So, you want to know about this picturesque turquoise alpine lake, Delta Lake Grand Teton. Delta Lake is nothing less than any treasure within the Grand Teton National Park. Delta Lake in Grand Teton National Park is colored by glacial silt and the best close-up views of the mountain you can get to catch your breath for a few seconds. Delta Lake is even more beautiful in person because pictures can’t do justice for this heavenly place and the hike there is also scenic too.
What is Delta Lake Grand Teton?
Trailhead: Lupine Meadows
Distance: 8 miles round-trip
Elevation: 2236 ft
Delta Lake is popularly known for its hiking facilities through the seasons. Delta Lake is situated in the south-west part of The Grand Teton National Park The most reliable and efficient route to Delta Lake is through the Amphitheater Lake Trail from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. It is a challenging 8.1-mile out-and-back trail and you’ll have to put in some legwork. However, the trail leading up to Delta Lake is unmaintained by the U.S. National Park Service and requires a bit of navigation because the trail is not included in the map.
The unmaintained trail crosses three boulder fields and ends with a steep climb which means you’ll need to scramble over fallen trees and boulders, but it is so worth it! You can rely on your navigational skill to reach the apex point. However, the last mile is definitely challenging because of the very steep climb, still this hike is doable. I would suggest you wear good hiking shoes and hiking poles if you have sensitive legs.
How Do You Get To The Delta Lake Trail?
You will have to first enter Grand Teton National Park and then head towards the Lupine Meadows trailhead parking lot. Eventually, you will reach a marked junction, from where you can head either left to continue on the Valley Trail or move straight for the Garnet Canyon Trail towards Amphitheater Lakes. From the Amphitheater Lake Trail, your trek is entirely going to be upward with virtually no break. Bradley Lake will come after some switchbacks, having breathtaking views. At Taggart Lake, you will see beautiful colorful wildflowers if you go during the summertime.
Remember to keep the notes of the number of counts for switchbacks- they’re six until the offshoot for Delta Lake. In the sixth switchback, you’ll see another junction- if you continue straight, you’ll be on the Surprise Lakes Trail or if you turn left you will continue on Garnet Canyon. After reaching the end of the sixth switchback, you’ll look downhill to see a set of makeshift steps to the north of the trail-you’ve officially reached the “trailhead” of the Delta Lake.
While these switchbacks are doable, sometimes they get extremely steep and it gets challenging to slog up especially under the midday sun that is blazing right over the head. If you are planning for the hike during summer, I would recommend you start early and hit the trail as early as possible.
How To Hike The Delta Lake Grand Teton Trail?
Since you’ve now reached the paradise The Delta Lake Grand Teton. You’ll have to move one more mile with 600 feet elevation gain. This may sound like a cup of cake. But, it’s not because the steepness is much steeper than you expect it to be.
Once you’ll get down through an unmaintained trail, you’ll have to cross three boulders. Choosing the most worn path will be really helpful. Instead of going directly vertically up the boulder field to the lake! You should look around some loose dirt path on the right side of the boulders that is called Glacier Gulch because they will seem almost straight with less elevation. Some parts of the trail will be really steep – probably the steepest hike. There will be some parts in the trail where you’ll need to use climbing gloves(hands) and knees due to incline.
Once, you’ll crawl up Glacier Gulch, you’ll finally step at the Delta Lake. Often, the trail will be crowded, so you will not be confused about directions if you follow the hikers ahead of you. If you want a less-crowded photo, you should start your hike early.
While returning you’ll have to be more cautious because going down the gulch can be more challenging. It becomes harder to get a good hold of feet on steep loose ground.
What Essentials Should You Pack For Hiking To Delta Lake Grand Teton?
Following are the essentials I’d suggest bringing along with you for your hike to make your experience safer and better.
- Sunscreen: Grand Teton being snowy peaks. You’d not think of it as a place where you should carry sunscreen to prevent sunburn, but Jackson is situated about one mile above sea level. The sun’s rays are intense.
- Bear spray: Be aware of bears, Grand Teton National Park has a high population of bears. It is home to both grizzly and black bears. Bears generally will try to stay away from uncommon creatures if they see, smell, or hear you. They are not aggressive up front but may act aggressively if they find you’re startling their young ones. Keeping a bear spray or a bear bell can act as a safety measure. The bear spray will not kill the bear permanently. It is advised to make noises while you’re hiking, by clipping a bear bell onto your bag, or clapping.
- Hiking Boots: Wearing footwear designed especially for hiking is the only best choice you can make. The steepness of the trail will make sure that your hike is going to be difficult in any casual footwear. Hiking boots will provide support to your ankles as you move across uneven terrain and the lightweight feature will provide a good grab on the slippery surface.
- Trekking Poles: Trekking Poles can help you pull yourself up steep slopes and stabilize your cross streams or head downhill. They are not mandatory for every hike but if you’ve had leg or knee injuries previously, then it should be a must-carry item in your list. For this trail, you will definitely need to have trekking poles because of sudden uneven terrain and steep cliffs at some places.
- Water: Water is one of the most important essentials to carry on for hiking because most people have gone through dehydration once while hiking. This is an 8-mile long challenge, the land and pathways are steep and almost 90% of the trail will be under direct sun exposure. The best method is to drink one liter of water after every two hours of hiking. Carrying two to three liters of water should be sufficient for a single hiker.
- First Aid
- GPS or Map
Delta Lake Grand Teton has arguably the most scenic turquoise water and not to forget the most awe-inspiring backdrop that you will find within the park’s limits. There are several other lakes in Grand Teton National Park but there isn’t a better destination than Delta Lake for a round-trip hike under 10 miles. You can take a dip in the picturesque water but keep in mind that the water can be cold and freezing. You can enjoy hammocking, hanging out at the lake, or just enjoying the view, or have a fun experience to jump in the turquoise water, and relax before making your way back down.