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The Best Hikes in Grand Teton NP National Park

126 Triplog Reviews in the Grand Teton NP National Park
Most recent of 26 deeper Triplog Reviews
6.88 mi • 871 ft aeg
 On our last day in Jackson, Chumley and I headed back into the Tetons for a quick hike. We talked about hitting Amphitheater Lake but my legs were too tired for the 3K AEG. We opted for they easy hike around Taggart & Bradley Lakes. We started hiking around mid-morning and started the loop. The going is fairly easy and we opted for a clockwise loop. The views were fantastic as we passed a few lakes. The Tetons loomed overhead. We made our loop and then stopped by the visitor center for last minute souvenirs and then returned to Jackson. We caught a flight later that afternoon and that concluded another memorable trip. I was absolutely blown away with the Tetons and will return someday.
6.88 mi • 871 ft aeg
 I managed to get a quick hike in this morning to burn off some beer calories. :)

We did the loop clockwise. I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of touristas on the trails. It was peaceful and of course the scenery is second to none. A handful of people gathered along the Taggart shore, but few others ventured up to Bradley. The last mile on the way back down is the only time it felt like a popular national park trail. The key on this one is to start early!
40.34 mi • 9,167 ft aeg
 Chumley and John covered this little trek very well in their triplogs and I would suggest reading theirs for planning purposes, or other pertinent information. In fact, I really do not have anything to add in that area. This was just a great backpack with good friends and the perfect way to end my summer on the road in the northern Rockies.

First of all, a big thanks to @John9L for putting this all together. His meticulous planning kept our backpack and the logistics surrounding it pretty headache free. Although I can't give him too much credit, as once this backpack started, the mountains did all the work.

This was undoubtedly some of the most scenic country I have ever traveled through. There were sections that rivaled the Sierra Nevada and basins and lakes that could compete with anything in Glacier. We dealt with hail, lightning and snow, but it all seemed appropriate and fitting for a forty mile trek across the Continental Divide and I embraced it. After all, scenery like this, should require some grit to be expelled for the privilege to enjoy.

The hiking was also generally perfect and even with some snow, one could see the immense amount of work that has gone into the Crest Trail. The passes will get anyone's heart bumping, however, none of them broke any of us off and they were generally pretty manageable, in terms of lingering winter conditions. As one would expect with our delinquent crew, there was plenty of comic relief and the mood was light. We kept our days very manageable in terms of mileage and there was plenty of time for resting and relaxation at our generally pristine campsites. I even partook in this thing called sleeping in and to be honest after three weeks of binge hiking and backpacking in Glacier, it was lovely.

In the end, we finished to no issues, no equipment lost and all person's present, so a good trip in my book. The once in a lifetime scenery, memories and experiences along the way only further reaffirm this assessment.
40.34 mi • 9,167 ft aeg
 The idea for this trip started over a year ago when I saw triplogs from @Lucyan and @MikeS. Their pics looked amazing and I knew this was a hike for us. I talked to Chumley and he was just as excited as me. From there the planning began and FOTG & Kyle were both down. I did some research and was at my PC ready to go the morning the permits went on sale back in early January on Once we had the permit the rest of the details were planned. Airfare was a bit pricey so we decided to spend a week in Wyoming. The first four days will be backpacking the Teton Crest followed by two days in Yellowstone and one final day back in Jackson Hole where we would catch a flight home in the late afternoon. The days and weeks ticked by and we flew out on Wednesday, July 19th.

We arrived in Jackson Hole around mid-afternoon and met FOTG at the airport. From there we drove to the Tetons Visitor Center and acquired our permit. We went over current conditions and they strongly recommended an ice axe. Kyle and Chumley already had one but FOTG and myself needed one. So from there we drove into town and stopped by the Teton Backcountry Rental where we both rented an Ice Axe for twenty five bucks. After that we checked into our hotel, bought groceries, ate dinner and arranged our shuttle. We went with Daniel’s Cash Cab 307-413-3770. The rest of the evening involved packing and final preparations. All the months of planning were over and it was time to hit the trail!

Day 1 – Thursday, July 20th. Granite Canyon to Upper Granite Canyon
We met our shuttle driver at the Leigh Lake Trailhead around 9am and were shuttled to the Granite Canyon Trailhead to the south. We geared up and headed up the trail. The going is fairly easy with a steady gain. It was a warm and humid day and all of us were sweating in no time. We continued on as the trail parallels a creek heading up canyon. We took some short breaks and only saw a handful of people.

