While there are countless trails to hike in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks that are amazing, they can take a while to get to and many of them require most of the day to complete. For those staying in the town of Jackson that want to get a hike in but don’t want to make an entire day of it, you are in luck! There are several great hikes right on the edges of town that can be completed within a couple of hours or much less depending on your speed and how far you wish to go. Below are some of the more popular hiking trails within a short distance of town.
Snow King Summit
Right in the heart of Jackson sits Snow King Mountain, you can’t miss it, as it is the gigantic hill right on the south edge of town with chair lifts going up in various directions. This hike is sure to get your heart rate going, with about 1,500 vertical feet in elevation gain along just 1.8 miles of trail. Short but steep, this hike is a local favorite and for good reason, with gorgeous views overlooking town and the entire valley. On clear days you can see all the way over to the Grand Teton and out into the Gros Ventre range.
This hike is similar to the Snow King Summit hike as it takes you to the top of a separate ridge of the same mountain, but with a more secluded feel as it goes along a single track rather than the wide service trail of Snow King. The views are essentially the same but will give you a panorama of the more southern areas of the Tetons and town. The climb amounts to about the same as well. However at the top of this hike there is a gorgeous meadow of wildflowers if you venture up at the right time, and a nice rocky outcropping at the very top to relax on and soak up the views. This trail can be accessed from the Wildlife Drive trailhead.
For those looking for a hike with a much more mellow incline, Cache Creek road and it’s offshoot trails provide this all while still offering great scenery. The trail can be accessed from the far southeast corner of town by following Cache Creek Dr. which eventually turns to a dirt road and there is a small parking before the true wilderness road begins. The road travels alongside the creek, and there are singletrack trails on both sides, with Hagen being the main one to your right as you head out and Putt Putt and Cache Creek Sidewalk to your left. These are popular mountain biking trails so keep an eye out for fellow trail users. Putt Putt on the left will take you higher above the road and into more open meadows of wildflowers and sage brush while Hagen is lower along the creek and is heavily shaded by pine trees. The road itself is a great hike to take as well offering a bit of both types of scenery, it will ultimately take you out to game creek if you are looking for a longer hike.