Hiking the Teton Crest Trail
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Featured in major articles from National Geographic, to Backpacker, to Outside, arguments have been made that hiking the Teton Crest Trail is one of the best backpacking trails in the country, if not the world. The signature hike of Grand Teton National Park threads its way for 39-miles (63 km) along the interior spine of the Teton Range, joining high divides and passes, alpine lakes, and incredible views of the iconic craggy summits. Rarely dipping below 8,000 feet, this high route crosses tundra bejeweled with paintbrush and larkspur, offering mesmerizing and constant views of the jagged peaks.
The full route of the Teton Crest Trail starts from the Phillips Pass Trailhead on Teton Pass (Highway 22) and runs north to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park. However, many people start the trip with a ride to the top of the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to the top of Rendezvous Peak, saving the the trek from the pass or the 7 miles/2,500′ up Granite Canyon to start the trip. From there, it’s 32.5 mile multi-day trek to Marion Lake, over Fox Creek Pass, across Death Canyon Shelf, through Alaska Basin, up Hurricane Pass, up and down the South Fork to North Fork of Cascade Canyon, over the Paintbrush Divide, and out Paintbrush Canyon to String Lake.
Due to some unexpected snow and storms, we ended up bailing out on our trek a day early and never making it up Paintbrush, but it was still an incredible trip.
I already want to get back…
The 2014 Teton Crest Trail:
- Hiking the Teton Crest Trail
- Day 1: A Mellow Day to the Middle Fork of Granite Canyon
- Day 2 (Part 1): Marion Lake & Fox Creek Pass
- Day 2 (Part 2:) Camping Along the Death Canyon Shelf
- Day 3: Rushing Through Alaska Basin & Over Hurricane Pass
- Day 4: Bailing Out Cascade Canyon
- Day 5: Not on the Trail! Just Relaxing in the Tetons
Details & Logistics (Summer 2014)
- Permits ($25) are required for all overnight backcountry stays in the park and parkway. To minimize the impact on park resources, backcountry permits are limited. One-third of the backcountry campsites and all of the group sites may be reserved in advance. The remaining sites are filled on a first-come, first-served basis at park permit offices no more than one day before the trip begins. Plan alternative routes based on availability.
- Individual campsites accommodate one to six people. Groups of seven to 12 people must use designated group sites that are larger and more durable. In winter, parties are limited to 20 people.
- Leave No Trace.
- Untreated water may contain Giardia, Campylobacter or other harmful organisms that cause intestinal disorders with severe diarrhea. Treat ALL backcountry water by boiling, with chemical methods or a portable water filter.
- The use of Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approved canisters are required for food storage. All permit holders can check out a canister, free of charge.
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
- You’ll need to cars to leave one at the start and one at the finish. Hitchhiking is always an option (not a guarantee) and as far as I know, there are no shuttle options available.