The Table Mountain Hike is one of the most beautiful hikes in Grand Teton National Park. It is also one of the most popular hikes in this region. From the top of the Table Mountain, you will be rewarded with an up-close view of the Grand Tetons!!
This hike is located in the non-touristy location of the park. But, that does not keep the adventurists away. I would recommend an early start to beat the crowds. Also, there is no accommodation at the top, hence it is a long day hike. Hence, early start would help you get down before it gets dark.
There are two trails to reach the top – Face Trail (9.2 miles RT) and Huckleberry Trail (11 miles RT). Both trails are extremely steep. Huckleberry Trail contains a section of steep switchbacks with an amazing view (people with acrophobia may feel a little dizzy on this section). Face Trail little short but it is straight up & down and at some places more steep then Huckleberry Trail.
We took the Face Trail for going up and Huckleberry Trail for climbing down. I would personally recommend this route for first time hikers as hiking down the steep Face Trail might cause injury (There is also a sign stating “FACE TRAIL – Trail not maintained, Very Steep – Not recommended”).
We started out at around 6am from the trailhead. On reaching the trailhead, we saw at least 10-12 cars parked. We were sure that it’ll be a crowded hike up and sure it was!!
Initial 2 miles consists of dense bushes and trees with intermittent views of the nearby mountains which looks stunning in the early morning sunlight. Majority of this initial section is very steep. After steep climbing for approximately two miles, it slowly began to become gradual and we were in the meadows.
Depending on the time of the year you are traveling, you may be able to see bright colored wild flowers all around you.
These flowers in all colors – purple, yellow, blue, red and white make for such a welcoming sight after two miles of steep climbing!
We stopped here for a quick snack & water break.
Continuing upwards, trees began to vanish and the views blew our mind – Grand Tetons were looming tall ahead of us and the vast plains of Idaho lay flat behind us for miles and miles into the horizon (Photos don’t do justice to the actual in-person views).
Next forty minutes will be an easy hike on a gradual slope until you reach a junction where Face Trail and Huckleberry Trail meet to become a single trail to the summit.
From here, the trail starts to become rocky and for the first time you will see the Summit of Table Mountain. The view of the Table Mountain is breathtaking from this angle. Even though it looks so steep and difficult, it is doable. Also, there are plenty of breathtaking views in all directions. Image below shows the majestic cliff on which we hiked to reach the summit.
Next one mile is an almost flat walk up the very gentle but exposed slope of the mountain. With the Sun piercing your skin, small icy spots will bring a relief to your eyes.
Soon, before you know, you will be standing at the bottom of an almost vertical rocky terrain which you have to climb to stand at the top. This last half mile is the most challenging section of the hike. Some places will require rock scrambling as well.
Yes, you have done it!! You are at the summit of the Table Mountain. The view from here is really really amazing!!! Grand Tetons, Cascade Canyons, Idaho Plains…there is a view in every direction. Take your time, have a celebratory lunch for you have worked hard to get here. We had saved a can of redbull for the top that we gulped with Tetons in the background.
Fun Facts about the Table Mountain Hike
|Elevation Gain||4,000 ft.|
|Distance||11.5 mile loop (Face trail + Huckleberry Trail)|
|Season||Spring, Summer, Autumn|