By: Marc Bowen
Their are two beautiful glacial lakes within a mile of each other that sit at the base of the Teton range in Wyoming. Taggart Lake and Bradley Lake. They share the same trail head which is accessed by entering the south entrance of Grand Teton National Park via Moose Junction just north of the Jackson Wyoming international airport. Just a few miles up the road from the park entrance is a parking lot and trail head. This is the main trail into both lakes (Please see my Taggart Lake – Beaver Creek Loop post for a more detailed description of the hike into the lakes).
About a mile up the trail there is a split in the trail on top of the moraine that surrounds Taggart Lake. Take the right fork to Bradley Lake. This will take you through an old burn and back out and over a lateral moraine that separates the two lakes. The views along this stretch are beautiful. You can see a lot of Taggart Lake along the way with the ever present Tetons in the background. There are plenty of wildflowers all around this area. You may even see a bear along this stretch as there are huckleberries growing along the ridge. I was with a couple of friends on this hike and we were making plenty of noise. Definitely don’t want to surprise a bear. I always want them to know I am coming up the trail.
The trail climbs up the moraine and back down to Bradley Lake. You will be hiking through some big stands of pine and Douglas Fir. As you cross over the ridge you can stop and turn around to see Taggart Lake below and all the way out into the valley. I always have my camera with me so I stop often to appreciate the magnificent views around me.
The trail goes down and around Bradley Lake to a marsh and ponds where moose, deer and elk are often seen. There is a trail that goes over the moraine on the lake’s north side, forks right out to the Lupine Meadows trailhead or left up into Garnet Canyon. If your plan is just to visit Bradley and Taggart Lakes then you are better off retracing your steps here and heading back to the main trailhead. Be sure and take your time, relax with a snack , take some photos and take in the sounds of nature and fresh air. It’s 4.8 miles into Bradley Lake and back out to the parking lot. This is a pleasant easy hike with only about 400 feet of elevation gain. We started this hike early which is the way I prefer. The morning was cool and not very many people on the trail until on our way out. We stopped and chatted with a few along the way. It’s always fun to find out where people are from. People from all over the world visit this park. There was an older couple who asked to have their picture taken on the bridge over Taggart Creek. Apparently they take a picture there every time they visit from Texas and have been doing it for many years. Sweet tradition…Happy hiking!