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Grand Teton NP - Itinerary of great places to go

Sheryl McGlochlin - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jacki Skaggs shares tips from 37 years of experience in Wyoming

After 37 years in Grand Teton National Park, Park Spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs continues to be moved by the unique splendor of the area.

“This landscape never fails to make me emotional,” she said. “No matter what someone chooses to do, they won’t be disappointed. Unexpected beauty [and] unexpected surprises by charismatic wildlife or delicate wildflowers make the experience here such a wonderful adventure.” And that’s not to mention the mountains that earned this park the nickname "The American Alps."

“There’s a strength and a permanence to these massive peaks that gives you pause,” Skaggs said.

As you plan your next trip, you can stick with the most popular activities…or you can heed Skaggs’ years of experience and try out a few of these less-visited parts of the park.

See the Grizzlies in Willow Flats

“When I moved here 36 years ago, it was rare that you would come across grizzly bears,” Skaggs said. “But now we are every bit as much a grizzly park as Yellowstone or Glacier.” Thanks to a successful management program, the bear population in the Grand Tetons has regained its footing.

While you may see these animals anywhere in the park, certain areas offer a greater chance of a sighting. During the month of June and July, for instance, the grizzlies concentrate in and around the Willow Flats where the elk are calving. Elk go to this area so they can give birth under the shelter of the trees, while grizzlies go in hopes of catching a newborn elk calf.

Early Morning Hike To Leigh Lake

One of Skaggs’ favorite trails is the path to Leigh Lake. This easy, level hike begins at the String Lake Parking Area andwinds its way along String Lake and through a lodge pole pine forest. Along the way are views of the piedmont lakes at the base of the Tetons.

Once you arrive at Leigh Lake, head to the east shore where can take in views of Mount Moran—the fourth highest peak in the Teton Range—while you relax on the lake’s (relatively) white sand beach. This area is an ideal for spot wading or swimming.

If you start early, you have a better chance to see wildlife, such as elk or black bear. On your way back, the shaded trail will shield you from the hot afternoon sun. The round trip journey is about six miles.

Watch the Sunset at the Oxbow Bend of the Snake River or Signal Mountain Summit

Located in the heart of the park, the Oxbow Bend of the Snake River gives you enough distance from the peaks for a truly panoramic view, while the slackwater reflects the colors of the sunset and the mountains. This section of the river is along Highway 26-287.

If you’d prefer a 360-degree view of Jackson Hole, Jackson Lake and Grand Teton National Park at sunset, drive 30 minutes from Teton Park Road to the top of Signal Mountain. While the road to the summit is just five miles, it’s very curvy and gains 700 feet of elevation. 

Challenge Yourself on a Hike to Surprise and Amphitheatre Lakes

Skaggs describes these lakes as “little jewels surrounded by craggy spires.” Located on the flanks of the Tetons themselves, this hike will take you into the alpine zone for amazing views and a chance to see unique animals and wildflowers. On the trail you may find pikas, marmots, and birds such as grey-crowned rosy finches and Clark's nutcrackers.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to work hard for these rewards. The trail to Amphitheatre Lake is 4.8 miles each way with 2,958 feet of elevation gain (when you reach Surprise Lake, you know you’re half a mile from your final destination).

You can access this hike from Teton Park Road. Turn in at Lupine Meadows and drive the dirt path to the trailhead parking area.

For more information on any of these activities or locations, visit the visitor’s center in Grand Teton National Park. Skaggs recommends that each person or group spend one-on-one time with a ranger to help plan a safe and fun trip. 

New schedule for summer hikes beginning June 1

Sheryl McGlochlin - Monday, June 04, 2012
Our new summer time schedule starts June 1. We stay at this time until Sept. 1, then we'll switch again for the fall.  We change 4 times a year, to adjust to each season.

Hiking orientation is at 7:45 am
Leave for the hike at 8 am

Meet at the same place as always.

Why do we do this?   

Due to hotter temperatures and more people in the canyons earlier we start early.
We are able to get off the trails by 11:30 am.

Just so you know how I choose the hiking trails each week...

