Top 5 Best Hiking Trails for Beginners in Teton Valley
If you’re looking for the best hiking trails for beginner-level treks, gorgeous views, and truly getting away from it all, Teton Valley has what you’re looking for. After you settle into your vacation rental home in Driggs, Victor, or the surrounding countryside, take a moment to just breathe the clear air and plan out some great hiking for you and your family. To help you out, instead of using Google to find “the best hiking trails for beginners near me,” check out our list of the Top 5 hiking trails in Teton Valley that any level of hiker will enjoy.
Whether you’re planning on hiking all day, or a quick scenic stroll, remember to pack a few times to ensure your safety and comfort. Water, sunblock and bug repellent are always a good idea. Also pack a few snacks or even sandwiches from any of our local Teton Valley coffee shops or markets. You might be tempted to just keep going as the scenery gets better and better, and you’ll be grateful for the extra fuel. Lastly, for safety, remember that the Teton Valley is full of wildlife. Packing bear bells, bear spray,
#1: Ashton-Tetonia Rail Trail
This popular hiking trail starts at the north end of our valley, extending nearly 30 miles between the towns of Tetonia and Ashton, Idaho. The trail occupies a former rail spur once operated by Union Pacific (the Oregon Short Line) and includes five bridges and restored rail trestles. The trail—a mix of gravel and dirt surfaces – is great for hiking and mountain bikes, so be ready to share the trail with both.
The nearly 30-mile trail follows the abandoned railroad grade of the Teton Valley Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. There are several parking areas along the trail, so you’re able to pick which section you most want to hike, and how long you want to go. Depending on how far you take the trail, there are wonderful sites to see. Feel like you’ve gone back in time as you hike by the old Pillsbury Mills Elevator in France, Idaho, just one of several historic grain elevators you will experience along the Ashton-Tetonia Trail. Or take a moment for some great photo opportunities as you pass over historic trestle bridges. The historic train trestles can be seen at Fall River, Conant Creek, and Bitch Creek, spanning 600’ in length and 130’ in height, and are popular landmarks along the trail.
#2: New Sheep Bridge Trail
Located just northeast of Driggs, Idaho, on the way to Grand Targhee Ski Resort, just take Ski Hill Road and exit right on Teton Canyon Road. This is a great trail for an easy hike, it measures about 4.5-miles there-and-back and takes an average of 1.5 hours to complete. You’ll want to park in the first parking area you see, where breathtaking views of the Teton mountain range provide the perfect backdrop for photos. You’ll even see plein-air artists set up in the meadows at time capturing the majestic scenery.
This is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and horseback riding, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. All seasons are great for visiting. In spring and summer you’ll be among aspen and spruce groves and walk through a field filled with wildflowers. Fall shows off with stunning foliage, and in the winter you can snowshoe or cross-country ski as conditions allow. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
As with hiking anywhere in Teton Valley, wildlife is abundant, including moose and bear, so take necessary precautions. The walking trail is fairly flat and easy, so you can enjoy the scenic views of the forest and creek, especially during the winter when the trees have a thick layer of snow on them. Just after crossing through the field, you will come to a picturesque bridge over Teton Creek, which is beautiful at all times of the year. The trail dead ends near a Boy Scout camp, so if you make it that far just turn around and head back to the trailhead.
#3: Teton Canyon Trailhead: Table Mountain and Devil’s Stairs
If you want to check out another great place to hike that’s near Sheep Bridge, just keep driving another few miles down Teton Canyon road until you read the end and a large parking area. This is the Teton Canyon Trailhead. From this trailhead, there are a few places you can head, including Table Mountain and Devil’s Stairs. If you’ve got little ones, don’t let the longer hikes scare you away. Just off the parking area to the northeast there is a short trail that parallels a stream with pretty waterfalls that’s not too strenuous. While the other trails are attractive for longer, more advanced hikes, even if you just go a mile or so in then turn around, you’ll be treated to beautiful mountains and cliffs, wildflower-filled fields, and peace and quite only nature provides.
#4: Darby Canyon Trails
Heading south from Driggs, the next trails to check out are in Darby Canyon. From Highway 33, take Darby Canyon Road to the east about 3 miles, turn right at the “T” intersection, then you’ll drive another 4 miles or so, following the signs, until you reach the parking area.
This nearly 3- mile trail is punctuated by waterfalls and open flowered meadows. The well-maintained trail is a popular choice for an easy day hike and receives heavy use. The trailhead is found by the foot bridge at the end of Darby Canyon Road. You can make this hike as easy or as long as you like. Several miles in you can reach the famous Darby Canyon Wind Caves, a popular destination. But even if you don’t go that far, you’ll be surrounded by lush aspen groves, beautiful mountain meadows with wildflowers, streams, waterfalls, wildlife and mountain vistas.
#5: Moose Creek Trailhead
Keep heading south on Highway 33, past Victor, and you can access our last recommended hiking spot that’s perfect for beginners – Moose Creek Trail. The Moose Creek Trail is located within the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area and is a popular route for horses, day hikers, backpackers, and Nordic skiers. It provides excellent access to the southern end of the Teton Range. From Hwy 33, take the turn on Old Jackson Highway. Make a quick right on E 10800 S, which changes names to Forest Road 276 once you pass the Moose Creek Lodge and enter Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Only a few hundred feet ahead, you’ll see the signs warning of bears, and announcing that you’ve entered Wyoming. This hike is great for families with young children or if you’re in the mood for something easy and peaceful. You’ll be shaded by trees much of the time, near a creek, and if you get to the end, some pretty mountain views. Bear and moose can be encountered on these trails as well, so be aware and be prepared.
When you’re finished with your hike, there’s nothing quite like heading back to your vacation rental home and relaxing over a cold drink while looking at the great photos of your day. If you are planning a trip to Teton Valley, Idaho, we offer a wide range of rental homes in Driggs, Victor, and for anyone looking to visit the Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Grand Targhee area. Check out our website or give us a call, we’re here to help you create the mountain vacation of your dreams.