Phelps Lake hike

Grand Teton National Park
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Phelps Lake hike

Distance: 7.8mi
Elevation: 1,181ft
Time: 3.5-5h

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8.8 Overall Rating
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With little elevation gain, the hike around Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park is a great family-friendly walk, especially perfect for small children – plus there are fewer people here than Jenny Lake. The sandy beach at the far end is also ideal for a picnic and a swim.

Phelps Lake hike Map

Getting there

From Colter Bay or Jenny Lake head south towards Moose. At Moose, turn right onto Moose Wilson Rd. in the direction towards Teton Village and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Follow this very narrow road until you see the sign for the Preserve, then turn left into the parking lot. You can also access this route coming from Moose and heading North.

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When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites




Family friendly


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Phelps Lake
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Phelps Lake hike

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and the trails through it are brand new, so the facilities are pristine! The parking lot is very small and usually fills around 9 AM, so plan to arrive early.

From the parking lot head towards the visitor center where the trail will begin. From the “Preserve Center” turn right at the first fork along Woodland Trail. This wide path winds through the forest and offers a nice secluded nature walk. If you desire even more seclusion, take your first right along the Woodland Trail to the Boulder Ridge Trail. This single-track gains some more elevation and gives a small view across the plains.

Coming down from the Boulder Ridge Trail, you’ll find yourself seamlessly joining the Phelps Lake Trail. This route circumnavigates Phelps Lake, and is the path you will follow for most the hike. As you walk, look across the lake up to Prospectors Mountain on the right and Mount Hunt on the left. Around halfway up this side of the lake you will come across a massive boulder sticking into the water. This diving board is a perfect rock for cliff jumpers, so be prepared if you are interested.

On the far side of the lake you will arrive at a stunning white sandy beach. This is where the benefit of Phelps Lake over Jenny Lake really shines, as there are so few people here! It’s absolutely a perfect lunch spot. We saw backpackers inflating their sleeping pads and going for a float in the mild-temperature water, and envied their relaxation.

Continuing around the lake you will come to a junction. Walk up to the right a couple hundred meters to get a view into Death Canyon – it’s worth the short diversion. Return and continue walking on the Phelps Lake Loop Trail. Along the west side of the lake there are numerous small rocky and sandy beaches to enjoy, though they are less gorgeous then the northern beach. Huckleberry Point has large boulders that are perfect for sun tanners and those just wanting to soak in the views.

As you return, take the Lake Creek Trail to finish the hike.

Insider Hints

  • Bring a bathing suit, towel, picnic lunch and anything else you would need for a beach day. The secluded nature of Phelps Lake allows for a memorable swim and sun tan.

  • Pick up a map and talk to the helpful naturalist in the “Preserve Center” (visitor center)


Kristina Norm 4 months ago

A really good hike in Tetons. Not many places in August are quieter than this. If you go early.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Wyatt Thomas 5 months ago

Phelps Lake was a really lovely day out in the Tetons.

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SJ 5 months ago

I loved the beach at the end of Phelps Lake, made for a great day hike to stop for a picnic and a dip in the water.

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stocRob 5 months ago

Lake Phelps was lovely. My wife and I saw lots of birds and even more families with children enjoying the view. Would love to go back

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Ronny 5 months ago

A good and moderate hike. Phelps Lake is lovely. There were a lot of families on this one. We tried not to get in their way.

8.0 Overall Rating
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MadN 5 months ago

a good walk with not too much of elevation. lots of families

8.0 Overall Rating
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