Bull Creek is one of those trails that doesnt see a lot of traffic, which can be a real boon during the busy summer tourist season. While the hordes are swarming in Grand Teton National Park or on the trails around Jackson, head south for almost guaranteed solitude.
The drive through Hoback Canyon to get to the trailhead is just as pretty as the hike. Known for its amazing whitewater, fantastic fishing and dramatic beauty, the Hoback River, which constantly weaves its way along the road, joins the Snake River and eventually the Columbia River before dumping into the Pacific Ocean. Go slow and watch for bighorn sheep on the cliffs along the roadand sometimes they hang out right on the road!
After turning off of Hwy 191, drive up the dirt road until you dont want to drive any further or the road plunges into the creek. From there, walk up the dirt road a bit until it turns into a trail. The trail can be a bit hard to find in one or two places, but stay near the creek and you will find it again.
After walking through sagebrush and willows for ten or so minutes, the vegetation transitions to pine and fir stands punctuated with big meadows. In late August, lupine, asters, goldenrod, yellow and white daisies and harebells dot the meadows. Earlier in the summer they are filled with sticky geranium and other wildflowers.
The trail crosses the creek numerous times and is best hiked in sandals or shoes that are comfortable while wet. The creek itself is pretty, gurgly and offers a cool reprieve on hot days.
After about 45 minutes of hiking, the trail becomes boggy and it is time to turn around. If you are staying in the Hoback area, hike around Granite Hot Springs and take a soak on another day.
Just the Facts
Directions: From Jackson, drive south to Hoback Junction, about 13 miles. Turn left towards Hoback Canyon and drive about ten miles. (After the Hoback Campground on the right, cross two bridges and slow down as you come around a bend to the left). There is a small sign for Bull Creek and a dirt road (#30497) on the left.
Camping: The Hoback Campground is just up the road, or if you dont need facilities camp along the stream near the trailhead.
Lodging: There are a million and one places in Jackson to stay, or rent a cabin at the Camp Creek Inn in Hoback Canyon.
Eating: Camp Creek Inn is just a few miles west of the trailhead and serves traditional Wyoming fare including Chicken Fried Steak and is home to the classic “No Mercy One Pound Burger”. Nightly specials and dinner menu include prime rib, steaks, seafood and other favorites.