Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop*^ (Grand Teton)

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)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (62)

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.

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (63)Mile 16-11 Re-introduction to Humanity (Cascade Canyon)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (60)

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.

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (61)Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (59)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (58)Mile 10-8  Nirvana (Paintbrush Divide to Lake Solitude, 10,700 to 9,000 ft)

a fox sighting right off the lake

a fox sighting right off the lake

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (57)

Lake Solitude

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (44)

Cascades Canyon, Grand Teton

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

“Beauty is not caused.  It is.”  

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (54)

path to Lake Solitude

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (55)

Looking down to Cascade Canyon

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (53)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (52)

Lake Micah and Solitude

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

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (50)
Holly Lake offered a nice respite, but the path hence was unrelenting and thin air unforgiving making attainment of the Divide extra rewarding.

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (49)

Paintbrush Divide

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (51)

Looking back from Paintbrush Divide

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (48)

Final push towards the Divide, thin air keenly felt.

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (46)

Upper Paintbrush Canyon, ascending towards the Divide

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (45)

Looking back to Holly lak


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.

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (41)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (66)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (65)

Painbrush-Cascade Canyon (64)


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!



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