Sheryl McGlochlin - Friday, April 20, 2012

March - June:

We START hiking at a fairly LOW canyon elevation (approx. 6000 ft. above sea level) in nearby canyons i.e. Little and Big Cottonwood, East, Millcreek, Corner, City Creek, etc., where the snow has melted first. 
We then continue to move up the canyons into higher elevation hikes.  

July - Sept....

We do nothing but High Altitude Hikes ( 8000 ft. - 12000 ft. above sea level). Wasatch Mtn Range has MANY trails for us to introduce you to! 

To NEW hikers in our group... Welcome!!

Sheryl McGlochlin - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Take baby steps but the most important thing is to just come!

Just start coming and get acclimated to our group.

I do a Hiking Orientation every week for 30 minutes before the hike - from 8 - 8:30 every Sat. morning.

Come to that for sure.  You'll see people trickle in plus I'll be able to give you more time and attention if you'll come during this 30 minute period.

The bulk of the group will show up closer to 8:30 am when we get ready to leave.

I bring bagels for everyone to eat as well. 

Just know that everyone in our group varies GREATLY in ability.

We have new people join us every week who may or may not be in the best of shape.

 We have hard core hikers and everything in between.

But I am the most impressed with people who just show up. 

It doesn't matter if you hike for 10 minutes or 10 hours, you decide that, but the best thing is they showed up in the first place!

I hope we will see you soon!

I can promise you will be rewarded BIG TIME if you make this a new habit.

Give me a heads up that you are coming and then I'll be looking for you to greet you and help you feel comfortable with the group!

High Altitude Hiking

Sheryl McGlochlin - Tuesday, September 06, 2011

We spend 3 months EVERY summer hiking in high altitudes between 9,000 - 12,000 feet.  Learn why it's so fantastic in this article and video!




Sheryl's Top Three High Altitude Hikes:


Bald Mountain, Uintas -  90-minute drive east of Salt Lake City in the Uinta Mountain Range.  Enjoy a three mile round trip hike with 1179 ft. elevation gain. Watch for wildflowers, high-alpine vegetation, and exceptional views in all directions of the Uintas from the summit. Trailhead starts at 10,764 ft. and climbs to nearly 12,000 ft. above sea level!  Total hiking time up and back down is about 1.5 – 3 hours.  This is one of the easiest but rugged, family-friendly, super-high altitude hikes in Utah!  To enjoy this trail you must love walking on and looking at ROCKS!  Plan on LOTS of them!  There's not much foliage at this altitude! NOTE: Always check weather conditions before hiking – especially this hike and any high altitude hike.


Cecret Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon - (yes, "Cecret" is spelled with a "C") This is one of the most scenic, family-friendly, high altitude hikes you'll find in the Wasatch Mountain Range.  The trailhead is located at Alta Ski Resort , near the Albion Basin Campground,  top of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Expect a 1.6 mile round trip hike with 458 ft. elevation gain.  Elevation at the trailhead is 9875 ft. above sea level and tops out at over 10,000 ft.  Enjoy plenty of beautiful, green, lush foliage with hundreds of wildflowers nearly all the way to the lake, depending on the time of year.  Keep your eyes open for moose, deer and other small critters that live in this high terrain.


Mt. Timpanogos - American Fork Canyon – If hiking the Alps in Switzerland is not possible this summer, do the next best thing – take a short drive into American Fork Canyon and hike Mt. Timpanogos via the Timpooneke Trail.  You don't have to hike the whole 14.8 miles (round trip) to appreciate this exceptional mountain!  It's the MOST popular high-altitude, hiking destination in all of Utah!   Families of all ages can enjoy this mountain.  Hike for a few minutes or all day long, if you like.  If you hike to the summit, you'll gain nearly 4400 ft elevation gain in about 7.5 miles each way.  Bring plenty of water and stop often to take photos all along the way!   If you are able to hike this mountain during the week, you'll find more peace and quiet all along the way, without lots of hikers.