As we got farther back we noticed storm clouds moving in. We were hoping to beat them to camp before rain started falling. We selecting a campsite about a half mile above the group campsite and set up camp right before the rain started falling. We all climbed into our tents as the skies opened. Rain & hail fell as thunder crackled around us. It wasn’t too bad and lasted less than an hour. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing around camp. Fires are not allowed so we put on our jackets to keep warm. Sunset was around 9pm so we had lots of daylight. All of us turned in by 10pm and that was the end of day one.

Day 2 – Friday, July 21st. Upper Granite Canyon to Sunset Lake
Our day two started slowly as we took our time in camp and packed everything up. We hit the trail and started the solid climb to Marion Lake. About a mile up the trail we encountered our first snow. It was patchy as we walked over and around it. Our big concern was post holing but didn’t have any issues. We continued on and passed Marion Lake which is spectacular. We wish we camped here but didn’t have a permit for this zone.

Next up was the Death Canyon Shelf which I was really looking forward to. There were more patches of snow and we passed a few groups going the opposite direction. They gave us an update on the conditions and said they couldn’t get over Paintbrush Divide. They only had one ice axe among a medium size group and that wasn’t going to cut it. We kept at it and really enjoyed the views down Death Canyon. I’d love to return here for a trip down this canyon. It looks awesome! We took a lunch break overlooking the canyon and continued on from there.

We encountered more snow as we neared Alaska Basin and the trail makes a steep drop into the basin. I was glad I had hiking poles because this helped with balance. Once we got into the basin we talked with a national forest employee. He asked us to be bear aware and take proper bear precautions with our food. We told him we were from Arizona and he asked a bunch of questions about the Superstitions. It took little convincing and he is all about a trip this spring! After our chat we took a short break near one of the basin lakes and then continued one more mile to Sunset Lake. We encountered quite a bit of snow through here and it sucked energy. We were all glad to reach the lake and took off our packs and relaxed!

Sunset Lake is a beautiful alpine lake that sits a bit below 10K. We had a wonderful campsite with plenty of space. Our campsite was surrounded by marmots too. They were all over and we counted eight at one moment. We enjoyed a relaxing evening and were in bed again before 10pm.

Day 3 – Saturday, July 22nd. Sunset Lake to North Fork Cascade Canyon
Our third day was going to be big. We had to cross Hurricane Pass and then drop down South Fork of Cascade Canyon and then head up the North Fork where we planned on camping. We left camp around 9am and had roughly a thousand feet to climb to the pass. We talked to some other hikers and they said Hurricane Pass was mostly snow free with some patches about a mile below the pass. This was a relief knowing we have fairly easy going.

We made the long climb to the pass and encountered one steep snow field. FOTG opted to put on Micro Spikes to safely cross. The rest of us scrambled around the snow field. Once above it was easy going all the way to the pass. Once we arrived at Hurricane Pass we were greeted with epic views of the peaks and Cascade Canyon. One of the best features is Schoolroom Glacier. It’s a frozen lake surrounded by a moraine. It made us think of Global Warming. This glacier will probably dry up in my lifetime and it will be a tragic loss. After admiring the views we dropped down into Cascade Canyon and continued north. There were a few patches of snow that took some careful footwork but nothing serious. The snow disappeared as we continued dropping and we set a quick pace as we headed for our low point.

The crowds picked up as we descended and we met a volunteer ranger who checked our permit. She was very friendly and was excited about our itinerary. After that we continued down and then started the climb up North Fork of Cascade Canyon. Today is Saturday and this canyon was very busy. We were concerned on finding a good campsite, especially one that can accommodate four tents. We ultimately found one that was tight but we made it work. We spent another afternoon enjoying the pleasant weather and our epic view of Grand Teton Peak!

Day 4 – Sunday, July 23rd. North Fork Cascade to Paintbrush Canyon and exit the park
We decided to start early on our final day in the park. We were on trail at 7am hoping the snow would be firm by the time we started our descent from Paintbrush Divide. We had to climb nearly 2,000 ft over three miles to the high point of our hike at 10,700ft. The going went well as we passed Lake Solitude and continued on the immaculate trail up. It makes a long traverse followed by a couple of switchbacks. We hit a patch of snow around 10K ft and decided to put on our Micro Spikes and get out the Ice Axe. There were two sections clustered together and I’m glad we hit them. This gave us a chance to get a feel for the snow and our equipment. Once we were over the snow we put our gear away and continued on to the Paintbrush Divide.

