Hiking the Paintbrush Canyon and String Lake, Grand Teton National Park

One of the most beautiful sights in the Tetons, String Lake is just north of Jenny Lake and a hop away from Jenny Lake Lodge. With its crystal clear still waters you will have plenty of opportunity for those perfect reflection pictures! It’s also the starting point for the Paintbrush Canyon hike which is one of the most rewarding canyon hikes in Grand Teton.

String Lake to Paintbrush Canyon

Paintbrush Canyon hike starts at String Lake and quickly ascends into the forest overlooking Leigh Lake. Although the first few miles of the trail is covered by dense trees, once you’re through this initial climb, you get some pretty amazing views of Leigh Lake and Jackson Lake.

Past that point, the trail enters the Paintbrush Canyon and continues to ascend amidst dense bushes and vegetation. A few miles into the canyon, the trail hits a point where the canyon has sweeping views of the mountains surrounding it. (The timelapse below was shot at that location). After this point the trail ascends 1000+ft to Paintbrush divide and Holly Lake and then to Lake Solitude.

The hike from String Lake Trailhead to Holly Lake is about 12.4 miles round trip. If you are not prepared to hike that long in a single day, don’t let that deter you from doing this hike – you can always turn around at anytime in Paintbrush Canyon part of the hike (marked below).

We did not have enough time in the day to make it all the way to Holly Lake and back, so we turned around at about half way point. Presumably due to the length of the hike, it is not as crowded as the other canyon hikes and it makes for an even more enjoyable experience in the wilderness. We only ran into a handful of other groups during our hike.

Paintbrush Canyon Hike Map
Paintbrush Canyon Hike Map (Source: AllTrails.com)

Paintbrush Canyon GRAND TETON in Pictures

String Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Mirror reflection in crystal clear waters of String Lake
Mirror reflection in crystal clear waters of String Lake
Another view of the crystal clear waters of String Lake
Mirror reflection in crystal clear waters of String Lake
Yet another view of the crystal clear waters of String Lake
String Lake, Grand Teton National Park
A wonderful place to spend an afternoon and take a dip in the water
Paintbrush Canyon Creek, Grand Teton
Paintbrush Canyon Creek flowing into String Lake at the bottom of the Paintbrush Canyon hike
Paintbrush Canyon, Grand Teton
Lush green hike through the Paintbrush Canyon presents nature at its best (including wildlife too!)
Paintbrush Canyon, Grand Teton
One of the most enjoyable hikes in Grand Teton with views like this pretty much all to yourself!
Jackson Lake
View of Leigh Lake & Jackson Lake from Paintbrush Canyon Hike
Paintbrush Canyon, Grand Teton
On the way to Holly Lake on Paintbrush Canyon trail
Mirror reflection in crystal clear waters of String Lake
Mirror reflection in crystal clear waters of String Lake

We highly recommended carrying bear spray on this hike as it is quite possible you will encounter bears here. More often than not, they just mind their own business, but you never know when you’d encounter an aggressive bear! If you’re lucky, you can also expect to see other wildlife like moose, deer and elk. 

If you have already been to Paintbrush Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, let us know in comments what was your experience like. We would love to hear from you! If you are planning on visiting Grand Teton, check out our day by day itinerary of our trip to the Tetons.

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