Home Page > Grand Teton National Park > Grand Teton Hikes & Places > Hermitage Point Trail
|>|| Hermitage Point Trail
Includes Heron Pond, Swan Lake and Jackson Lake Overlook
Trailhead: Colter Bay, near the marina boat ramp
Distance: 9.3 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 50 feet (See Map at Bottom of Page)
The hike to Hermitage Point is an extremely pleasant, picturesque Grand Teton hike that provides incredible scenery and fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. In fact, the Hermitage Point Trail is one of our favorite "Easy Day Hikes" in Grand Teton National Park, and we highly recommend it for visitors who are looking for a scenic trail that does not require a lot of vertical elevation gain.
Hermitage Point is basically located at the very end of a large peninsula, with Jackson Lake surrounding this land mass on three sides. The Heritage Point Trail is basically a "loop", and it takes you by Heron Pond, Jackson Lake Overlook and Swan Lake, and well as the highlight of this Grand Teton hike, which is of course Hermitage Point.
But the beauty of this trail is that there are several connecting trails that allows hikers to hike only as far as they want to. So if a hiker doesn't want to hike all the way to Hermitage Point, he/she can simply enjoy Heron Pond and Swan Lake. So this trail really is for everyone to enjoy.
Finding the Trailhead (See Map at Bottom of Page)
The trailhead for the Hermitage Point Trail is located at Colter Bay, and is just to the left of the boat ramp that is found near the Colter Bay Marina. This Grand Teton National Park hiking trail initially wraps around the shore of Colter Bay, which provides hikers with wonderful views of the bay and the Teton Range in the background. And during certain times of the summer, you will enjoy the many wildflowers that bloom along this stretch of the trail.
This is a view of Mount Moran and Colter Bay during the first half mile on the trail to Hermitage Point in Grand Teton National Park. This trail is one of the most popular Grand Teton National Park hikes that requires virtually no elevation gain.
Swan Lake / Heron Pond Junction (Mile 0.4)
As the trail begins to leave the shore of Colter Bay, you will see signs at a junction for either Heron Pond (0.6 miles) or Swan Lake (0.4 miles). We recommend that you STAY RIGHT and first go to Heron Pond, and then head for Hermitage Point from there. In other words, this "loop" is best taken in the COUNTER-CLOCKWISE direction in our opinion. There are plenty of trail signs that will show you where to go. Dont' worry, you'll get to see Swan Lake on the way back.
Jackson Lake Overlook Trail Option (Mile 0.7)
Within the first mile of your Grand Teton National Park hike to Hermitage Point, you will come across a trail
sign for the Jackson Lake Overlook. This is a short off-shoot trail from the main trail, and takes you up to the overlook and then back down to the north side of Heron Pond, where it again connects with the main trail.
This off-shoot is only about 0.3 miles, and is quite easy. However, the name "Jackson Lake Overlook" is a little misleading, because you cannot see the lake from this vantage point.
The view is still very nice of the Teton Range, but don't expect to see any water. Since this vantage point was named, trees have grown much taller and have blocked the view of Jackson Lake. However, because this off-shoot trail takes you to your destination anyway, there's no harm in taking it, unless you do not like the 60 feet or so of vertical gain.
Heron Pond (Mile 1.0)
Heron Pond, Grand Teton National Park.
Heron Pond is a wonderful Grand Teton National Park lake that is about 80% covered with lily pads. You will see several species of waterfowl, including mallard ducks, Canada geese, and blue herons. There is also a beaver den that is located on the west side of the Heron Pond, where beavers are often seen doing what beavers do.
Mallard ducklings on Heron Pond, Grand Teton National Park.
The main trail along this Grand Teton National Park hiking trail takes you around the east side (left side) of Heron Pond, and the view of the Teton Range behind Heron Pond begins to show itself more and more the further around the lake you get. By the time you get near the south end of the lake, the view of the Tetons is quite wonderful, especially as these jagged peaks are reflected on the surface of Heron Pond.
Heron Pond / Swan Lake Trail Junction (Mile 1.5)
Heron Pond, Grand Teton National Park.
You will encounter a trail junction near the south end of Heron Pond which is the Heron Pond / Swan Lake
Trail Junction. We suggest that you STAY RIGHT if you are heading for Hermitage Point. Again, the signs along the trail will show you the way to go.
