Grand Teton National Park officials say there is no estimate for when the park’s popular Hidden Falls area will reopen to the public.
The 100-foot waterfall on the southwestern shore of Jenny Lake is one of the park’s most popular hikes. Park rangers closed the falls to public access on Tuesday after detecting a growing and potentially unstable 100-foot-long crack in the rock buttress above the viewing area for the falls.
Park staff is monitoring the crack daily and consulting with U.S. Geological Survey specialists from afar but, so far, have not been able to confidently say if the area is safe for the masses.
“We’re really going to need a few more days of data to make a solid determination if the rock is still moving,” park spokesman Andrew White said Friday.
Following data collection, park rangers will conduct a “risk assessment” to determine if the area can be reopened, he said. White emphasized that much of the Jenny Lake area remains open. Jenny Lake Boating is operating, and other sites on the west side of the lake, including Cascade Canyon, remain accessible.
The Hidden Falls viewing area and hiking route to Lower Inspiration Point recently underwent major renovations as part of the $19 million Jenny Lake Renewal Project, now in its fifth and final year of construction.
Exum Mountain Guides staff first observed the fissure on the buttress above Hidden Falls on Monday while training guided climbers for Teton ascents. By the next morning the gap had widened, and park rangers decided to close the area in “an abundance of caution” to ensure visitors wouldn’t be in the path of potential rockfall.