The trail up Hanging Canyon isn’t officially maintained, but receives enough traffic to stay in good shape. The beginning of the trail is unmarked however, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled. From the String Lake parking lot, near Jenny Lake Lodge follow the signs for Cascade Canyon. After a mile and the third small log bridge, there is a gigantic tree on your right. A small arc of rocks marks the bottom of the trail up Hanging Canyon.
This trail isn’t difficult because of its length – only about six miles roundtrip – but because of its steepness. Once out of the trees at the bottom you’ll feel more like you’re climbing than hiking. Loose rocks and giant boulders seek to thwart you, but, with careful steps and a helping hand, there’s nothing insurmountable. And some of those giant boulders make great seats for a mid-ramble respite.
While it’s easy to focus on the sweat in your eyes and throbbing legs, take time to appreciate the emptiness. Some two million people visit Grand Teton National Park each year yet, at most, you’re sharing this hike with half-a-dozen. And Ramshorn Lake, near the canyon’s western end, is big enough each group of hikers can have a whole secluded shore all to itself.
If you want to make the most of this hike, bring a therm-a-rest or two with you. There’s nothing you’ll want to do at the lake more than lay down, soak in the sun and enjoy a secret snooze.