I was the first to arrive at the Paintbrush Divide and noticed the epic views down canyon. There was a lot of snow we’re going to need to deal with and this gave me some anxiety. It helped seeing a couple heading down. They passed through before us so I knew the route was doable. There are two routes from Paintbrush Divide. The normal summer route where the trail heads down and the winter route. The trail could not be accessed due to a large block of snow. You would need technical gear to safely pass over the snow here. I checked out the winter route and thought it looked steep but safer. The snow continues down and out. There was no threat of rocks in the event you cannot arrest your fall. Chumley and FOTG both wanted to do the summer route and there was no looking back once the decision was made. We didn’t waste time thinking about it. We geared up and went!

FOTG went first and set the pace. It will be slow going as he dug out steps started by groups before us. I followed and took my time. Every step was slow going as I carefully went one step at a time constantly repositioning my Ice Axe. There were a few times where my downhill foot slipped an inch or two on soft snow. This made my heart skip a beat. The Mircro Spikes helped and I couldn’t do this without the Ice Axe. I had my phone stowed away and didn’t take any pics along the traverse. I barely looked back at Chumley and Kyle fifty feet behind me. It was one foot in front of the other all the way until we were back on solid ground. I was elated after safely crossing the snow field. This was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. It was a hell of a rush!

Once everyone was down it was fairly easy going. We still had snow fields to cross but none were as treacherous as the descent off the pass. We continued down and saw some day hikers exploring the area. We knew we were home free! We took a short break at Holly Lake and then continued down. The snow disappeared as we got below 9K ft and our pace picked up. The last few miles to the car were bittersweet as we completed our hike. This hike took a lot of work and the snow didn’t make it any easier. What an adventure!

Final Thoughts
The Teton Crest Trail is a spectacular hike that is right up there with the John Muir Trail. The views are magnificent as you hike from valley to pass and back into valley. Each turn brought new jaw dropping views. The trail never disappointed!

There was quite a bit of snow for us. Most of it was patchy and a nuisance but it sucked time and energy. We were fairly spent each day and didn’t do huge mileage.

Having a GPS with a route preloaded helped keep us on track. The snow covered the trail in some areas and the GPS helped with navigation.

I wore trail runners for this hike even though the BCO recommended boots. My feet were soaked on every day except the first day. Luckily it wasn’t a big deal.

We had Micro Spikes and an Ice Axe for this and couldn’t have completed our loop without these tools. We only used these on the Paintbrush Divide Trail. Check with the BCO on current conditions a few days before beginning this hike. Go prepared!

The weather held up nicely for us! The only rain we had was on our first day after getting camp set up. It lasted about an hour and the storm cleared.

Thanks to Chumley, FOTG & Kyle for coming along for this hike. We had a great group and truly enjoyed this trip! Another memorable trip in the books!
42.14 mi • 9,514 ft aeg
 :y: :y: :y:

:D Five HAZopellis for sure! :D

Day 1: Granite Canyon Trail
9.07 miles / 2,684 aeg / 4:34
We parked our car at Leigh Lake trailhead and shuttled via a cab to the Granite Trailhead. The trail climbed steadily through forested terrain along a fast flowing creek. There are a couple of camping zones along the trail with numerous marked campsites. Very few of them are suitable for four tents, but the couple of group sites have more space. Permits assign you to a zone, not a specific site, so you may not be able to camp where you want. We didn't have that problem since we were the only people we saw who were heading up canyon that day. We set up camp near the top of the Upper Granite camp zone just a few minutes before a thunderstorm sent us into our tents. An hour or two later it cleared up and we had a pleasant night at camp.

Day 2: Upper Granite to Alaska Basin
11.15 miles / 2,614 aeg / 7:25
The day started with a short but healthy climb to Marion Lake before ascending farther to the crest and entering the National Forest and Jedediah Smith Wilderness. The next two miles to Fox Creek Pass featured expansive views across the Teton high country. From Fox Creek Pass, it was about 3 miles on the Death Canyon Shelf, with the stunningly beautiful Death Canyon dropping toward the valley below us. Next we climbed the gentle ascent to Mount Meek Pass before descending the Sheep Steps into Alaska Basin. We were all absolutely exhausted at this point, but opted to push another 1.5 miles to Sunset Lake for to camp. To get there, the trail climbs about 400 feet, but it felt like 1000! We camped in some trees northwest of the lake because the prime spot on the cliff above the lake was still snowed in.

