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||>|| Two Ocean Lake
Includes Pacific Creek Road, Emma Matilda Lake, Grand View Point
Trailhead: Two Ocean Lake Parking Lot
Distance: 7 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: less than 50 feet (See Map at Bottom of Page)
The Two Ocean Lake Area in Grand Teton National Park is a pleasant place to spend some time relaxing and to enjoy a scenic yet nearly flat hike around a beautiful lake. Located about 6 miles north of Moran Junction in the northeast corner of Grand Teton National Park, this popular area provides scenic views and good wildlife watching opportunities, providing glimpses of trumpeter swans, Canada geese and many other species of waterfowl, as well as moose, black bears, and the occasional grizzly bear.
If you're not interested in hiking, the Two Ocean Lake Area is simply fun to drive to and have a picnic lunch a picnic table next to the parking lot.
Of the many Grand Teton hikes available to visitors, the Two Ocean Lake Trail hike is one of the easiest, with less than 50 feet of vertical elevation gain.
Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park is a shallow lake surrounded by lush meadows, towering
aspens, and areas of dense forests. The magestic Teton Range looms in the distance to the west, and at times during your hike presents a gorgeous backdrop. The reason this Grand Teton National Park lake is names Two Ocean Lake is because water from this unique lake runs into both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
The Two Ocean Lake Trail is quite popular because of its scenery as well as being relatively flat... and many like this area because it is a place less traveled when compared to the more familiar areas of Grand Teton National Park.
But please keep in mind, this entire area is for day use only.
Finding the Trailhead: Pacific Creek Road (See Map at Bottom of Page)
The Pacific Creek Road is where the turn-off to Two Ocean Lake is located. You may or may not see a grizzly bear standing by the sign!
To reach the trailhead for your Two Ocean Lake hike in Grand Teton National Park, from Moran Junction, drive 1.5 miles northwest (towards Jackson Lake Junction) until you see the large Pacific Creek /
Two Ocean Lake sign indicating a paved road heading to the right (north). Take this narrow paved road for about 2 miles until you reach the turn-off to Two Ocean Lake to the left.
There is an obvious sign showing you this junction. From there you will drive along a narrow, gravel road that is somewhat rough at times for about 2.5 miles through some really nice country filled with open meadows, some large aspen groves and patches of lush forests with Pacific Creek running through it.
At the end of this gravel road is the Two Ocean Lake parking lot, which is where the trailhead to the Two Ocean Lake Trail is located. Also located at this parking area are a few picnic tables and a restroom. There is no potable water available here, so make sure you bring your own water or have hiker's water pump/filter with you.
We often see moose along the shore of Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park, especially along sections of the South Shore Trail where we saw these moose courting during the fall mating season.
Which Way is Best?
From the Two Ocean Lake parking lot in Grand Teton National Park, you can either go clockwise around the lake (left) or counter-clockwise around the lake (right). Both directions are fine, and of course end up back at your vehicle....
North Shore Trail (3.5 Miles)
The trail heading to the right (east) from the parking lot crosses the outlet of Two Ocean Lake via a foot bridge, and then works its way along the north side of the lake through open meadows and incredible aspen groves.
The view of the Teton Range is quite scenic along this entire section of the trail, and the trail is nearly completely flat the entire way to the far inlet of Two Ocean Lake, which is the halfway point of your hike.
This side of the lake is the most open and the most scenic, with views of the Tetons and mature aspen groves highlighting this enjoyable Grand Teton National Park hiking trail.
South Shore Trail (3.5 Miles)
From the parking lot, If you go to the left first (west), this half of the hike is a little more "hilly" and takes you through a gorgeous conifer forest along the south side of Two Ocean Lake.
The view of the Teton Range is completely obscured however, and you won't see these jagged peaks in the distance until you reach the west end of the lake, where you'll cross the inlet via a foot bridge at mile 3.5, and you will then begin the second half of your Grand Teton hike along the forested south side of Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park.
The South Shore Trail is very nice because of the mature, dense conifer forest that you'll hike through, with glimpses of Two Ocean Lake to your right (north).
So to answer the question "Which Way is Best?", we have found that the view of the Teton Range is best if you go counterclockwise and head along the north side of the lake first, because the peaks are in front of you as you hike around the more open north end of the lake. If you go the other way through the forested side of the lake first, the view of the Tetons end up behind you once you break out of the forest and begin the second half of the hike through the open meadows and aspens, so you have to keep turning around to enjoy the view as you hike along the north side of Two Ocean Lake.
This is a view of Two Ocean Lake from Grand View Point. The camera is facing northeast.
Grand View Point Trail Junction
Near the Inlet of Two Ocean Lake, where the North Shore Trail and the South Shore Trail meet at the half-way point, you will encounter a junction. This junction connects you to the Grand View Point Trail. If you're really in an adventurous mood, you can hike up to Grand View Point, which is only about a mile in length but with a fair amount of vertical elevation gain. Once you've enjoyed the view, you can hike back to Two Ocean Lake, or continue on the Grand View Point Trail and end up at Jackson Lake Lodge.
Emma Matilda Lake
At the Two Ocean Lake parking lot in Grand Teton National Park, there is also a trail that takes you to the Emma Matilda Lake Trail, which is a 12 mile loop trail and circles the lake. This trail connecting the Two Ocean Lake parking lot to the Emma Matilda Lake Loop is about a mile in length. Comparing the two lake trail experiences, we feel that Two Ocean Lake is a far more scenic hiking trail. Please note that there are two other ways of getting to Emma Matilda Lake that are discussed in other sections of this website.
Autumn is a Gorgeous Time At Two Ocean Lake
When the aspens are a vivid gold during the end of September and early October, the drive to Two Ocean Lake is beautiful and the hike around Two Ocean Lake is spectacular because of all the aspen trees in the area.
And not only the aspen leaves turn color, but many of the shorter brushes and leafy undergrowth turns color as well, giving the area a wonderful display of fall imagery.
So if you're vacation in Grand Teton National Park in the fall, make sure you check out the Two Ocean Lake area and have your camera ready! We really enjoy this area during the autumn season.
The gravel road to Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park is especially scenic during the fall.
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