Why High Altitude hiking is SO great:

  • See for yourself what a blanket of incredibly, beautiful, vibrant, wild flowers of all colors looks like that is only seen at high altitudes above 9000 feet.
  • You snooze, you loose.  This is a very rare, short season of hiking on high altitude trails - since you have to wait until the bulk of the snow has melted to get on the trails AND you have to act fast before the weather turns cold in the fall.
  • Discover what high altitude LOOKS like.  Experience a birds-eye view.  You have a rare privilege of FEELING like a bird high up in the sky! You see things ONLY a bird gets to see i.e. hundreds of miles of mountains, peaks, gorges, lakes, streams, strange rock formations, left over avalanche shoots, incredible views of valleys below, peaks up close and personal, rare wildlife sightings i.e. moose, mountain goats, deer, elk, smaller critters, etc.
  • Discover what high altitude FEELS like.  Notice how the air is much thinner and how you need to walk slower or stop more often, catch your breath and take in the beauty.
  • Find out what high altitude SMELLS like.  A few words I use to describe it would be FRESH, COOL, CLEAN mountain air!
  • Notice how much bluer the sky is compared with the color of the sky in the valley.
  • Once you try high altitude hiking, you'll be hooked!  It's very addicting!
  • Learn how happy you feel once you've been in the high terrains. I always feel SO happy when I come home from a high altitude hike.  So many times I have left on the hike in the morning feeling rushed, guilty for leaving all my work behind, stressed and anxious about all that needs to be done, etc.   Then, a few hours later, I come home feeling so incredibly happy and full of enthusiasm for life.  My problems all seem a lot more manageable when you feel so happy!
  • For just a few hours you get to see the BIG picture in life.  You have an opportunity to get some new insight and perspective on how small and puny you and your problems really are compared to this vast, awe-inspiring world!
  • And last but not least, high altitude hiking does NOT have to be hard.  It can be very easy and extremely safe for all members of the family to enjoy!



How high is "High Altitude Hiking"?  In Utah, Kings Peak is the highest peak (around 13,000 ft. above sea level), but our most common "high altitude hikes" along the Wasatch Mountains are approx 9,000 - 12,000 ft. above sea level.


Where to find a LOT of super easy, family-friendly, high altitude hikes in Utah:  We are very blessed to have so many canyons available to us in many parts of Utah.  Drive as far as you can up any scenic canyon and you'll most likely find nearby trails to explore. From Cedar City all the way to Bear Lake, there are many canyons to drive to and explore.  Ogden Canyon, Weber Canyon, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, Millcreek Canyon, American Fork Canyon, Provo Canyon, Logan Canyon, and the list is long!   


High Altitude Hiking at any World-Class Ski Resort in Utah - Deer Valley, Canyons, Park City, Snow Basin, Brian Head, Snowbird, Brighton, Alta, Solitude, etc. ALL have summer hiking trails. 


High Altitude Hiking in Mountain Communities – Go to a Visitor Center in Alta, Park City, Eden, Garden City, Morgan, Heber, Kamas, etc. and ask about their local hiking trails.  


How do I prepare for a high altitude hike?  Bring plenty of water (1 - 2 liters/person depending on length of hike).  Drink often since water gives you energy and will help eliminate altitude sickness.  Always bring extra clothing since it is much cooler than lower valleys.  Bring an extra snack and/or extra water for AFTER the hike, on the ride down the mountain, since this will help relieve the pressure on your ears. 


The downside of high altitude hiking: There is less oxygen at higher elevations and some people adjust easier to this than others.  Some need a little more time to adjust.  The most common problem is "High Altitude sickness".   If you start to experience nausea, light headedness, shortness of breath, headache, etc., stop hiking and rest.  Drink water. Don't push yourself. Turn around and head back down, if necessary.


High Altitude Hiking can be deceiving:  Some hikers who feel they are in great shape may not understand why they are breathing so hard and need to stop and rest. Whether you are in excellent physical shape or not, you are not getting as much oxygen as you might at lower altitudes.  Plan ahead of time to stop and rest more often than you normally would.


Who can enjoy this?  All ages and all abilities can enjoy some degree of high altitude walking or hiking


When can I enjoy this?  It all depends on weather and snow conditions.  Generally July through September is peak season.