As you stay on the trail to the right, this trail will take you through a very nice lodgepole pine forest, with periodic open parks of sage brush and green grasses with wildflowers as the trail takes you closer and closer to Hermitage Point.
Hermitage Point is 3 miles from this junction. If you go left at this junction, the trail will take you to Swan Lake and back to the main trail towards your vehicle at Colter Bay. If you are hiking to Hermitage Point, you will take this trail to Swan Lake on the way back, so don't worry, you'll get to see everything by the end of your Grand Teton National Park hike.
Cut-off Trail Junction (Mile 2.2)
You will encounter another trail junction at mile 2.2, which is a cut-off trail that takes hikes back to either Heron Pond or Swan Lake. This cut-off trail is used by hikers who do not want to keep going to Hermitage Point, but do not want to back track. From this junction, Hermitage Point is 2.2 miles, and Heron Pond is 0.8 miles (if you take this cut-off trail).
Hermitage Point (Mile 4.4)
Hermitage Point, Grand Teton National Park.
As this Grand Teton National Park hiking trail works its way through a very nice lodgepole pine forest, you will begin to see open meadows of sage brush, and the closer you get to Hermitage Point, the more prominent these open meadows become, until you begin seeing the Teton Range behind Jackson Lake to the west. Once you see Jackson Lake, you know you're getting close to Hermitage Point.
Just before you reach the actual Hermitage Point on your Grand Teton National Park hiking trail, the forest
really opens up to large sagebrush fields, which during certain times of the summer are loaded with
wildflowers. And as you reach Hermitage Point, you will be able to see water to the west, south and east, which the mighty Teton Range providing a stunning backdrop on the western skyline. This is a perfect place to enjoy the incredible view and have a nice lunch on the beach or underneath the large cottonwood tree located on the very tip of Hermitage Point.
The Hike Around The Point
From Hermitage Point, this Grand Teton National Park hiking trail loops around the Point and begins to follow the east side of the peninsula. From Hermitage Point, you are 4.8 miles from Colter Bay as you remain heading counter-clockwise on the main trail. There is a trail sign at Hermitage Point that shows you this mileage.
A view from Hermitage Point to the southeast, Grand Teton National Park.
Cut-off Trail Junction Revisited (Mile 6.6 approx)
This is the same cut-off trail that you hiked by earlier, only on the other end of this short cut-off trail. Keep heading on the main trail TO THE RIGHT and ignore this cut-off trail.
Cygnet Pond Trail Junction (Mile 7.1)
This can be a confusing trail junction, so pay close attention. GO LEFT and follow the sign directions back to Heron Pond. If you stay straight on the trail you're on, you will end up on Swan Lake Flats and Cygnet Pond, which will add several additional miles to your hike, and it's not what you planned for the day. So follow the sign directions that take you back to Heron Pond, which is only 0.5 miles from this spot.
Heron Pond / Swan Lake Junction Revisited (Mile 7.6)
Once you again reach the south end of Heron Pond on your Grand Teton National Park hiking trail, you will encounter the junction that takes you back the way you came along the east side of Heron Pond, or you can GO RIGHT and hike to Swan Lake.
The trail to Swan Lake eventually takes you back to the main trail that you started on, and it only adds 0.3 miles to you hike.
We recommend that you take this trail if you want to continue to see new country on your way back to your vehicle, and again, it only adds 0.3 miles to your hike and we feel it is well worth the effort.
Swan Lake (Mile 7.9)
Swan Lake, Grand Teton National Park.
Swan Lake is also mainly covered in lily pads, and is a great place to see waterfowl, as well as possibly some elk or moose in the flats to the east of the lake. The trail will follow the west side of the lake, and then work its way back to the main trail that you originally started on.
Swan Lake / Heron Pond Junction Revisited (Mile 8.9)
At this junction, you are now 0.4 miles from your vehicle parked at Colter Bay, and you are now on the main trail that you started on. Of course, STAY RIGHT so you don't end up back at Heron Pond, that is of course unless you want to.
Colter Bay Parking Lot (Mile 9.3)
You've now just completed a wonderful Grand Teton National Park hiking trail to Hermitage Point!
Back to Grand Teton National Park Hikes and Places