String Lake is a popular spot for locals and visitors in Grand Teton National Park. The lake just north of Jenny Lake is probably best known for its shallow warmer water, picnic areas and beaches. The lake area offers trails around String and Leigh Lakes and beyond into Paintbrush Canyon as well as a much used boat launch. String is also the connecting waterway to Leigh Lake, an area accessed only by trails and the portage at the north end of String Lake.
We took two days to explore and enjoy one of the places we love.
Day 1: Canoeing and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on Leigh Lake and String Lake
Canoeing has long been a favorite on both Leigh Lake and String. Starting from the south boat launch on string and porting to Leigh Lake this is a great full day activity.
Where to put in: Follow the signs to the Jenny Lake North Entrance and veer right, following the signs to the String Lake area. The Canoe put in tends to have less traffic and better parking overall. It is about 10 miles from Moose to the North Jenny Lake junction.
Where to Rent Paddleboards and Canoes
- Dornan's in Moose- Adventure Sports
- Jackson Hole Whitewater
- Rendezvous Sports
- Leisure Sports
- Teton Village Sports
Follow this link for more info on Leigh Lake
Follow this link for info on Canoes and Kayak Rentals
It is a lot of fun to just paddle around on String Lake. But the better canoeing is in Leigh Lake as are the less crowded sandy beaches. We paddled to the far end of String Lake and ported over to Leigh Lake. Enjoy a lunch or snack on the sandy beaches around the lake. Or apply for a backcountry camping permit to spend the night. The portage to Leigh Lake is only 150 yards from String Lake. For those who have a heavy canoe or have trouble lifting, inquire about renting “wheels” with your canoe/kayak.
Swimming in String Lake is a great way to end a day hike. It is shallow and warm enough that this is the perfect family spot for anyone visiting Grand Teton Natl Park. The lake area can be pretty busy with hikers, swimmers and families stopping for a picnic from noon on so parking becomes a little busy. Best time to visit is from mid June to early September while the water is warm.
Day 2: Hike to Bearpaw Lake and Trapper Lake
We set off from String Lake/Leigh Lake Trailhead to Bear Paw Lake and then on to Trapper Lake.
Distance: Total roundtrip time is around 3.5 hours or about 7.4 miles roundtrip.
The hike is very mellow and follows String and Leigh Lake trails the entire way there. You follow the right fork from String Lake towards Leigh Lake. At the north end of Leigh Lake, check in a chat with the rangers at the Ranger Cabin if they are there. Great folks to chat with, and get bear sighting info! The last mile takes you to Bearpaw Lake and then a few feet past that is the trip around Bearpaw to Trapper Lake.
The highlight of this level, moderate hike is the incredible Teton Range views. Mt Moran is the closest to you while walking/hiking the base of this peak.
We would definitely suggest this hike to anyone with kids that need a few stops along the way (the beaches, the bridges, the cabin and most of all the swimming!) and anyone looking for a mellow lakeside walk to get acclimated to the altitude.