This hike uses some of the best trails in the park, yet almost no one journeys this far north... Expect to encounter more wildlife than people on this route.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Bring your bear spray, this is bear country.
Permits are required for all overnight backcountry stays in the park and parkway. To
minimize the impact on park resources, backcountry permits are limited. One-third of the
backcountry campsites and all of the group sites may be reserved in advance. The remaining sites are filled on a first-come, first-served basis at park permit offices no more than one day before the trip begins. Plan alternative routes based on availability.
$25 per walk-in permit.
$35 per advance reservation. This fee covers the reservation and permit
See this site
for campsite reservations.
This hike begins directly south of the Glade Creek parking area in a heavily burned zone. The Huck Fire moved through this area in 1988, the year of the huge fires in the Greater Yellowstone area. Tall, dead trunks point skyward, while ones that have already fallen lay haphazardly all around. Watch and listen in this area for falling trees; even a slight breeze can topple these long dead tree trunks.
After less than a quarter mile, the scenery changes into a mixed conifer forest. The forest is alive with the sounds of nature: birds chirping, small animals rustling in the undergrowth, and wind in the trees. The trail then begins to dip down into the Glade Creek drainage and the vegetation starts to thicken. Even late in the season, wildflowers are abundant in this area.
At approximately 1.5 miles the trail crosses Glade Creek on a small footbridge. Beyond the bridge there are some small streams that are easily stepped over by mid-July, but you might get your feet wet earlier in the season. From here, the trail leads through more mixed forest and then opens up into a large meadow where the Snake River widens to become Jackson Lake. Osprey, eagles, sandhill cranes, and other birds are easy to spot in this area.
Continue this journey beyond the Grand Teton National Park boundary, and snake your way along the Jackson Lake shoreline. Soon enough you'll turn right onto Berry Creek
. Enter this massive, lush meadow environment; the trail is beautiful from top to bottom, and takes you all the way to the base of Jackass Pass
or Survey Peak Trail
. Forellen (9,772') and Survey (9,277') Peaks serve as constant backdrops to this awesome trail.
At the next intersection, turn left onto Berry-Owl Cutoff
. This trail does exactly what you'd expect - connect Berry Creek
to Owl Peak Trail
. Heading south off of Berry Creek
, you'll almost instantly cross !Berry Creek
itself and gains a shelf that rises steeply above !Berry Creek
. Switchback steeply up, then lazily down on this shelf to an intersection with Owl Peak Trail
This cutoff provides easy access to Owl Peak Trail
in all of its backcountry glory and is nestled between Elk Ridge to the east and the gentle slopes of Forellen Peak (9,715') to the west.
Go left (east) and cross !Berry Creek
before it joins with Owl Creek. From here, the trail winds its way above the waterway and finally drops down to the intersection with Webb Canyon Trail
and Glade Creek Trail
. Stay straight and follow the western shore of Jackson Lake on Glade Creek Trail
. Notice the Patrol Cabin near this intersection, as well.
Glade Creek Trail
eventually winds its way back to the parking lot where you started.
The aquatic habitats along Jackson Lake and its adjacent forests, marshes and meadows fulfill the needs of many forms of wildlife. Diverse and abundant vegetation offers excellent food and cover. Look for moose, river otters, beavers, muskrats, coyotes and mule deer.
Between the crags of the Tetons, ice age glaciers carved deep canyons. Today, the canyons contain dense conifer forests and open meadows of wildflowers. As elevation increases, wildflowers abound while trees become stunted and eventually shrub-like.â€œKrummholzâ€ (German for â€œcrookedwoodâ€) plants are dwarfed forms that are treelike at lower elevations.
From treeline to valley floor, forests provide cover and food for many mammal species. Look for elk, mule deer, martens, red squirrels, black bears and snowshoe hares. Moose are a common sighting near the creeks that line these beautiful canyons.