TRAILS USED: Taggart Lake, Bradley Lake, Valley, Beaver Creek Trails
TRAIL TRAFFIC: Moderate to Heavy
TRIP TYPE: Day or Overnight Hike
MORE INFORMATION: Grand Teton National Park PO Drawer 170 Moose, WY 83012-0170 (307) 739-3300
HIGHLIGHTS: Grand Teton National Park is located at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem near the town of Jackson, Wyoming and the Rockefeller Parkway connects it to the protected land of nearby Yellowstone National Park offering visitors a vast wilderness to explore in the northwestern section of the State. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which at 13,770 feet (4,197 m), is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range.
The Tetons were named by French explorers who called the three highest peaks of the range Les Trois Tetons (the three breasts). In the 18th and 19th centuries, Caucasian fur trappers and fur traders called deep valleys rimmed by high mountains “holes.” David Jackson was one such fur trapper, and his favorite place to ‘hole-up’ was named after him in 1829. Today, Jackson Hole is a successful (albeit difficult) ski resort located a few miles outside of Jackson and near the boundary of Grand Teton National Park.
A short distance from Jackson Hole, both Taggart Lake (6,902 feet) and Bradley Lake (7,022 feet) are also named for 19th century visitors to the area who in this case were members of the Hayden Survey party of 1872. Each lake was formed by glaciers flowing from the Teton Range. A glacier from Avalanche Canyon filled Taggart Lake and a glacier from Garnet Canyon filled Bradley Lake. The hike to each lake is fairly easy, and both have mature forests of lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, and alpine fir. The lakes also have abundant wildlife and we nearly walked into a large bull moose on our hike. This route is easy to moderate in difficulty and is suitable for both day and overnight hikers that visit the park.