Potential dangers:  Don't walk on snowfields that you may discover along the way.  These are generally dangerous to walk on and may be very hollow or icy.  Take photos but stay off of them.  Stay away from the edge of cliffs, etc.

Easy Hikes - My top 5 picks

Sheryl McGlochlin - Friday, June 03, 2011

Easy Hikes


  • ALL hikers have to EARN their "hiking legs"!  These trails will make it a lot of fun and not get you discouraged when you are just starting out!
  • Most of these trails are not so isolated in the middle of the wilderness.
  • Safety should always be your priority ANYTIME you are hiking.
  • Avoid hiking alone.
  • Bring 1.5 liters of water and drink often.
  • Bring a camera since all of these hikes have spectacular views!
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Be alert and courteous to others on the trail including dogs, mountain bikers and other hikers.
  • Consult a physician before starting any new exercise program.
  • Realize that hiking can be a dangerous sport.
  • Use good common sense.
  • Look for opportunities to meet others who love hiking.
  • Get out there often and you'll develop a true passion for this great sport!
  • After a while, you forget hiking is actually a great workout!
  • You'll get caught up with all the amazing beauty that surrounds you!



Top 5 picks for EASY HIKES:



Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST)

(Current Trail: Ogden to Payson)


Location - Several places to access trail:  http://www.bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org/




  • Follows the old shoreline of Lake Bonneville
  • Currently over 100 miles of trail
  • Proposed trail will include 280 miles and reach from Idaho to Nephi!
  • Sweeping views of mountain ranges, valleys, cities and the Great Salt Lake
  • When you are ready for a harder hike, many trails intersect with the BST
  • On many parts of the trail, dogs and mountain bikes are allowed on the trail besides hikers
  • Much of this trail is single-track
  • Great trail for winter snowshoe hiking
  • Best time to hike: Spring, fall OR mornings before it gets warm
  • Exposed to sun
  • Very defined, well-used trail



Mormon Trail - (also known as California or Pony Express Trail) (Morgan County or Salt Lake County)


Location - Drive up Parleys Canyon, (I-80 EASTbound), approx. 5 miles up the canyon watch for the "East Canyon" exit, get off, drive approx. 3 more miles to Little Dell Reservoir, which is your first and closest opportunity to hike on this trail.  This is one of several places you can access this trail.




  • The actual Mormon Trail runs hundreds of miles
  • This 9-mile section is the best for local hiking
  • 9 Miles of pure beauty from Little Dell Reservoir to Mormon Flats
  • Several places to access trail so hike as long as you like
  • Single Track trail
  • 7400 ft. highest elev. gain
  • Lush, green beautiful trail
  • Great trail for winter snowshoe hiking
  • Very defined, well-used trail
  • Trail split into two main sections:


  • Mormon Flats to Big Mountain (approx. 4 miles one way)
  • Big Mountain to Little Dell Reservoir (approx. 5 miles one way)
  • Enjoy just one mile of this trail if you prefer!



Pipe Line Trail (Salt Lake County, Millcreek Canyon):


Location - Easiest place to get on the trail:  Birch Hollow trailhead: Drive 4.3 miles from mouth of canyon, .1 mile past Porter Fork, trail starts on left side, Mouth of Millcreek Canyon is located at 3800 So. Wasatch Blvd.




  • Approx. 7 miles long (one way)
  • Spectacular views of the
  • Only 150 feet elevation gain during the entire 7 miles!
  • Great trail for winter snowshoe hiking
  • Best time to hike: Spring, fall OR mornings before it warms up
  • Exposed to sun
  • Just 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
  • Trailhead: 6600 ft.
  • Sometimes you may be Walking next to a steep slope
  • Very defined, well-used trail
  • Dogs allowed
  • Sweeping views of the entire canyon, Salt Lake valley, The Cove, and the Great Salt Lake
  • Fee Station when you leave: $3/vehicle




Lost Prospector Trail (Park City, Summit County)


Location - Best place to start: Arie Drive, only a few parking spaces near the trail head OR for more




  • 7.8 mile loop hike
  • One of my favorite fall hikes due to so much color!
  • Lots of foliage along the trail
  • Incredible views of Park City including the Park City ski resort
  • Elev. Gain: only 300 feet
  • Hikers, mountain bikes,
  • Double check before bringing your dog




Antelope Island State Park:


Location - (Davis County) Approximately 41 miles north of Salt Lake City.  Take Exit 332 off Interstate 15, then drive west on Antelope Drive for 7 miles to the park entrance, then another 7 miles to the island.




