Family Trails in the Tetons

Great Hikes for Kids in the Wyoming Wilderness
By Jerry Painter
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Ah, the Tetons! These gorgeous mountains jut out of a level valley and reach skyward for several thousand feet. Their rugged beauty is classic: they're every bit as spectacular as the Alps. And for many visitors to this part of Wyoming and Idaho, viewing the picture-postcard scene from the driver's seat is not enough. That's how I feel. I want to really drink in the surroundings, to take a hike.

For many people, Grand Tetons National Park means multiday treks high into the wilderness with nothing to eat but freeze-dried spaghetti and ramen noodles. The Tetons do offer trails leading deep into the backcountry, but many of these are not appropriate for families. As a good friend once told me:"I spent several days with my wife and young daughter backpacking to a beautiful mountain lake. We viewed Jackson Hole from the crest of the Tetons. We saw wonderful wildlife. But I've never been able to get them to go since."

Why? Because, although this was a dream trip for Dad, his tenderfeet hikers became burned out after the second day on the trail. No matter how fantastic the next lake or vista was, the price in effort for them was too dear.

The trails described here are geared for families, with the emphasis on trips that will hold the interest of younger hikers. Each trail is more than just a hike in the woods or a climb up a few hills. But be warned—these are the kinds of trails that can hook your kids into a lifetime love affair with the backcountry. Fun trails such as these are also a great introduction to backcountry hiking in general.

© Article copyright Pruett Publishing.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 12 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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