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Thanks for all the info. Being from Florida I don't get much of a chance to hike uphill! Did some hiking last year at Great Basin Nat. Park in Nevada. Was able to get up over 11,000 Ft. so I do know what high altitude hiking requires. I'll probably do a lake hike the first day then tackle something more demanding on day 2. In Response to Re: Westward Ho!:
DW and I have been hiking national parks for 35+ years. Tetons is one of our favorite parks. Problem with answering your question is that I don't know how strong a hiker you are. We only do day hikes, but we may hike up to 14 miles with 3000 foot elevation gain/loss.
You have a mix of fairly easy to difficult trails in Tetons.
There are several scenic,easy (therefore, most popular) trails around various lakes. We're partial to the Hermitage Point Trail that starts at Colter Bay Marina. You get fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, however without being in them. You're open to 360 degree views almost the whole trail. This is a great hiking area for a warm-up on your first day. The loop around the lake is about 8.5 miles.
The premier trail in the Tetons is the most difficult. The trail to Lake Solitude. You pay to take a boat across Jenny Lake (and the boat only leaves/returns at a few times). It's an all day hike. The boat will be crowded as this is a very popular trail, but it's about a 14 mile round trip and will take you all day. Of course, you can always take part of trail and turn around, but the Lake Solitude at the end is fabulous. If you're in good physical shape, again, this is the premier trail in the park. We have some nice pics, and movie, of a black bear on this trail.
More moderate hikes would take you into the canyons which we consider to be the more interesting scenic options for hiking. For example, you can take the Granite Canyon Trail and hike for 2-3 hours up. You'll get woods, water, and open views of canyon. You're not taking the whole trail --- just a few hours up. With lunch, you can make this a 5-6 hour trail (depending, of course, on your pace).
Ampitheatre Lake is another premier trail. 9.6 mile round trip. It is one of the shortest trails into the mountains. You will gain 3000 feet on the climb. Not technical --- just a steady uphill to a fabulous lake, up in the high country. You start at 6700 feet, and end at 9700. You climb through several mountain zones. Fabulous, and popular hike. But, steady climb up, steady descent down.
I can give you more ideas, but again, don't know your fitness level and if you have proper hiking gear. Without good hiking boots, a day pack, the ability to carry plenty of food and water and extra clothing (you hike up 3000 feet and temps can drop 30+ degrees f), you'll only be hiking around the lakes at lower elevation.
Of course, as is true for all national parks, get thee to the visitor center for a map and info. If you're interested in that Jenny Lake thing, you definitely need the details on the boat comings and goings.
Posted by retiredtraveler