Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop* (Grand Teton)

Cascade Canyon Valley

Cascade Canyon Valley

Date: 07/25/2015

Location: Grand Teton National Park

Distance: 18 miles Loop (see below)

Elevation Gain: 3800 ft

Highest Point: 10,700 ft

Time: 8.5 hours

An odyssey in reverse

Yet another extended family of ours wanted to visit Yellowstone NP this summer, I, now an experienced traveler to this area, planned this epic trail into the itinerary for me while my family enjoyed the grandeur of Grand Teton in more leisurely ways.  Statistics of this trail is daunting – 20 miles, 3800ft climb with majority above 8000 feet, but reality was somewhat gentler.  Maybe I was better conditioned (by ONP’s 19 mile High Divide earlier this year) or the statistic was not accurate.

Inspired by an episode of Seinfeld – “the betrayal”, I photo narrated this trip in reverse order.

Mile 18 – 17 Exclamation Mark (Inspiration Point to Boat Dock)

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At this point, I had given up witnessing large mammals as I entered the busiest section of the trail.  Lo and behold, a bull moose entertained an appreciative crowd 400 yards from the dock.  The boat ride back was calming and restive.  2.5 hours ahead of schedule, I took a leisurely nap on Jenny Lake shore to conclude this grandiose odyssey.

Looking back at Jenny Lake Boat dock

Looking back at Jenny Lake Boat dock

Mile 16-11 Re-introduction to Humanity (Cascade Canyon)

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Terminal sections of most long and arduous trails tend to be the pits.  Not this one, Cascade Canyon has been known as the premier GTNP trail for good reasons – easy, varied scenery and water cascades of assorted sizes and contour, and on this sunny Saturday, it also garnered a mass of humanity.

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Pika

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Cascades near Lake Solitude

Cascades near Lake Solitude

Mile 10-8  Nirvana (Paintbrush Divide to Lake Solitude, 10,700 to 9,000 ft)

Lake Solitude

Lake Solitude

a fox sighting right off the lake

a fox sighting right off the lake

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Words fail me in moment like this, but there’s always Emily Dickinson.

“Beauty is not caused.  It is.”  

Looking down on Cascade Canyon valley

Looking down on Cascade Canyon valley

descending towards Lake Solitude

descending towards Lake Solitude

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descending from the Divide to Cascade Canyon

Lakes Micah and Solitude

Lakes Micah and Solitude

Mile 9-5  Into Thin Air (Holly Lake to Paintbrush Divide 9,400 – 10,700 ft)

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Holly Lake offered a nice respite, but the path hence was unrelenting and thin air unforgiving making attainment of the Divide extra rewarding.

Paintbrush Divide

Paintbrush Divide

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From Paintbrush Divide reviewing path traversed

final push towards the Divide, effect of thin air keenly felt

final push towards the Divide, effect of the thin air keenly felt

climbing towards the Divide

climbing towards the Divide from upper Paintbrush Canyon

looking back at Holly Lake and distant Leigh Lake from upper Paintbrush Canyon

looking back at Holly Lake and distant Leigh Lake from upper Paintbrush Canyon

Holly Lake with Mt. Woodring

Holly Lake with Mt. Woodring

Mile 4-1 Morning Glory (String Lake TH to Holly Lake)

a tarn after Holly Lake junction

a tarn after Holly Lake junction

It was a glorious morning drive from Colter Bay village to Jenny Lake. I was dropped off at 6:30 am with a planned pick up at Jenny Lake VC at 5:30pm cutting off 2 miles of the loop.

looking back at Leigh Lake from lower Paintbrush Canyon

looking back at Leigh Lake from lower Paintbrush Canyon

String Lake lit by morning sun

String Lake lit by morning sun

String lake

String lake

Bridge near TH

Bridge near TH

One thought on “Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop* (Grand Teton)

  1. Eileen

    We hiked to Lake Solitude from the Boat Dock via Cascade Canyon in late June. Thanks for these lovely photos to enjoy and reflect on a great day. Impressive loop hike!

    Like

    Reply

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