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Avalanche Divide – 20.8mi / 33.5km
Travel around the foot of the Tetons to a fantastic perch below South Teton that straddles two impressive canyons with incredible views. Take the enjoyable boat shuttle across Jenny Lake. At the boat dock, follow the signs up to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and up into Cascade Canyon. After 3.5mi/5.7km, you reach the junction with the north and south forks of the canyon. (See Forks of Cascade Canyon for detailed description.)
At the junction, take a left on the South Fork Cascade Canyon Trail where you quickly come to a wonderful cascade. The trail switchbacks up into the canyon as it roughly follows the creek. This section travels mostly through trees with a couple of bridged creek crossings. A few spectacular vantages of the surrounding towering walls interrupt the forest. The trail continues along the endless cascades of the babbling creek into the granite ravines. The dense forest of the lower elevations gives way to scattered trees in a subalpine landscape. The surrounding mountains of the canyon become more visible. The waterfalls and panoramic views are occasionally broken up by forests as the trail levels off. Past a pond, the trail steeply switchbacks up a slope and into a fairly treeless expanse. The trail for Hurricane Pass takes off to the right while the trail to Avalanche Divide continues to the left. (See Hurricane Pass for description.)
The trail works its way through flower meadows with feeder creeks lacing the moraine strewn landscape. The trail climbs up via one of these moraines. From here, you continue working up through treeless alpine meadows. Schoolroom Glacier makes an appearance along the wall that leads to Hurricane Pass. In front of you South Teton rises like a giant. The trail passes through alpine flowers, small pools of water, and a wide array of colored rocks. The trail then steadily rises to Avalanche Divide. Once at the divide, you overlook Avalanche Canyon scattered with turquoise colored lakes. The canyon is crowned by a tall, impressive cliff aptly named “The Wall”. Views extend out all the way to Jackson Hole. Turn around here and head back. On the way back, you can take the spur trail up to Hurricane Pass to add another strenuous 1.4mi/2.2km each way. (See Hurricane Pass for description.)
Trailhead: Head west towards the Jenny Lake Visitor Center at the South Jenny Lake Junction and turn right into the Jenny Lake Visitor Center parking area. Head to the boat dock at the west end of the parking lot and take the boat shuttle for a nominal fee. A longer stroll around the south end of Jenny Lake avoids the boat shuttle. It starts near the boat dock, and adds 2mi/3.2km each way. A third alternative, starts at the String Lake Trailhead and bypasses both the boat shuttle and Inspiration Point. It is 1.1mi/1.8km longer each way and follows along the northwest shore of Jenny Lake.
Elevation Gain: 4,100ft / 1,230m – Elevation Loss: 4,100ft / 1,230m