The Continental Divide Trail, a cross-country hiking trail, passes through the Wind River Range into Yellowstone. While the trail doesn’t traverse the Tetons, Jackson is a popular side-trip and resupply for those hiking longer distances on the trail. Cross-country cycling routes also pass through the valley, and Jackson is a popular spur trip from the Continental Divide bike route as well.
Jackson Hole has a great network of trails, and pathways connecting different towns, villages and trailheads in the valley, allowing access to the outdoors for many, whether they have a car to drive or not. Friends of Pathways, a Jackson-based non-profit, has been instrumental in the development of a pathways system that connects Jackson, Wilson, Moose, and Grand Teton National Park. This allows for safe, car-free travel around the valley that stays off of busy highways.
See our list of links to help you plan or find information at the end of this post.
Trails close to Jackson that can be accessed without a car
So, you find yourself in Jackson, without a car, and you want to hike, or go for a trail run. Here are some ideas:
1. Quick access for quick exercise: The trail system around Snow King and Cache Creek allows for a quick run, hike or mountain bike. Miles of singletrack can be accessed at the Cache Creek Trailhead, from the base of Snow King Mountain, and at trailheads near the library, and Russ Garaman Park.
2. Backpacking without a car: Hikers can access hundreds of miles of trails in the Gros Ventre Wilderness from the Cache Creek Trailhead, as well as from the Goodwin Lake Trailhead, northeast of town. For Cache Creek access, walk across town, or take the START Bus Town Shuttle to Redmond & Hansen and walk to the trailhead. From there, one hikes about 6 miles up the Cache Creek drainage before coming to a trail intersection. One way heads toward Cache Peak, Jackson Peak, and later Turquoise Lake and the Granite Creek Drainage. The other heads toward the Gros Ventre Highline trail. Multi-day loops and one-way hikes can be put together from here.
One can also access the Goodwin Lake trailhead, by walking, biking, or hitch-hiking (legal in WY) through the National Elk Refuge, and up past Curtis Canyon to the trailhead. If you’re going to walk, it’s about 15 miles from near St. John’s Hospital to Goodwin Lake, with about 3000’ of elevation gain.
3. Southern Tetons and Granite Canyon Trail from the Moose-Wilson Road: Pathways connect Jackson, Wilson, and Teton Village, so one can bike or walk to Grand Teton National Park’s entrance on the Moose Wilson Road. The START Bus can also be used to get to the Stilson Lot and Teton Village. The Granite Canyon trailhead is only a few miles north of here. The Philips Trailhead on Highway 22 west of Wilson can be accessed by car, and hikers without one stand a decent chance of catching a ride to or from the trailhead. This is also good start to the Teton Crest Trail.
The author of this article has hiked the Teton Crest to and caught a ride from the Jenny Lake store to the Philips Trailhead to retrieve his car. It would be just as easy, probably easier, to get back to Jackson.
Overnight camping in Grand Teton requires a permit. Permits can be acquired in Moose, Jenny Lake, and Colter Bay, as well as reserved online in the early season before the park season really gets going.
Pathways Access to Grand Teton National Park
Pathways connect Jackson and Moose. From there, a park pathway continues north to the South Jenny Lake Junction. This allows safe, car-free access to Grand Teton’s visitor center, Dornan’s, the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch, Lupine Meadows trailhead, Jenny Lake, and Cascade and Paintbrush canyons.
Lodging is available at the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch. Showers and Laundry are also available there.
The Jenny Lake village also has a backcountry office, where you can get overnight permits and information.
Bike Rentals in Jackson Hole
In Moose (Grand Teton National Park) – Adventure Sports
Flying in or out?
Rental car facilities are not based at the Jackson Hole Airport, but rather in the town of Jackson.