Allow me to precursor this post by saying that this next hike is not for the faint of heart. Let me also express a deep rage to all of the consulted sources that said this hike was 7 miles round trip, this hike was not. It was a whopping 9.52 miles round trip and is duly marked as Strenuous. This hike was beautiful, incredible, and challenging but I would recommend it to anyone who can handle such conditions.
Let me introduce you to Delta Lake:
This lake is sustained by the glaciers located high in the Tetons. The rock flour that feeds into the water is what turns the water turquoise and keeps it icy cold, it is truly a sight to behold. This hike is one of the better kept secrets of the Tetons and due to its difficulty, it is not a very popular destination. The trails were not very busy and passing people was not an often occurrence. The beginning of this journey starts out as a trail to a separate destination and requires a detour off the beaten path to reach this lake.
If you are starting this expedition from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you will need to head north on US191 to Grand Teton National Park. Turn left at Moose Junction, then on to Teton Park Road and stay there for 7 miles. You will encounter a junction that leads you to turn left onto Lupine Meadows Road. Stay on this road until you reach the parking lot that starts the Lupine Meadows trailhead. This is where your hike will start.
The first mile of this hike is relatively gentle but will gradually grow to a steady incline to reach a steep ascent to the ridge. With peek-a-boo shots of the Grand Teton itself between the trees, I dare say this was my favorite part of the hike. When you reach the junction for the Valley Trail, stay straight toward Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes. This is when you will encounter several switchbacks that will take you to another junction where the trail splits into the Garnet Canyon trail or the Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes trail. Keep to the right that takes you to the Surprise and Amphitheater lakes. Once you reach the first switch back of this side of the trail, you will leave the original trail and cut to the right onto an unmaintained trail. The entrance of which looks like this:
This is where the trail really gets difficult. The ascent is very steep and you will scramble across a boulder field for the duration of the trek.
The boulder field is treacherous, the rocks are not stable and the only way to mark the trail is by cairns along the way. Keep an eye out for these so you do not end up going the wrong way. There will be about a half a mile of uphill winding through trees on these boulders before you end up on a straight up climb towards the lake. Do not give up! You will be so close and very disappointed once you know how close you got. Once you reach the top of the hill you will be rewarded with the sight of this beautiful lake.
I would recommend taking a walk around the lake and at least dipping your toes in to see how cold it really is. This hike was amazing and I will surely do it again someday.
- Bring lots of water, this hike is long and this hike is difficult. Stay hydrated.
- Bring lots of snacks, I would recommend Clif bars and foods that will give you energy and not strip you of your hydration.
- Boots, you will want ankle support as you scramble across the boulders.
- Sunscreen, there are long stretches of trail that offer no relief from the sun.
- Use the “AllTrails” app to keep you oriented and make sure you are staying on the correct trail.
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