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    Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    5.1 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    72 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Explore lodgepole forests, wetlands, and flowering meadows along the Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop. This gorgeous circuit offers amazing wildlife viewing opportunities while boasting incredible vistas of the snow-capped Teton Mountains.

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    Route Description for Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail

    The Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail is an adventure chock full of wildlife and wonderment. Explore peaceful forests and meander along the shoreline of lively ponds and lakes. Though the Colter Bay Area is a popular destination in the park, this route boasts more tranquility, notably in the early mornings or late evenings. The lush environment along this route attracts a diversity of fauna—make sure at least one person in your party has bear spray and knows how to use it. If you do have an encounter with wildlife, admire them from a safe distance. Note Swan Lake is subject to wildlife closures to protect the nesting swan population; for information and updates, check out the NPS wildlife closure page. Additionally, the Grand Teton National Park charges an entrance fee; refer to the NPS website.

    Hiking the Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop makes for a peaceful experience. This family-friendly trek is an excellent option for those seeking a lowland adventure when the weather on higher elevation trails in the Tetons is dicey. The winding trail explores lush lodgepole forests, flowering meadows, and lively wetlands that bound the shimmering lake and charming pond. Along the way, you will be granted spellbinding views of the snow-capped Teton Mountains commanding the skyline. If you are lucky, you will also be treated to sights of swans, osprey, eagles, elk, deer, moose, geese, and more! Be sure to bring your camera; the scenery is picture-perfect.

    Embark on your adventure along the Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop from the Hermitage Point Trailhead. Note this route can be completed from either direction, but for clarity’s sake, we headed clockwise, taking the leftmost branch of the Hermitage Point Trail. The southbound trail will climb into the wilderness, guiding you beneath the canopy of lodgepole pines. Enjoy the shade and keep an eye out for fauna camouflaging in the forestlands. Soon the path will plateau, leading hikers into a meadow, which exposes wonderful views of the Teton Mountains.

    Continue hiking until you ultimately encounter an intersection, veer left here, and you will be redirected onto the Swan Lake Trail. Now tracking southeastwardly, the route will escape into the woodlands before nearing the shoreline of the beautiful lake. Notice a variety of waterfowl, including swans and beavers and possibly moose enjoying the lily pad occupied lake circumscribed by towering trees. After tracing the lakeshore, hikers will be redirected back into the enchanting woodlands. The mildly undulating path will eventually reach a junction. At this point, you will be rerouted northwestwardly along the Hermitage Point Trail.

    This lovely track will quickly near Heron Pond. A large portion of this pond is also occupied by verdant lily pads boasting the quintessential pond ambiance. Keep an eye out for eagles, osprey, ducks, geese, and deer here. This section of the hike will also treat you to impressive views of the snow-capped Teton Mountains lining the horizon. Admire the scenery, then continue trekking along the rightmost Hermitage Point Trail, meandering through a corridor of towering lodgepole pines before tracing the shoreline of Colter Bay. Revel in the beauty of Mount Moran framing Jackson Lake before exploring the Marina and reaching the trailhead—marking the end of your adventure.

    Trail Highlights

    Mount Moran

    Mount Moran is a prominent peak in the Teton Mountain Range that stands at an elevation of 3,844 m. Dominating the skyline, the craggy mountain rising dramatically above Jackson Lake boasts postcard-worthy scenery. Mount Moran is marked by a distinctive basalt intrusion known as the Black Dike and has several visible, active glaciers adorning the mountainside. Unfortunately, in 1950, a cargo plane crashed into the mountain, and due to the technical terrain and extreme conditions, the wreckage was never salvaged and remains on the mountain.

    Insider Hints for Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail

    • The bugs are relentless, so make sure to bring bug spray
    • One person in your party should have bear spray and know how to properly use it
    • Bring a camera, the views of Mount Moran are quite photogenic
    • Keep an eye out for eagles, otters, geese, ospreys, elk, moose, and more as you wander!
    • Bring a swimsuit and take a dip in Jackson Lake after your hike

    Getting to the Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail Trailhead

    The Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop departs from the Hermitage Point Trailhead off Cottonwood Way.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Colter Bay Campground

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


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    Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail Elevation Graph

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    Heron Pond and Swan Lake Loop Trail Reviews

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