Post Summary: Snowshoeing Taggart Lake Trail in the Winter, With Gear And Photography Tips
Have you ever wanted to visit the Grand Teton National Park during winter?
The Teton Range during this season is covered in a gorgeous white blanket, the roads are quiet, and elk are all gathered together in the valley near Jackson, Wyoming.
It’s truly a magical place to experience in the winter, and this season provides some unique ways to experience the park that no other season can offer!
One of those experiences is the many snowshoeing opportunities, especially to frozen lakes and the foot of the mountain range. In this post, we’re sharing one of our favorite easy winter hiking trails in the Grand Teton National Park – Snowshoeing To Taggart Lake!
We’re sharing what it takes to snowshoe Taggart Lake Trail in the winter, how to prepare, and what to expect along the way (hint: VIEWS!). Now get your hiking poles and let’s go!
Snowshoeing The Taggart Lake Trail in Winter (Grand Teton National Park)
Quick Facts About Taggart Lake Trail:
The snow starts to come to Jackson Hole around early November and can stay all the way until late March, so this season is a perfect time to get your gear on and explore Wyoming in the winter!
- Distance: 3-mile out and back loop.
- Elevation Gain: 300-500 feet.
- Trailhead Elevation: 6,600 ft above sea level.
- Fees? Yes, National Park Pass entry. (Read the breakdown of Western USA Park Passes here)
- Are Dogs Allowed On Taggart Lake Trail? No.
How To Get Around Jackson, Wyoming In The Winter
The easiest and most direct way to get to the Grand Teton National Park in winter is to Fly into Jackson Hole Airport. From here you can easily rent a car, and these cars are generally equipped with all the snow safety features you could need during winter in the Tetons.
However, it’s always good to double-check, so make sure they provide items like an ice scraper, snow brush, and snow tires for your journey.
The trails around Bradley and Taggart Lakes are easier trails with rolling hills but no steep climbs, suitable for most ages and abilities. The tallest hill is around 150 feet, so it’s a good way for beginners to become accustomed to walking in snowshoes, and all participants can enjoy breathtaking views of the Tetons while getting some exercise.
How To Get To The Taggart Lake Trailhead
The Taggart Lake Trailhead is located just over 2 miles north from the Moose Entrance Station of the Grand Teton National Park. From the town of Jackson, it’s about a 25-minute drive.
On the way, you’ll also pass the National Elk Refuge, which is heavily populated with wildlife in the winter months. Give yourself a little wiggle room to stop by here to see them for yourself!
The majority of the park roads (especially Teton Park Road) are closed for the winter starting on November 1st. However, the parking area for Taggart Lake Trailhead is accessible year-round, making this a popular destination for snowshoers and Nordic skiers.
The parking lot coordinates for the trailhead are here: (43.69313, -110.73299)
While the main trail available here is to Taggart Lake, there are actually several winter trail options available to you. Each has its own gradual terrain and beautiful scenery to explore. Here are a few popular routes:
- Taggart Lake: 3-mile trail out-and-back (We’ll be talking about this one in this post)
- Trail To Bradley Lake: 3.4 miles out-and-back with slightly more elevation gain
- Taggart Lake / Beaver Creek Loop: 4 miles round-trip
What To Expect Snowshoeing Taggart Lake Trail In Winter
The beginning of the Taggart Lake Trail is wide and flat. We had a very easy time finding the trail and snowshoe tracks from other snowshoers. After a gentle elevation gain, you’ll come to a bridge crossing Taggart Creek, where the trail gets narrower and parallels the creek as you continue your ascent.
Because of the undulation of the tracks (think of a children’s play slide), this is a popular place for Nordic skiers to zoom down the trail on their return. Keep your eyes out for them and make sure to step to the side as they go by!
Groomed Trail Etiquette Tip: It’s common courtesy to keep on your appropriate tracks, especially snowshoers. Step to the side of cross-country ski tracks as to avoid crushing them – the Nordic skier will thank you!
Once out of the trees (between 0.7 miles and 1 mile in), you’ll begin to see the expansive views of the Grand Teton Mountain Range, especially the impressive 13,770-foot Mt. Grand Teton, the highest of the peaks in the Teton Range.
Just a few minutes more will bring you to the edges of the frozen Taggart Lake!
Important Frozen Lake Safety Tips
When snowshoeing the Taggart Lake trail, it’s very common to see hikers at the top of the lake, taking a snack/water break and enjoying the views before them. It’s also common to see people walking across the frozen lake!
However, we feel obligated to tell you that there are inherent risks that come with walking on frozen water. Do we recommend it? No. Will we stop you? Also, no.
We can’t predict the weather conditions of your hike, the temperature, or ice thickness. Therefore, we’ll leave you with important safety reminders when dealing with frozen lakes:
A Snow Dusting Can Give The Illusion of A Fully Frozen Lake. Be wary of snow covering the ice – it may not actually be frozen all the way through.
Avoid Walking On Frozen Lakes Early OR Late in The Season. Fluctuating temperates can compromise the ice’s integrity.
Don’t Walk On A Frozen Lake Unless There Are At Least 4-Inches of Frozen Ice VISIBLE. 4 inches is a good start, but it’s better if it’s thicker!
Avoid Walking On Ice When Hiking Solo. Don’t even think about it. Additionally, when walking on frozen ice with a buddy, leave a safe distance to distribute weight.
Stuck/Fallen In a Frozen Lake? Watch this video from Pike Pole Fishing Guides on how to perform a self-rescue in cold water.
