Holly Lake- 12.9mi / 20.7km
The out-and-back hike to Holly Lake takes you through cool forests to rocky, alpine landscapes of Paintbrush Canyon. The trail crosses the outlet of String Lake. Stay right at the junction then loop around String Lake’s south and west shores through a mix of forest and aspen-lined avalanche chutes. Views of the lake are great as you begin to climb. The trail enters a nice airy forest and climbs through a mixture of fir and pine, then wraps around the base of Rockchuck Peak into Paintbrush Canyon.
From here, you continue to gain elevation with intermittent views of the surrounding, rocky peaks becoming more frequent. The trail joins alongside a lovely stream that cascades down through the valley. From here, the trail spends most of its time out of the trees, with views of Leigh Lake and Jackson Lake when looking back down the canyon. Massive, variegated rock walls contrast with the lush vegetation lining the creek.
After the trail crosses the creek a few times, you enter into the subalpine and steeply switchback up into the basin. The subalpine landscapes are breathtaking. Take a right at the junction for Holly Lake and pass a quaint pocket pond on the way up. The trail climbs a little over 200ft/60m during the approach to this wonderful lake perched below the rocky slopes of Mt. Woodring. There are numerous, excellent spots along the lake to sit and have lunch before heading back down or continuing on to do the Paintbrush Divide Loop. (See Description of Paintbrush Divide Loop for description.)
Trailhead: Turn onto the road heading northwest at the North Jenny Lake Junction and turn right into the String Lake area. Park at the String Lake parking lot. If the parking lot is full, head up to the Leigh Lake parking lot and take the scenic trail along String Lake south for an additional 1.0mi/1.6km round trip.
Elevation Gain: 2,600ft / 780m – Elevation Loss: 2,600ft / 780m