Wyoming is one of those states that is easy to fall in love with. The stunning beauty of the mountainous peaks and valleys is sure to welcome the avid hiker. With several national parks and forests to welcome you, there is not any time to sit and do nothing. When you are in Wyoming, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. Here are nine trails that you need to place at the top of your to-do hiking experiences in Wyoming. You will not regret that first step on any one of these trails, as Wyoming offers beauty unlike any other place in the continental United States.
1. Devils Tower Trail, Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower Trail is one of the hikes in Wyoming that everyone should try to tackle. It’s 1.3 miles, which makes it fairly short, yet this trail offers a beautiful experience. Each time that I find myself road tripping in the northeast area of Wyoming, I find it fun to look ahead down the road for the tower. Depending on the skies, you may see this splendid monument many miles away. The wildlife viewing can be exceptional, so be sure you grab your binoculars before you leave the parking lot.
This trail is friendly to all guests. It's important to note that this trail is paved and friendly for hikers with mobility issues. April to October is the best time to visit. During the peak of summer, it can be difficult to find a parking place. The best tip I can give you is to arrive early before the crowds do. If you need lodging, book a campsite or cabin at the KOA campground nearby.
2. Jenny Lake Trail, Grand Teton National Park
Jenny Lake is one of the first lakes that I can recall visiting as a child. Through the years, the Jenny Lake Hiking Trail has remained the same with its beautiful lake and peak views. This is an almost eight-mile hike and it is rated as moderate. Any time you hike this trail, you will have a great chance of seeing wildlife, including moose. June through October is the ideal time to hike this trail, but you need to understand that summertime is extremely crowded.
You will want to arrive at the parking area near sunrise, as in the very early hours of the day. Your bonus for arriving early in the day is that you will encounter fewer people on the trail and the wildlife will be more active. Use your annual national park pass for entry into the park.
3. Cascade Canyon Trail, Grand Teton National Park
The Cascade Canyon Trail is a popular 9.7-mile hike that starts with a boat ride across scenic Jenny Lake. With an elevation gain of 1,128 feet, this hike is rated as moderate. If you want to explore further into the Grand Teton Mountain Range, this hike is calling your name. This hike will take you to Inspiration Point, which offers spectacular views of Grand Teton National Park. For a better opportunity at spotting a moose, continue deeper into the canyon before boarding the boat to return across Jenny Lake. April through September are prime months to hike this trail. If you choose to hike in early spring or late fall, pay close attention to the weather forecast, as snow is common during these times of the year. Your annual national park pass will suffice for admittance into the park.
4. Bearpaw And Trapper Lake Trail
The Bearpaw and Trapper Lake Trail is a moderately rated trail that runs along the border of Grand Teton National Park. The trail is 7.8 miles round trip and is located near the town of Moose. With an elevation gain of 137 feet, it’s a fairly level hike with beautiful views. You will want to have your binoculars and camera in tow, as the views here are astounding. Springtime brings colorful wildflowers and an opportunity to see the trail greening up. Spring also brings bugs and bears, which means you need to pack bug and bear sprays in your day pack.
The weather can change rapidly, so start early in the day to try to avoid the late afternoon thundershowers. May through September are ideal months to make this hike. Allow a good five hours to complete this hike -- and more time if you are a budding photographer. I found the wildflowers on this spring hike to be ideal for the Instagram enthusiast.
5. Phelps Lake Trail
This is my pick for the best hike in Wyoming. Check out TravelAwaits’ picks for the best hikes in all 50 states here.Phelps Lake Trail is a seven-mile loop trail also near the town of Moose. The spectacular views of the mountains in this area make it a favorite hike for many. With 725 feet in elevation gain, this trail is rated moderate. Moose and deer frequent this trail, as do other wildlife. The parking area can fill quickly, which means you need to plan to start early in the morning. May through September are ideal months to make this hike. Dress in layers; as the morning progresses, the air will warm rather quickly. Pack your lunch and enjoy it with a view of the lake for a memorable meal on the trail.
6. Mallard Lake Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Mallard Lake Trail in Yellowstone National Park is a little more than seven miles long, which is a nice challenge for the avid hiker. It offers scenery that reflects what America’s first national park looked like when it was established in 1872. Rocky canyons, pine forests, and views of Old Faithful can be seen along this trail. If you do not enjoy hiking crowded trails, the Mallard Lake Trail will be perfect for you. This hike offers the feel of a backcountry hike and invites you to experience nature at your own pace. This trail is rated moderate and is best hiked between April and September.
7. Grand Prismatic Hot Spring Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring Trail is located near Yellowstone National Park and features the ever-popular hot springs in Wyoming. This trail is 1.6 miles long and takes hikers out and back. The novice and experienced hiker will both enjoy this trail, as it is fairly level. May through October are popular times to use this trail. I have been in Yellowstone in early September and experienced a snowstorm, so plan accordingly. This trail is rated easy. It does have a 200-foot elevation gain.
8. Mystic Falls, Fairy Creek, And Little Fire Loop Trail, Yellowstone National Park
The Mystic Falls, Fairy Creek, and Little Fire Loop Trail is located near Yellowstone National Park. It is a 3.5-mile loop trail and is rated moderate with an elevation gain of 606 feet. The hike to the overlook may be quite strenuous for some hikers. For those wanting an easier hike, walk around Biscuit Basin. If you make it to the top, the waterfall views and general quiet are your rewards. Biscuit Basin can be quite crowded, and the best advice I can give you is to arrive early in the day. May through October is your best time to hike this trail, as your chances for snowfall and ice are less than in other months.
9. Moose Ponds Trail, Grand Teton National Park
Moose Ponds Trail is a fairly busy 3.2-mile trail located near Jackson in Grand Teton National Park. This trail is rated easy with 150 feet in elevation gain. It offers views of a long, open meadow. Wildlife viewing, including birding, is fantastic on this trail. You will want to dress in layers, use bug spray, wear sunscreen, and have ample water. This hike is not extremely long, but due to the great birding on this trail, you may find yourself immersed through the lens of your binoculars.
March through October are recommended months to experience Moose Ponds Trail. If you make this hike in the thick of summer, butterflies will most likely appear all around. Parking can be very limited, so plan to arrive in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the congestion.
Each of these hiking trails offers something unique that makes it special for hikers. Any time you take to the trails in Wyoming, be prepared. The weather can change rapidly during all months of the year. You will want to keep an eye on the local weather forecast before you hit the trails. As with any hike that you make, pack plenty of water and have an emergency kit along. You never know when the unexpected may happen.
The beauty of Wyoming will lure you in, and I can guarantee that when you hop off of the trail, you will be planning your next hiking adventure.
This article is presented by Keen Footwear. For my hikes, I wore the Women’s Targhee III Waterproof Mid hiking boots. I do have a right foot drop and I found that these hiking boots supported both of my feet well on the rocky trails. Shop KEEN’s Targhee and other hiking shoes here.