Photographing Taggart Lake Trail in Winter
Winter photography opportunities are one of the many reasons people come to go snowshoeing on Taggart Lake trail this time of year. If it’s your first time taking a camera out in the snowy weather, here are some tips on getting the best out of your gear:
Mountain Range Views In The Grand Tetons
It’s more fun photographing the Tetons when you know the names of the mountains! Brush up on the names and locations of visible mountains like Mount Wister, the South and Middle Teton peaks, and even Avalanche Canyon and Shosoko Falls. You’ll have a deeper sense of appreciation if you know what you’re shooting!
Consider Packing A Lightweight Travel Tripod
If you are serious about photography, consider packing a lightweight travel tripod to help take your images to the next level. We recommend the Peak Design Aluminum Travel Tripod.
It’s a bit steep in price, but if you constantly find yourself photographing landscapes on long hikes, this is the last tripod you’ll ever buy.
Know The Right Camera Setting For Winter Days
Is it a sunny day? The snow reflects more sunshine than usual, so consider putting your camera set on a low ISO (like ISO 100), and high shutter speed to balance a large amount of light coming in.
Winter hikes are also a good time to test out camera lens polarizers. These help balance out harsh reflections and give you more color and depth in your wither photographs.
Be Aware Of Cold Weather Conditions On Your Camera
Is your camera weather sealed? (Canon cameras generally are). Do you have enough batteries? These are some of the questions you need to know about your camera before taking it out in cold weather.
It never hurts to pack extra batteries, too – low temperatures can drain them faster than usual. Store them in an inside coat pocket to keep them warm.
Several Opportunities To Spot Wildlife
The winter in Grand Teton National Park is an excellent time to spot wildlife like moose, fox, black bears, grouses, and rabbits. This is also a great time to look for their tracks, so check out this inexpensive guidebook if you’re curious to know more about identifying wildlife on the trail.
What To Wear When Hiking Taggart Lake Trail in Winter
Snowshoes or Nordic Skis
We own these Tubbs Wilderness snowshoes and love how easy they are to get on, and how lightweight they feel when walking!
Don’t have your own snowshoe gear? No problem! Renting winter gear in Jackson, Wyoming is very easy, and very affordable. You can find rentals at around $15 per day! Here are some great winter gear rental places in Jackson, Wyoming:
- Skinny Skis (Downton Jackson, Wyoming) – 65 West Deloney Avenue Jackson, Wyoming 83001
- Teton Backcountry Rentals (North of town, near Elk Refuge) – 565 N Cache St, Jackson, WY 83001
Good Winter Hiking Boots
One of the most important pieces of gear when snowshoeing Taggart Lake Trail is quality winter hiking boots. You’ll want to look for something waterproof and insulated to keep your feet warm and dry on the trail.
Gaiters are the shield that keeps snow from getting in your boots. We own these pairs from Black Diamond and love how they protect our legs in high snow situations.
Hiking poles help you distribute your weight on tough trails, and provide a whole body workout experience. These hiking poles from LEKI are really user-friendly, lightweight, and perfect for packing for winter road trips.
For easy handling and protection from the elements, we suggest a lightweight pair of gloves like these ones from Outdoor Research.
We found that liners work well for us on sunny days, but if you find yourself in a blizzard we might suggest a more waterproof pair like these ones from Hestra for more protection but with the same low-profile.
Because snowshoeing is a sweaty sport, you’ll want effective layers to keep you warm without overheating. We suggest three layers – a sweat-wicking base layer, a thermal mid-layer (like a fleece zip-up), and a waterproof outer layer.
It’s important to start your Taggart Lake trail hike with all your layers on. It’s much easier to take off a jacket and tie it around your waist than pulling it out of your backpack to put on along the trail!
Check out our recent review of The North Face Thermoball Eco Hoodie, which we think is the perfect lightweight down coat for snowshoeing in the Grand Tetons!
Where to Stay In Jackson, Wyoming in Winter
During our last visit to Jackson Hole, we stayed at the Anvil Hotel, which was the perfect mix of rustic western with modern amenities. From their complimentary morning coffee to community puzzle tables, they gave us plenty of advice for outdoor (and indoor!) winter activities in the Grand Tetons.
Other places to stay in Jackson Hole in the winter:
- Mountain Modern Hotel (Right in the middle of Downtown Jackson)
- Snow King Resort (Luxury resort by the slopes)
- The Wort Hotel (Old School Western Charm, great restaurant on site)
Other Winter Activities Near Jackson, Wyoming
Loved snowshoeing Taggart Lake trail? There are a lot more amazing activities to do around the Grand Teton National Park! Here are our favorites:
Guided Ski and Snowshoeing Tours Through The National Park Service
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of the winter in Grand Teton National Park, there is an opportunity to take a guided snowshoe tour of Taggart Lake trail with a park ranger. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn more about the area!
Find The Secret Boiling River Hot Springs in Yellowstone
The Boiling River in Yellowstone is one of the very few hot springs you can legally enjoy! We wrote an entire guide about the Boiling River in Wyoming, and how you can enjoy this lesser-known Yellowstone location for yourself.
Take a Winter Road Trip!
Think road trips are only for the summer? Think again! A Rocky Mountain road trip is beautiful this time of year and what’s better to plan than a scenic winter road trip route through them! Start planning your trip and itinerary here!
Make A Road Trip To Bozeman, Montana In Winter
Take your winter road trip all the way to Bozeman, Montana! There are so many fun things to do in Bozeman in winter. From relaxing hot springs, ice climbing, and nordic skiing, the possibilities are endless! Oh, and did I mention their brewery scene is AWESOME?
Have you ever taken the Taggart Lake Trail in Winter? We’d love to hear some tips for visiting Jackson Hole in Winter! Tell us all about it in the comments below!