Overland’s Best Day Hikes: Hanging Canyon to Lake of the Crags, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

If you’re looking for a great day hike in Grand Teton National Park, read on to learn more about the day hike known as Hanging Canyon to Lake of the Crags.


  • Location of Trailhead: Leigh Lake Trailhead Parking Lot (Out & Back)
  • Trail Notes: This hike is challenging but worth it. Be aware of the time of year; once snow hits Wyoming in October, navigating may be difficult. Going late spring, be mindful of muddy trails. The best time to do this trail would be mid-summer.
  • Difficulty Level: Challenging
  • Roundtrip Miles: ~9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: ~3,000ft
  • Route highlights: Abundance of wildflowers, wildlife, and views of Grand Teton National Park
  • Typical duration: ~8 hours


What it’s like…

For the first two miles, you walk along the Jenny Lake shoreline, a beautiful lake where many people swim and relax during the summer. The turnoff for the canyon can be challenging to find, but it aligns with the All Trails map. You hike on a dirt path that starts to climb on the right-hand side. Following a single pathed trail, you reach a rock scramble. The rock scramble is challenging to navigate, but follow the trail blazes and your GPS map. You will traverse the rocks until you reach the first lake. You can choose to stop at this lake or hike another 10-15 minutes to the second lake. During the summer, we stopped here to enjoy ample snacks before turning back, but you have the option of continuing to mountain peaks or walking around the lake.

Why I love it/Why it’s a good hike…

We did this hike after a six-day backpacking trip and right before attempting The Grand Teton. These three days served as a vital period for our students to recuperate, bolster their confidence, and explore the wonders of Grand Teton National Park. In preparation for tackling Wyoming’s tallest peak, our students expressed a strong desire to engage in a hike with significant elevation gain. Each student approached this challenging hike with a mix of enthusiasm, excitement, and nervous anticipation. With unwavering support from both peers and leaders, every student successfully conquered the hike, and the group relished a refreshing lakeside break, dipping their toes into the water. Reflecting on this experience, each student regarded the hike as one of the highlights of the trip. It not only presented a formidable challenge but also fostered a supportive environment, offering breathtaking views of wildflowers, exhilarating rock scrambles (a favorite among students), and glimpses of wildlife in the distance. Personally, it remains one of my cherished memories from the summer, witnessing the students conquer this hike and seeing their confidence grow. 


Hometown: Swampscott, Massachusetts

College, Major, Year of Graduation: University of Vermont, Health Science, 2024 

Trips: Appalachian Trail Expedition 21′, Northwest Explorer 22′, Yellowstone Teton Expedition 23′, Kilimanjaro Challenge 24′ 


“After backpacking in Europe, I fell in love with camping, hiking, and being outdoors. Originally from Swampscott, Massachusetts, I am now a senior at the University of Vermont studying Health Science with a minor in Behavior Change Studies. On campus, I am helping research the development of a digital phenotype to screen for anxiety and depression in young kids. Outside of the classroom, I am a trip leader for UVM’s Outing Club and the director of the Leader Development Program where I coordinate outdoor education programs and teach students to lead backpacking and hiking trips. I am also a leader for Chicks on Sticks, a female-identifying ski and snowboard club which runs backcountry ski trips. I studied abroad this past spring, first in Costa Rica to study environmental policy and conservation in the Cloud Forest, then in Denmark to learn about psychology and environmental policy in Danish culture.

In 2021, I was a member of Overland’s Field Staff and led five weeks of the Appalachian Trail Expedition. In 2022, I led Northwest Explorer. I am eager to share my love for the outdoors with students, foster new friendships, watch their confidence grow, and make this summer the most memorable of their lives.”


“Greta is an amazing leader. She is efficient and detail oriented. She is well organized and very talented at both hard skills and soft skills necessary for this type of trip. She takes time to get to know each student and shows them all so much care.” Steven Sexton

Additional Resources:

Grand Teton National Park

AllTrails: Hanging Canyon to Lake of the Crags 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Hanging Canyon to Lake of the Crags 

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    Tom Costley

    When Tom Costley founded Overland in 1984, he sought to create experiences for young people that were fun, where new friendships could grow, where natural beauty was embraced, where there were real and varied challenges, and where Overland’s students would achieve something of importance to them. Overland’s focus on small groups, carefully crafted trips, and superlative leadership has made it a leader in the summer camp world. Overland’s commitment to excellence in everything it does has led to its success: over the past four decades, Overland has served 40,000 students and 5,000 trip leaders. Tom writes about the outdoors and travel from Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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