Tetons for Two: An Easy hike to Phelps Lake

Hiking with the Grand Tetons in the Distance

A 1.2-mile meander from the Death Canyon trailhead through dense pine and aspen forest leads to a ridgetop 700-feet above Phelps Lake. The ridgetop itself is heavily treed – making it ideal for concealed canoodling – but occasional breaks allow for lake views. Claim a rock throne off to the left end of this overlook area and watch as cloud shadows stain the lake. Or, hike down to the lake to claim your own little beachlet. It’s no Waikiki, but there are few patches of sand hidden along the lakeshore that are perfect-for-two size. And, because Phelps Lake is at a relatively low elevation (7,000 feet instead of 9,000 or 10,000 feet), taking a quick dip isn’t as cold as it could be.

For couples who equate camping with cuddling, Phelps Lake is the most accessible backcountry lakeside camping area. There are only a handful of sites here however, so reserve early. Unlike the huge campground at Jenny Lake, Phelps Lake has no facilities and you won’t be able to see, or hear, your neighbors. But we can’t guarantee an inquisitive deer or moose won’t drop by.

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