Trail Name: Coal Creek Meadows to Mt. Taylor
Trailhead: Coal Creek Trailhead is at the bottom of the western side of Teton Pass. Take Highway 22 west from Wilson, Wyoming up and over Teton Pass. The trailhead is about a 15- to 20-minute drive from Wilson.
Trail type: Out-and-back
Distance: 8.3 miles r/t, with about 3,200 vertical feet of climbing
Duration: 3 to 6 hours
Description: This challenging-but-doable hike at the southern end of the Tetons takes you past wildflowers and ancient white bark pine trees to an impressive high alpine ridge and mountain summit. You’ll feel miles and miles away from civilization, but will never be more than 4 miles from a highway.
For the first mile, the trail sticks pretty close to Coal Creek and climbs gradually, but don’t expect it to stay that way. There is no official start of Coal Creek Meadows, which this trail is named for, but they generally start about 2.5 miles from the parking lot and continue all the way to the back of the canyon, past the point where the trail up to Taylor’s summit ridge breaks off. These meadows can be prime spots to see moose. When the trail splits 3 miles from the trailhead, follow the sign for Moose Basin.
Once on the 10,351-foot summit 360-degree views encompassing six mountain ranges greet you. In winter and spring, backcountry skiers can ski east from this point and are at their cars in 10 minutes. In summer though, to return to your car you’ll want to retrace your steps.
Best time to Go: August
What to Pack: You’re gaining more than 3,000 feet in elevation, so a warmish layer is a good idea if you want to hang out on Taylor’s roomy summit; there is water you can filter for the first 2.5 miles of the trail; a camera.
Oboz Recommendation: Phoenix Low
Level of Difficulty: Medium Hard—you gain a fair amount of vertical, but the trail is in good shape; there are flat sections and steep sections
Highlights: Gorgeous Teton summit, wildflowers, and maybe even a moose sighting!
Refuel: At the base of Teton Pass in Wilson, the menu at StreetFood reflects co-owner Marcos Hernandez’s heritage—he grew up cooking at his mother’s side in the Mexican state of Guanajuato—and also has random (and delicious) international bites like Korean chicken wings and gyros. 5755 W. Highway 22, Wilson, 307/200-6633 (inside the Stagecoach Bar)
Dina Mishev is a writer and editor based in Jackson, Wyoming. Her book 20 Easy Day Hikes in Jackson Hole is coming out this spring. Read more of her work at dinamishev.com. Follow her on twitter and Instagram at @dinamishev.