You are here

How Would You Improve The Jenny Lake Area Of Grand Teton National Park?


Grand Teton National Park officials are embarking on an effort to develop a rehabilitation plan for the Jenny Lake area of the park. NPS photo.

One of the most beautiful areas of Grand Teton National Park, and of the National Park System, is the Jenny Lake area that sits at the foot of the Tetons. A small, beautiful lake fringed by forest reflects the crags and is wrapped by a trail that leads you into the mountains.

Not surprisingly, this area is a magnet with visitors, who in turn cast a tremendous footprint on the area. Each year an estimated 1.8 million visitors come to Jenny Lake to paddle on its waters, to hike around the lake and head up to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls, or take a short boat ride across the lake to head up the hiking trails.

The area is perfect for testing aspiring climbers, and in fact some of the park's climbing concessionaires lead day classes in the area to prepare their clients for heading to the roof of the park, to the top of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton herself.

Mindful of the impacts heavy day-use of the Jenny Lake area has inflicted, Grand Teton officials are embarking on a planning effort to develop a renewal plan for the area, one that could improve trail conditions, generate a more in-depth interpretive plan for the area, and better protect the natural resources there.

The effort has been anticipated by locals, including the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, which intends to support the park's effort with a campaign to help rejuvenate the Jenny Lake area.

The areas that need to be addressed are clearly evident if you've visited Jenny Lake. Many of the trails were built back in the 1930s, long before heavy throngs of visitors were envisioned for the park. As a result, many of the trails have poor drainage and sections that are too steep under today's planning efforts. As a result, erosion is common, and on some days in summer over-crowding impacts visitors' enjoyment and leads to trampling of vegetation.

Four areas will be considered in the planning process, according to park officials. These include South Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, the String Lake outlet, and the Jenny Lake overlook. Project priorities are to: retain the historic character of the area; improve route finding; expand interpretation of Jenny Lake’s history, natural resources, and wilderness values; preserve and enhance the natural resources; and improve the overall visitor experience.

Grand Teton officials currently are in the scoping process for the project, asking for your input on what should be considered during development of the rehabilitation work and development of a master plan for the area. Part of the effort will include preparation of an environmental assessment that will analyze potential impacts of the project to a number of resources including geology, soils, vegetation, wildlife, cultural resources, water resources, wilderness character, and visitor use and experience.

Interested individuals, organizations or agencies are invited to provide relevant information or suggestions for consideration by park managers before a draft EA is written and made available for public review this winter. Scoping comments will be accepted through September 15.

You can obtain more information, including maps of the area, and submit comments online at this site, or by mail to Grand Teton National Park, P.O. Drawer 170, Moose, WY, 83012, c/o Margaret Wilson.


Make it so people cannot park within 2 miles of any trail head, stop boating people across Jenny lake, remove Jenny lake lodge and any other structures. In other words increase the difficulity of hiking the area

LOVE the idea posted by John at 8:46 am about not boating visitors across the lake! Such an overly commercial type of activity - makes it seem like 6 Flags or Disney with a boat ride and I think it lessens the rustic appeal of the GTNP and surrounding areas. People, I think, come to the wilderness to enjoy the wilderness. Let them take a boat ride in Italy or in NYC out to the Satue of Liberty but if you want to see majestic views and wildlife then the effort of a hike is a small price to pay:)

I wouldn't be as radical as John. Cars are the biggest problem, so the simplest solution is to close the road to cars. I also wouldn't stop the ferry, as it would be too much for some seniors to add a two mile walk around the lake to the hike to hidden falls. This is a beautiful area, but it needs to be accessible to all.

I wouldn't be as radical as John. Cars are the biggest problem, so the simplest solution is to close the road to cars. I also wouldn't stop the ferry, as it would be too much for some seniors to add a two mile walk around the lake to the hike to hidden falls. This is a beautiful area, but it needs to be accessible to all.

The best way to improve the Jenny Lake area is for Grand Teton National Park/NPS to allow the Jenny Lake boat concession to expire and not be renewed. This operation contributes to the croweded/congested west Jenny Lake area.

It's about a 4 mile hike, round trip, from the east shore to the west shore and back. This would require about 2 hours of hiking. How difficult is that?

The Jenny Lake area (actually all areas) of Grand Teton National Park is suffering from decades of neglect and deferred maintenance. As the son of a dedicated Park Service employee I was blessed to grow up at Moose and for almost fifty years now I have watched Grand Teton National Park become a wasteland of politically driven federal employees attempting to work their way up the bureaucratic food chain. The waste of tax dollars, misuse of public funds, poor management, self gratifying nonproductive pet projects and absolute arrogance is destroying America's park.

If there is true interest in reclaiming the Jenny Lake area and saving Grand Teton National Park the solution is simple: immediately remove the Superintendent and all department heads, reduce the bloated payroll by thirty-three percent (33%), put the focus on the Park and visitor and not the out of control urban administrative sprawl. Few realize that visitation has gone down in Grand Teton since the 1980's but the number of employees has doubled.

Definitely ditch the ferry. I don't think the other side of the lake has to be accessible, and certainly not by boat. I agree with Ree Beavers--it's not an amusement park. Plus the noise it makes is very annoying.

Eliminating the boat would make it much more difficult for some peolple to visit Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. This is not a good way to introduce people to the wonders of the park and garner the additional support all our national parks desperately need.

How hard is it to hike the 4 mile round trip? That depends. Fortyone years ago I hiked from Jenny Lake camp ground to Lake Solitude, over the divide, down Paintbrush Canyon and back to the campground in a long day. I didn't take the boat as I didn't approve of it. Ah, the arrogance of youth. Now that I'm over seventy, I appreciate the ability to take the boat when I hike up to Lake Solitude.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide