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Are you planning a camping trip to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming? Are you looking for a vacation that combines physical, mental, and emotional healing? Here is a simple guide for you to get started: It will show you how to use hiking to heal and invite you to embrace nature in the glorious Tetons.

I have hiked in National Parks Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Arizona, Maine, and Nevada, and can confidently say the Tetons are the best of the best. I in spent a week exploring all of Grand Teton National Park, hiking for hours every day. Trails that were quiet or crowded, each one offers something remarkable.

Whether you’re new to hiking or new to self healing, there’s something here for you. When you mindfully connect to nature as part of your experience, you embark on self-healing.

Healing In Nature

Hiking in nature means peace, renewal, and health. For a trauma survivor, hiking can bring inner healing and spiritual growth.

Because trauma robs an individual of their ability to experience the present moment through their five senses, survivors must rebuild this skill. For a child, the five senses are meant to connect to the magic and beauty of the world. For a trauma survivor, being open to the world around you is not safe. It takes practice, but with dedication it can be done.

Another effect of trauma that it disconnects a person from their body. It can be terrifying to be present in one’s body and feel physical sensations. Over time, the norm is to become numb. Breathing shallow is typical, and attuning to beauty in the moment is completely foreign.

It takes years to undo this pattern, and practicing mindfulness in nature, connecting to your senses is the first step. Traveling and experiencing nature to practice integrating the five senses and feeling safe in one’s body is the goal.

A trauma survivor must work tirelessly to put the pieces back together. However, spending time in nature and intentionally tuning into the five senses works. Walking, hiking, and healing.

Colorful blue green skies mixed with low clouds for your hike in the Tetons
Spectacular views just waiting for you in Grand Teton National Park

First Things First : Safety

Wyoming hiking in the glorious Grand Tetons is an unforgettable experience. However, it is important to make safety your priority when hiking here, solo or in a group. Here’s a short list of important safety measures to take before embarking on your hike, then continue reading to find out about some amazing short hikes in the park.

  1. Check Weather Conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast for the area. Sudden weather changes can be dangerous in the Tetons, so be prepared for any conditions.
  2. Inform Someone: Let someone know your hiking plans, including your intended route, estimated return time, and emergency contact information. This ensures that someone can alert authorities if you don’t return as planned.
  3. Carry Essentials: Pack essential gear such as bear spray, a map, compass, first-aid kit, multi-tool, extra clothing layers, and enough food and water for your hike.
  4. Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout your hike. Water sources in the Tetons may not be safe to drink without purification, so bring a water filter or purification tablets.
  5. Wildlife Awareness: Respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance. Do not feed or approach animals, and be cautious around moose, bears, and other potentially dangerous animals.
safety sign warning of bear precautions

By following these safety measures, you keep yourself safe, which is always the goal for a trauma survivor.

Need flights to the Tetons?

Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is the closest to the park, about a 5-minute drive to the park entrance.
Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) is located about 90 miles west of the park.
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is in Utah is about 280 miles south of the park.

Now onto the amazing hikes.

Grand Teton Trails

A magnificent place for a trauma survivor to hike is the glorious Grand Tetons. Prepare to be amazed by the jaw-dropping sights and crisp, fresh air. Not sure about “must do” hikes? Want to experience the iconic trails you know are top-rated for a reason? That’s good, you have come to the right place. I’ve experienced the majesty of this park and its magnificent trails and have tips for ways to maximize your connection to the trails and your five senses. Better yet, set an intention for using your hikes to heal yourself, and embrace the journey.

Jenny Lake Trail is an iconic Wyoming hiking in Grand Teton National Park. It combines accessibility with stunning vistas and opportunities for wildlife viewing. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking for a memorable stroll in the Tetons, Jenny Lake Trail is a must.

The hike takes you around the stunning Jenny Lake, providing picturesque views of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks, including the spectacular Grand Teton. If you’ve had the privilege of experiencing Canadian National Parks, this view will sure remind you of Banff. This trail is accessible to hikers of various skill levels. The trail’s elevation gain is minimal, making it a relatively easy hike, perfect for those looking for a leisurely nature walk.

Glorious view of crystal blue skies of the Teton range for hiking
Counterclockwise start to your hike of Jenny Lake gives fantastic views

 

The trailhead sits at the heart of Jenny Lake Visitor Center, and offers facilities, including snacks / food for sale, restrooms and water filling stations.

The distance is 7.1 mile loop around Jenny Lake, but the distance can be altered if you take the boat shuttle. There are two options for beginning your route, I recommend counter-clockwise because this offers spectacular views of the Teton Mountain Range and the lighting on the mountains towards the west will be much better during the early part of the day, rather than later. Of course this means that your first half of the hike will be shaded, with the second part has less.

tall pines at low water levels are one of many sights on this hike
Resting place for a snack and journal half-way through the hike

Why hike this trail? It’s one of the best trails for observing grizzly bears. Unfortunately the closest I got to seeing a bear on my hike was fresh scat. But there’s always next time!

One unique feature of this Wyoming hiking trail is the boat to shuttle you across the lake to shorten your hike. The Jenny Lake boat shuttle operates during the summer months and is a unique way to access the trail. It can save you time and add an extra layer of adventure to your hike.

incredible view of the Teton mountain range on this hike
Counter-clockwise offers spectacular morning views of the Teton Mountain Range

I chose to avoid the boat fee and walk the last leg, making it an exceptional distance for a hiker like me. However, the boat ride is an opportunity to relax and use water for healing. The swaying of the boat, the metaphor of being carried, each provide wonderful ways to nurture and care for your body. For individuals seeking healing, the act of pampering yourself with this unique boat excursion can be powerful.

hiking to heal in the Tetons on a rare forest trail
Diverse mixed forest for the beginning of hike

Another breathtaking Wyoming hiking trail is Taggert Lake Loop. This trail leads you through lush forests and offering breathtaking views of Taggert Lake with the stunning Grand Teton peaks as a backdrop. Along the way, you’ll find well-marked paths, making navigation a breeze. The elevation gain is moderate, making it accessible for hikers of various fitness levels. This trail is open from late June to October, so plan your visit accordingly.

The distance is 3.9 mile loop with .5 mile added with Beaver Creek. Taggert Lake Trail is commonly compared to Jenny Lake, but they are very different. Taggert Lake parallels a section of Taggert Creek, creating the soothing sound of rushing water in the first third of your journey. Another difference amongst the trails is the bonus of traveling through a mixed forest of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine. You’ll also pass through some long stretches of aspen groves, creating beautiful displays of dappled light. This is a perfect place to stop and journal so pop your field guide in your backpack.

This trail is ideal for healing in nature. It offers light and shadow, creating a spectrum of colors. The sounds of the rushing creek is soothing and meditative. The smells of the various tree species invites long, deep breaths to ground and center your physical body.

Moose Ponds Trail in Grand Teton National Park is a hidden gem for nature-loving adventurers. The trail covers approximately 2 miles round trip, making it a manageable hike for various skill levels.

The trailhead is easily accessible, and the well-marked path takes you through the beautiful Teton wilderness. While hiking, you’ll have the chance to spot various wildlife, including moose, which are known to frequent the area.

Moose Ponds Trail is typically open from late June through October, offering a window of opportunity to explore its natural beauty. The elevation gain is moderate, allowing you to enjoy the hike without excessive physical strain. For those seeking a tranquil escape and a chance to connect with nature and heal, Moose Ponds Trail is a fantastic choice.

Wonderful Wildlife At Moose Pond

Family of moose in the Grand Tetons on Moose Pond Trail
Very lucky to watch a family of moose on the trail

This Wyoming hiking trail is not called Moose Pond for nothing. On the trail there wasn’t just one moose, but 2 bulls, a mother, and a calf. It was my lucky day because it provided two hours of peaceful observation – including watching these incredible animals blowing bubbles under water when feeding and vocalizations between mom and baby. I hope you get the same luck but even if you don’t the trail is still a 10.

Observing animals in the wild is a wonderful way to incorporate mindfulness for healing. Sitting patiently and quietly, literally pausing everything for the simple pleasure of witnessing a wild creature, brings peace to the soul. It allows for a trauma survivor to lose themself in the moment, and let go of the daily mental grind. Simplicity and wonder brings a person in deeper touch with their child-like nature. There’s profound healing and joy in that.

Hermitage Point Trail sign in the Tetons showing safety and geology tips


The total Distance is 10.1 miles but can easily be scaled back to 5 miles or less. The trail is far less crowded than most others in the park. In fact, for over an hour I didn’t see another person at all.

Hermitage Point Trail with beauty, lily pads, and beaver dam activity in Tetons for your hiking to heal enjoyment
Beaver dam and heron nesting area on Hermitage Point Trail

The trail starts at Colter Bay, in the back right side of the parking lot. When you read detailed trail maps, it can be a little intimidating to navigate all the turns and forks. However, the trail is well marked and getting back to Colter Bay Village parking area is pretty easy.

Besides solitude, another distinguishing feature of this trail is the forest-filled pitch pines giving off NJ Pine Barren scents. The vast stretches of sagebrush meadows that provide wildlife viewing opportunities add to the landscape. As if that is enough, Hermitage Point offers not one, not two, but three ponds with swans, herons, eagles, beavers, and pelican sightings.

It’s easy to see how this trail can connect you to nature and therefore healing. Most of all is the quiet, where your own footsteps are your only companions. Being closely in tune with your body movement and surrounded by solitude creates an environment for deep insights and intuition to come through. There’s so many reason this trail qualifies as excellent setting for field guide journaling.

String loop trail tetons best for hammocks and lounging
Plenty of space to stretch out for a glorious day along String Lake Trail


It’s hard to believe I almost missed this gem, but I’m glad I discovered the beauty and serenity of this easy loop. The sparkling green water is made more fantastic by the bathers and SUP riders. On banks scattered across approximately one mile, there are pockets of families and beach goers. The general abundance of space and privacy gives this hike a mellow, feel-good vibe similar to before over-commercialization.

tetons trail ranger on the watch
Swim, paddle, or meditate along the beautiful glacial lakes

After your hike, continue this retro atmosphere with lunch at the nostalgic picnic area. From the rickety wooden doors in the bathroom, to the concrete picnic tables in the rustic facility grounds, you’ll feel like you’re back in the 70’s. Perhaps this setting isn’t for everyone, since I drove around the enormous parking lots three times before I found a spot and yet there was only one other person using this area during my time there. Which is why, if you dislike Disney-like crowds and value good old fashioned nature, you want to experience this special sweet spot.

One possibility to use this hike for healing is to recall times in your childhood that you connected to nature. In that innocent state, it is easy to recall the beautiful, healthy child you were, carefree and resilient. Reclaiming the joy that once was, before trauma stole its memory from you, is possible. Even if those cherished memories are buried, given enough practice and dedication, they can still be brought forth. Perhaps when you do remember them, you’ll discover a renewed love for the natural world and find that you’re an animist.

Final Thoughts On Hiking To Heal

This is just a sampling of the sensational hiking trails in legendary Grand Teton National Park. Experience the adventure and the thrill of Wyoming hiking for yourself, and take with you a healed version of yourself when you leave.

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