By Marc Bowen
Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake Loop hike
- Location – Grand Teton National Park
- Taggart Lake Trailhead elevation – 6625 feet
- Hike length (in and out) – 5.5 miles
- Total Elevation Gain – 585 feet
- Highest Elevation – 7190 feet
- Trail Difficulty Rating – 6.67 (moderate)
*The above info courtesy of TetonHikingTrails.com
Last year toward the end of July my wife Renae, daughter Nicole and I hiked the Taggart Lake – Beaver Creek Loop which is a pleasant loop hike of about 4 miles. It’s 3.2 miles if you just hike into Taggart Lake and then back out the same way (click on the link for more info on last year’s hike). One week later some friends and I hiked into near by Bradley Lake on the Bradley Lake Loop Trail which is just under 5 miles in and out.
This time I decided to hike to Taggart Lake and go part way around on the Beaver Creek Loop then double back and take the Bradley Lake Loop along the east shore of Taggart Lake and then over the glacial moraine into Bradley Lake.
Early Monday morning I drove the 58 miles from my home to the trailhead parked my car in the parking lot, put my gear on and headed up the trail. The aspens don’t have all their leaves yet but are still quite beautiful.
Taggart Creek is not too far up the trail and I seldom cross the bridge without stopping to capture the beauty of this stream. It’s a good thing there is a bridge because fording the stream would have been difficult with all the water coming down this year.
The light of the morning sun was gorgeous, filtering through the trees and across the tops of the mountains.
Just around the bend from the bridge over Taggart Creek were wildflowers that were looking fresh and happy. It had rained the night before and all the colors were crisp and bright. Just through the trees in the back ground I could see some mountain peaks glowing with morning sunlight.
From there the trail climbs over a low ridge and on toward the majestic Teton mountain range. One of my favorite things about hiking in this area are the magnificent views from just about anywhere on the trail. Hard to beat!
If you get here early the lake is usually ultra-calm and will produce some awesome reflections.
I arrived at the trailhead this morning about 6:30am and was the first car in the parking lot. So I had the trail and this lake all to myself for about the first hour. There was a lot of moose sign around so I half expected to see one at sometime or another. While photographing the lake I heard some heavy pounding on the trail behind me and turned expecting a moose but saw a woman out for a morning trail run. Trail runners are becoming a pretty common sight on the mountain trails.
As I headed north along the northeast shore of Taggart Lake the trail began to wind and ascend through pines, Douglas Fir and meadows full of daisies.
The trail continues to climb several hundred feet up a moraine (ridge) that separates the two lakes from each other.
On the other side of this moraine and down the slope is Bradley Lake and on these north slopes the trail is still covered by snow in many places sometimes making it difficult to follow.
After leaving Bradley Lake I continued the loop trail back to the trailhead and the formerly empty parking lot was now full of cars, trucks and tour buses which is typical any day of the week during the summer.
It was so nice getting back out and hiking again especially in the Tetons. They still remain my favorite hiking destination!