• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Multi-use Pathway Closures

    Intermittent closures of the park Multi-use Pathway System will occur through mid-October during asphalt sealing and safety improvement work. Pathway sections will reopen as work is completed. Follow the link for a map and more information. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Status

    The Moose-Wilson Road between the Death Canyon Road and the Murie Center Road is currently open to all traffic. The road may re-close at any time due to wildlife activity. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

Hike the Polecat Creek Loop - Countdown: 30 Days

July 26, 2012 Posted by: DL

2.5 miles round trip, 1.5 hours, easy

This level trail offers visitors a loop through forest and wetland areas with a chance to see wildlife along Polecat Creek.  

Trailhead directions: Sixteen miles north of Colter Bay Junction, turn left (west) at the Flagg Ranch/Grassy Lake Rd sign.  Take the first right, and park in the large parking lot near the horse corral and the information station. 

Harebells - NPS Photo/Kodak

The trail begins across the road from the north end of the parking lot.   The trail starts through open lodgepole pine forest.  Open spaces between trees allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, aiding the growth of wildflowers such as harebell and sulphur buckwheat.

Polecat Creek
Polecat Creek: NPS Photo/D. Lehle

After 0.4 miles, the trail comes near a ridgeline, offering views of meandering Polecat Creek and pond areas.  Ducks and other waterfowl can be seen on the water, often with a brood of ducklings trailing closely behind.  In the early or late hours look for ripples in the water caused by beavers, muskrat, or otter, all of whom burrow along the creek's banks.

Muskrat - NPS Photo/K. Chiasson

Eventually the trail goes behind Polecat Creek and heads north and east into the forest.  In this more mature conifer forest, look for limber pine and douglas fir trees beginning to grow underneath the lodgepoles.

Lodgepole Pine Trees
Lodgepole Pine Forest - NPS Photo/D. Lehle

At the next trail junction, turn right to walk 0.5 miles to the parking lot and complete the loop, or continue straight to connect to the Flagg Canyon Trail.

Did You Know?

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Did you know that Uinta ground squirrels, sometimes mistaken for prairie dogs, hibernate up to eight months a year? These animals leave their burrows in March or April to inhabit the sagebrush flats, but may return by the end of July.