Hermitage Point – 9.8mi / 15.7km
Wide open views of Jackson Lake await at the tip of this peninsula on this primarily forested, level hike.
The trail travels along the south shore of Colter Bay to the south end of Heron Pond (see Heron Pond for description). The trail skirts the south end of the pond, then heads into the forest.
It roughly follows Half Moon Bay, with fingers of the bay providing opportunities to see the water and the birds that frequent the shores. The trail then heads into the forest and stays there for most of the length of the peninsula. The trees are broken up by the occasional meadow.
As you get closer to the end of the peninsula, the trail gets within view of the lake, albeit extremely filtered. Eventually, you break out into open sagebrush meadows with sweeping views of Jackson Lake and the Tetons. As you approach the narrow tip of the peninsula, the trail gets right to the edge of the eroded bank. The point itself gives easy access to the rocky shoreline.
Continue along the south side of the peninsula, looking at Donoho Point and Jackson Lake towards the dam. This slope is much drier and hotter, thus the trees are more sparse amongst the sagebrush meadows. Eventually, the trail turns up one of these meadows into the woods. It briefly follows along Third Creek with its willow-lined banks, then turns up towards Swan Lake.
At the junction, take a left to skirt the south end of the lake. Even though the trail is fairly close to the lake, a small ridge obstructs the view. Take a right when you get back to the junction near Heron Pond and head up towards Swan Lake. The trail briefly travels through the trees and then comes to the shore at a nice vista of Swan Lake, which appears more like a massive lily pad covered pond (see Swan Lake for description).
The trail leaves the shoreline for a bit, only to return and travel alongside it with many opportunities to see waterfowl amongst the lily pads. At the end of the lake, continue into the forest. Head straight through the junction until you reach the trail on which you came. Take a right and follow it back to the marina.
Trailhead: The Hermitage Point Trailhead is found at the far southern end of the parking lot for the Colter Bay Marina, near the boat launch.
Elevation Gain: 800ft / 240m – Elevation Loss: 800ft / 240m