Imagine sitting on a boulder in the middle of a clear turquoise lake with jagged mountains reaching up all around you! If this sounds like your dream, then you need to hike the Delta Lake Grand Teton hike 🥾.
Although this trail used to be a hidden gem, it is now one of the most popular in the entire park. This path is steep as it climbs 2200 feet up the mountain and you will have to navigate over a boulder field. However, hundreds of people walk this treacherous trail up to the top on a daily basis. So, just know that you can make it 💪🏻 if you take it slowly! We went with my partner’s mom and she made it to the top without any problems.
We spent a week in this Wyoming park, exploring the best sights and going on incredible trails. However, Delta Lake was the clear winner ⭐️! It was an all time favorite of mine and I would go again for the chance to see the beautiful water in person. It’s definitely a hike to add to your bucket list!
Read below for the complete trail guide 📝 to Delta Lake Grand Teton. I have included a packing list, directions, and everything you need to know about the trail!
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Table of Contents
Delta Lake Grand Teton Hike Details
Quick Hike Details
Length: 7.6 miles
Elevation: 2210 feet
Type: Out and Back
What is Delta Lake?
Delta Lake is a glacial lake nestled in the Teton mountains. This turquoise colored lake sits at 9000 feet above sea level. It is one of the most stunning lakes in the entire park and has become increasingly popular. For those who are brave enough, you can take a dip in the chilly waters of the lake 🥶.
However, this hike is technically an “unofficial” trail, so that means the Park service does not maintain it. But plenty of visitors walk to the lake daily, so it’s usually easy to find the trail to the top. You may come across fallen trees or snow along the way, so just be mindful of that. Delta Lake is a challenging hike 🥵 that is truly worth the climb.
Things to Know Before You Go
💵 Grand Teton costs $35 for a private vehicle that covers 7 day. You can also use any of the annual passes like the America the Beautiful Pass to get in.
⚠️ Teton Park Road is closed from November through May. You will not be able to access this hike during that time. The trail is also not maintained by the Park service, so you may have to walk over fallen trees or snow.
🚗 This trail gets very crowded. Get there early if you want to get a parking spot close to the trailhead.
☀️ Weather changes quickly in the Grand Tetons, especially up in the mountains. Make sure that you stay updated and that you take the proper precautions. If there are signs of bad weather, then stay in the lower elevations.
🐻 The Tetons are bear country, so make sure to stay bear aware and make loud noises when hiking on the trails. Use the rule of thumb when viewing wildlife, so that you stay the correct distance away. Pack bear spray in case of emergencies.
🦮 Pets are allowed in the park, but they are not permitted on any of the hiking trails, beaches, swim areas, or inside Park buildings. They must be on a leash at all times.
⛺️You can camp overnight at Surprise Lake, which is off the same trail as Delta Lake. However, there are only three permits a night. If you want to do these, you must book it early!
🍃 Remember to follow the Leave No Trace Principles. As always, you want to leave nature looking better than you found it.
How do I get to Delta Lake in the Tetons?
In order to get to Delta Lake, Grand Teton National Park, you will have to drive to the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. This trailhead is in the Southern end of the park in the Moose area. Once you turn onto the Lupine Meadows Road, the road becomes gravel. Don’t worry though, the drive is well-maintained and most cars should be able to make it.
There is a small parking area at the trailhead with pit toilets. However, this parking lot fills up very quickly. If you want to get a spot close to the trailhead, then I recommend getting to the trail before 8 am ⏰. Otherwise, you will have to walk down the road a bit to get to the start of the trek.
When is the best time to hike this trail?
Because the road is closed for much of the year, the best time to hike this trail is from late June through October. In the summer, the hike gets incredibly crowded so just know that you will not be alone. Also, temperatures can get very high in the Tetons, so it’s better to go earlier in the day to avoid the peak sun ☀️.
In the late Fall, you may see some snow or very chilly temperatures. But, you are also more likely to have this hike to yourself. Plan ahead and look out for any storms. If there are thunderstorms or rain ⛈ in the forecast, then you should avoid this hike. This trail is very dangerous in those conditions, because you have to walk over many boulders and slick rocks.
What is the trail to Delta Lake like?
Valley View Trail
Once you get to the Lupine Meadows trailhead, you will start this hike on the Valley trail. It starts off on a nice slow and flat trail, which is very deceiving (this trail gets tough quickly!). As you walk by the meadows, you may see Elk or Deer 🦌 grazing in them.
Garnet Canyon Trail
Then, when you’ve gotten .4 into the trail, it will start to steadily climb into the forest. You will then see a junction. At the junction, you want to continue going straight towards the Garnet Canyon trail (going right will continue on the Valley trail). Then, the trail will continue to climb up and up 🏔.
Eventually, you will start to walk on switchbacks that wind their way over the mountain. If you go in mid-summer, you will see beautiful 🌺 wildflowers 🌺 lining the path. Then, you will begin to see Taggart and Bradley Lakes below with stunning views over the two lakes. As you go, you will want to count the switchbacks. They are pretty long, but there are 6 in total to get to Delta Lake. There will be a junction in the middle of the last switchback. But, you want to continue towards Surprise Lake and to the end of the sixth one.
I highly recommend downloading the map on Alltrails before you begin the hike. This way you can be sure that you are following the correct path at all times.
Delta Lake Trail
Once you get to the end of the sixth switchback, you will see a few steep steps that lead down the hill to the right. This is where the trail starts to get really interesting and where the Delta Lake Grand Teton spur starts. This part of the trail climbs 600 feet 😓 to the stunning Delta Lake. Continue down the steps and then follow the worn path.
Continue through the woods, until you come across a boulder field 🪨. This part of the trail gets really tough, as you have to climb on tops of rocks and boulders to get to the lake. Take your time and move slowly, so that you stay on steady rocks. This is where some people get intimidated, but you can do it if you simply take it one step at a time.
Luckily, this trail is usually packed, so you can just follow the people in front of you. However, if you are alone, then you want to head over the boulders to the Northwest. There are usually some cairns along the way to guide you.
After you pass the boulder field, then you finally make your way up Glacier Gulch. This is the steepest part of the entire trail ⬆️. As you look up at the Gulch, you may wonder if you’ll make it to the end. But, no fear you can do it! Whatever it takes, whether that’s stopping every minute or crawling up the hill.
If you get up Glacier Gulch, then you climb over a couple boulders and 🧨 BOOM 🧨 you’ve made it to Delta Lake. There is nothing quite as sweet as seeing this gorgeous view after the treacherous climb you just did. Now, you can sit, eat lunch, do a dance, and enjoy the sweet reward of your hard work 🤗.
What should I bring?
You always need to be prepared when you go trekking in the mountains. Weather changes quickly and ⚡️ thunderstorms ⚡️ can roll in before you even see the clouds. Make sure to pack all of the essentials and layers. You do not want to be at the top of Delta Lake in a storm. I have compiled a packing list of the things you should bring on this hike below.
- Comfortable Hiking Boots
- Day Pack
- 2-3 Liters of Water
- Snacks and Food
- First Aid Kit
- Layers including rain jacket and winter jacket
- Hat to block sun
- Hiking Poles
Delta Lake is one of my favorite hikes that I have ever been on! There is nothing that compares to seeing this 🤩 stunning lake 🤩 in person. Although it’s a hard climb, you can make it to the top if you take your time! Do not miss this amazing trail.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this trail guide!
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