Before the temperatures begin to warm up, and the snow gains more heat over the longer days of the coming weeks, now is the time to go for a classic ski tour to see one of the many frozen lakes in Grand Teton National Park. With average February temperatures in the Tetons ranging from 5 to 33 ℉, the chill still lingers, presenting an ideal opportunity to explore the serene beauty of the region’s frozen, thus hidden, lakes.

Hidden Lakes of Grand Teton National Park

Viewing the Tetons from Jackson’s Hole, these lakes are hidden, blending seamlessly into the landscape. However, embarking on a Nordic ski adventure to reach them reveals their peaceful allure, offering a tranquil snowy retreat into a microcosm of the vast national park.

*** While these featured lakes are typically frozen and snow-covered by mid-winter, safety is always the number one priority while recreating. In addition to variable ice thickness, there can be free water on top of the ice, below the snow, that is not visible until you are in it. Please take precautions before stepping onto the ice. ***

Be sure to review safety resources provided by Idaho Fish & Game or Wyoming Game and Fish before venturing out onto the ice. Additionally, consider reaching out to a National Park Ambassador at the Taggart Trailhead or contacting the Park directly at 307–739–3399 to speak with a ranger for further guidance.

It’s important to note that regardless of preparations, recreating on ice should never be considered 100% safe.

🟢 Easy/Beginner Friendly, 🔵Intermediate Trail, ⬛️Difficult Trail, 🚴🏽Fat Biking, ⛷️Skier Tracked, = Groomed, ❄️🥾 Snowshoeing

Classic Ski Tours to Four ‘Hidden Lakes’ in Grand Teton National Park

🚫🐶 Dogs are not allowed on these featured trails. 🚫🐶

1. Phelps Lake:🔵⛷️❄️🥾

Phelps Lake is one of the most accessible options on our list. You can access it from the South Granite Canyon Trailhead via Moose Wilson Road, just a mile past Teton Village. This intermediate trail initially heads north on the first mile along the unplowed portion of Moose Wilson Road, eventually leading you to a less-traveled service road on the left. Continue along this trail, and after making another left turn, you’ll be rewarded with a tranquil viewpoint overlooking Phelps Lake. The round trip is approximately 4 miles, making it a manageable yet fulfilling adventure for all skill levels. 

For those seeking a spicier ski to Phelps Lake, consider starting from the Death Canyon Trailhead and traveling on a more advanced trail.

2. Taggart Lake:🟢⛷️❄️🥾

Taggart Lake is a beloved winter destination accessible by Nordic ski, snowshoe, or by walking if the snow is packed down enough. The trailhead starts from the Taggart-Bradley Lakes parking lot. Visitors can opt for a leisurely 1.3-mile journey to Taggart Lake or extend their adventure by continuing onto the Bradley Lake connection for a six-mile loop. While predominantly beginner-friendly, please note there is a steep section along the trail that may become icy. Removing skis and walking the steep section is an easy option if skiers feel unsafe navigating the section on skis.

Grand Teton National Park – near Taggart and Cottonwood Creek

3. Two Oceans Lake: 🔵⛷️❄️🥾

Drive to the northern end of Grand Teton National Park, past Moran and then up Pacific Creek Road to explore Two Oceans and Emma Matilda Lakes. Covered in snow, the summer access road to the lake transforms into a skier-tracked trail leading to Two Ocean Lake. Skiers have the option to choose between a shorter 3-mile out-and-back route to Two Oceans Lake or embark on a longer loop to see both Two Oceans and Emma Matilda Lake. This gentle trail offers stunning views and provides an excellent opportunity to respectfully observe wildlife. Another route option is skiing the Pacific Creek – Two Oceans Lake Loop.

Photo by Jackson Hole EcoTours Adventure

4. Jackson Lake: 🟢⛷️❄️🥾

When a blue sky day emerges in winter, consider skiing across a frozen Jackson Lake from Colter Bay. The island hopping tour provides a flat, easy classic ski route with stunning views of the Teton Range when the days are clear. Starting at the Colter Bay parking lot, the trail leads south across a meadow with sparse trees, offering breathtaking vistas of Mt. Moran and the Grand Teton. Explore various islands and bays, such as Little Mackinaw Bay and Half Moon Bay, before returning to the marina section of Colter Bay.

The lake skiing season spans from late December to early April, is usually good after three weeks of below-freezing temperatures, but variations of course occur with mid-winter warm-ups. The bigger lakes in the Park can end up with standing water above the surface of the ice but below the snow surface. It is a big surprise to penetrate through the snow surface into deep slush as there often isn’t a lot of warning. Wider skis can help mitigate this. Skiers should confer with the rangers ahead of this tour to get an assessment of the lake ice.

A Nordic Picnic on Jackson Lake

Other lake trails to explore during the winter months:

Recreate Responsibly in Grand Teton National Park

The winter season is a chance for us to all enjoy outdoor recreation. Let’s take a moment to be mindful of one another, respect the land we share, give wildlife space, leash your dog in the Park and clean up after them, greet one another with a smile, and Leave No Trace.

Thanks Grand Teton National Park Foundation

If skiing groomed track* is more your style, GTNP has miles of that! Grooming in the Park is made possible by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. While there is not a daily trail fee, you can support grooming in GTNP by donating to and leaving “Nordic” in the designation section. The Nordic Alliance encourages skiers to support all of our grooming teams.

*Use the link to find groomed ski tours in the Park, or from the JHNordic Trail Search page, type “GTNP” in the search bar and click the “groomed” icon in the icon menu. 

Explore JH Nordic



  • 13 April 24 – Daily Trail Report
    Connect to the grooming page for relevant updates before you head out! Today’s Avalanche Forecast Nordic and winter trail users are urged to use caution when recreating on trails and terrain below steep slopes. The BTAC reports and their website is a valuable local resource for planning your outing. Visit their forecast page for the most up-to-date information. A Heartfelt Thank You to Teton Area Groomers Throughout the 2023-2024 ski season in the Teton area, a dedicated group… Read More