totally random that they were carrying hula hoops and I wanted to challenge one of them to a hula hoop competition. 😉 We noticed that the girls smelled really good which didn’t make sense after hiking up the trail. I wanted to ask what their secret was and if they’d found a new female version of Axe.

The descent was much faster than the ascent, and surprisingly, neither of us had any complaints from our knees. I was able to take the lead and saw a little snake scurry off into the brush as I walked by. He was the only wildlife we saw on our hike.

Nearing the parking lot we met a guy and his teenage daughter (we assumed) running up the trail toward us. Again, I can’t imagine a more gorgeous place to run!

Backcountry Hiking

Once back in the parking lot we met a young man named CL who works for the park service. He had a 45-pound backpack slung on his back and was about to start his hike into the backcountry for overnight camping and some skiing the next morning. We wished him well and said a quick little prayer for his safety.

Phelps Lake Hike


Final Tally

When we combined the 1.7-mile hike on Death Canyon Trail to Phelps Lake Overlook, the extra .4 we hiked past the overlook, and the .5-mile hike up the road that we thought was a trail, we ended up hiking just over 5 miles roundtrip – a rather nice hike for an exhausted girl full of excuses for why she wasn’t able to go any faster. 😉


  • Questions:
  • Do you enjoy hiking?
  • What type of footwear do you wear when hiking?
  • Have you visited Grand Teton National Park?