One of the greatest perks for working at the ranch is that our staff can use the Tetons as their playground. Through their explorations, they’ve discovered their favorite places to hike and play.
Phelps Lake, also known as the Phelps Lake Jumping Rock, is one such place. Located on the northeastern shore of Phelps Lake, the Jumping Rock rises about 25 feet (although reported heights vary) above this serene glacially-fed body of water. Due to the glacier, the water is cold even in August. But many say it’s warm enough to enter for swimming by mid to late July. It’s not hard to imagine why this hike is a staff favorite, especially in the heat of summer and early fall.
Reaching the Jumping Rock requires a short but beautiful hike. Starting at the Rockefeller Preserve, hike across a sagebrush flat to reach the LSR Visitor Center. Beyond the visitor center, the trail enters a pine forest. At just over .2 mile from the trailhead, you’ll come to a fork. Going left leads to a small viewing area just off the main trail. Stick to the right to keep heading toward the lake.
A little farther and you’ll arrive at the Woodland Trial / Lake Creek Trail junction. Either path will get you to the lake, but the Woodland Trail is faster and the most scenic. At just over .5 mile, the trail crosses over Moose-Wilson Road. Another .9 miles and the trail reaches the Boulder Ridge Trail junction. To continue toward Phelps Lake, hikers should continue heading straight. At this point, the trail has already climbed about 225 feet, and most of the elevation gain has been completed.
At roughly 1.3 miles, hikers will reach the Phelps Lake trail junction. The shore is only a short walk away and offers some magnificent views. Directly across from this vantage are Death Canyon and Albright Peak with its 10,552 feet of elevation. To the left of the canyon is Prospector’s Mountain, which has an elevation of 11,241-feet.
Continue hiking along the Phelps Lake trail to the north (in a counter-clockwise direction around the lake). In about another mile you’ll reach the Jumping Rock. Although it is a large landmark, you might hear it before you see it due to shouts from cliff jumpers. The top is large enough for small groups of people to hang out, but many people bring inner tubes and hang out on the lake in between jumps.
Total hike length: about 4.5 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 400 ft
We hope you enjoy your trek. Before you go, take a few moments to review safety recommendations for hiking the Grand Tetons. As with many areas, this particular trail has bear warnings. We also recommend checking with the visitor center before heading out to get any day-to-day updates.
Of course, our staff of experienced wilderness guides can help you plan the safe and fun outing of your dreams. Visit our Guided Adventures link below for details.