The Leigh Lake hike in Grand Teton National Park is short, easy, and flexible. We did only a mile and half to the portage out and back. This hike is flexible because you could go much farther along the shore of the lake, including following along the entire lake, which would extend this hike to 5.6 miles out and back.
This hike begins at the very end of the South Jenny Lake area near the most popular part of Grand Teton National Park. Park at the farthest end of the String Lake parking lot (if you can) and follow the trail that begins at the bathrooms. It is paved for just a little way.
The major problem with this short, pleasant walk is the amount of traffic. There isn’t much solitude as you walk along. A lot of people swim, canoe, and paddleboard in String Lake, which is just to your left as you head out to Leigh Lake. We probably passed over a hundred people, most of them on, or in the water. Still, this hike is beautiful, and if you do it in the morning before it warms up enough for people to be in the water, it would be much more peaceful.
The trail follows the shore of String Lake, and since the trail goes right along the shore our boys enjoyed throwing rocks into the water. Lakes in the Tetons are crystal clear, and we could easily see the bottom. String Lake doesn’t appear to be very deep in this area, and we were there during record high water levels. The views of the Tetons are beautiful behind String Lake.
We followed the shoreline on our left and the limberpine forest on our right for over a half-mile before coming to a junction. We followed the sign for the portage, which meant turning right. A portage is a place where you have to stop and carry boats from one waterway to the next, and this section of the trail is used by some people carrying canoes or paddleboards from String Lake to Leigh Lake. We walked a little further and came to the launch for Leigh Lake. There were some steps going down and a shallow place to put a small boat into the water.
Though that’s as far as we went, we could see how beautiful Leigh Lake is. The lake is large and nearly circular, and a hike along this lake would be gorgeous. The water is clear and beautiful, and the Tetons reflect off the water. Someday, we hope to go farther, but for today, this hike was perfect! The total distance of this hike was 1.5 miles which was just right for our little family.