  • Be surrounded by the Great Salt Lake!
  • Entrance Fee: $9/vehicle, discounts for seniors, pedestrians, cyclists
  • Beautiful, peaceful, quiet
  • Feels like you are FAR from civilization but really only 7 miles!
  • Horse trails
  • Dogs on leash allowed
  • Lakeshore Trail
  • 2.8 miles one way
  • At times the trail may get rocky but it's never hard
  • Trail ends at Bridger Bay Campground
  • Walk back to trailhead OR have someone pick you up at the campsite
  • Elev. gain:  69 feet
  • Buffalo sightings
  • Lakeside Trail is another easy option
Bring your camera!  On a clear day you'll experience breath-taking views of the Wasatch Mountain Range

Memorial Day Breakfast and Hike Update

Sheryl McGlochlin - Monday, May 30, 2011

I was thrilled when 25 people came out in the snow and slushy canyon roads EARLY in the morning for our breakfast in Millcreek Canyon!  

It's crazy weather activities like this that I'll always remember.
Even driving up the canyon road with a few trees laying in the middle of the road was exciting!

It's also a GREAT opportunity to practice emergency preparedness skills.

Thanks to everyone who came early at 7 am to help set up and especially those who came to eat!  Everyone had a great time.

Even without a campfire, we were prepared to stay warm and dry with portable pavilions.

Food always takes better outdoors.  It doesn't get better than freshly ground whole wheat pancakes, pure maple syrup, fresh fruit, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns and crepes.

Three people went hiking after the breakfast.

FYI:  Millcreek Canyon doesn't charge a fee on Memorial Day to get out of the canyon.

Bells Canyon Hiking Update, for Sat. May 28

Sheryl McGlochlin - Sunday, May 29, 2011

What an incredibly, beautiful morning to hike!  No rain and no one else on the trail! 

FYI:  If you want an UNpleasant experience hiking in the Wasatch Mountains, you should do 2 things: 1)  Start your hike at 11 am when everyone else arrives  2)  Start your hike during the hottest time of the day.  I know people like to sleep in, but you won't find us ever doing that.

Those are just 2 reasons why we meet at 8 am, (starting June 1), and generally finish by 12 noon - before the heat OR the crowds!

Since we had a good size group, we split into two groups at the meeting place:  1) easier trail   2) harder, steeper trail. There are 2 main trails that lead to Bells Canyon.  Before heading up to the main waterfall, I love to show our hikers some of my favorite hideout areas.  There are plenty of split off trails in this area. 

One BIG reward that separates this hike from many other hikes in the Wasatch Mountains are all of the GIANT granite boulders laying around everywhere!  It's impressive. 

FYI:  Bells Canyon is just barely SOUTH of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  It's a popular hiking destination so start your hike early!

We hike on a new trail in the Wasatch Mountains every week, so join us often and you'll become very familiar with all of the trails so close to home.

Attention Saturday Hikers! June 1 - NEW meeting time

Sheryl McGlochlin - Friday, May 27, 2011

Hikers!  June 1st begins our new Summer Meeting Time.

Starting June 1, 8 am is our new meeting time.

Meet at the same place, 6200 So. Wasatch Blvd., far South end of parking lot.

A short hiking orientation will happen at 7:45 am, same place, before the hike.

Learn more about the Wasatch Mountain hiking trails

Sheryl McGlochlin - Thursday, May 26, 2011


This is a great website to learn more details about many of the hikes we do year round!  Check it out.

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Dry Hike to a Waterfall: TBA
Neighborhood Emergency Prep Fair w/ Dutch Oven Cooking Demo
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: Exact trail TBA
Waterfall Hiking Orientation
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: TBA
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: TBA
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: Exact trail TBA
Waterfall Hiking Orientation
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: TBA
Dry Hike to a Waterfall: TBA

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