Day 3: Alaska Basin to North Fork Cascade
10.14 miles / 2,034 aeg / 5:22
After an exhausting day 2, we were all excited for an easy day 3. :) Of course, it started with a 1000 foot climb to Hurricane Pass, but with fresh morning legs it went fairly quickly. Hurricane Pass brings you up close and personal with the majestic peaks of the Tetons, and drops to the base of Schoolroom Glacier. From here, the trail descends through the very scenic South Fork Cascade Canyon. It seemed a little strange here because we suddenly encountered a moderate number of touristy day hikers, which is unusual for the middle of a backpacking trip. But this canyon is a popular day hike from the valley below and at just 6 miles from the canyon forks to the trailhead, day hikers willing to put 12-15+ miles on a hike can get pretty far up here.

Instead of heading down canyon toward the trailhead however, we turned left and headed up North Fork Cascade Canyon toward Lake Solitude. A roaring stream runs in the middle of the valley, and the down-valley views back to the rugged peaks were some of the best of the trip.

We settled in to a campsite that was smaller than we would have preferred. Like Granite Canyon, the permit is for the zone, not a specific site. Due to it's proximity to the valley (7-8 miles) via the Cascade Canyon Trail, the best sites here go early.

Day 4: North Fork Cascade to Leigh Lake
11.78 miles / 2,189 aeg / 6:21
This was always going to be the most difficult day. We knew that Paintbrush Divide was still snow covered and crossing it would require mountaineering gear. We were all equipped with ice axes and opted for microspikes over full crampons. The initial climb brought us past the still-icy Lake Solitude before climbing an amazing trail cut that climbs a single traverse for over a mile before making two long switchbacks to the divide. The quality of trail and the views on this climb are in my top 5.

Once reaching the divide we were happy that there was evidence of somebody having descended the snowfield before us, but not very happy with how challenging and dangerous it looked. Kudos to Lee for not letting us think about it too long or introduce second thoughts ... :app:

The descent was slow and deliberate. None of us desired to test our amateur self-arrest skills on this slope so the goal was prevention. The snow was getting a slushy, and the sun was unrelentingly hot. I've never been so warm hiking downhill. In the snow. Half an hour later, we had made it to dry ground again, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. From here down there was plenty of snow cover, but nothing nearly as harrowing as the divide had been, and I even managed a fun little glissade on one slope. :DANCE:

We took a break at Holly Lake before dropping down out of the snow and following the trail back the final 7 miles down Paintbrush Canyon to the truck at Leigh Lake.

Final Thoughts
Channeling my inner Jerry Springer!
This was an amazing trip with good team effort. Thank you to 9L for doing the permit legwork and planning. FOTG saved us a few $ in rental cars and shuttles by making this a stop on his drive home from Montana. And tough_boots was the sacrificial hiker who would fall back in case of a grizzly attack :o (not sure we told him that, but it didn't matter since that never happened :sweat: ). And we all supported each other through the new challenge of descending a snowy pass. :app:

We were probably two weeks early due to the heavy snow pack from last winter. But despite the challenges of traveling in snow, the scenery of rugged mountain peaks and valleys dotted with snow combined with fields of wildflowers is unparalleled. I would love to return to the Tetons and explore more of this majestic range! :)
40.1 mi • 9,057 ft aeg
 That 9L really knows how to put together a trip. This one had been in the works for a while and luckily Lee was already up that way and could join us. It was a heavy snow year and we'd been nervous for a while about if we could complete it or not. There were two spots we were worried about. Luckily, Hurricane Pass was no problem. The Paintbrush Divide ended up being intimidating but nothing that microspikes, ice-axes, and determination couldn't conquer. I would absolutely love to spend more time in the Grand Tetons. Its a beautiful range with so much character. I think we caught it at the absolutely perfect time. It was four days of snow and wildflowers.
10.41 mi • 3,027 ft aeg
 I did this little hike to kill sometime while waiting for Chumley, John and Kyle to arrive for our backpack of the Crest Trail. This was my first hike in Grand Teton National Park and it left me very excited and a little anxious for our Crest Trail backpack.

The hike up is a bit of a grind, but the trail is in excellent condition and the grade stays pretty manageable. Surprise Lake was quaint, but scenic and pleasant, it alone would make a worthy destination for most. But Amphitheater Lake is certainly the real attraction. I got an early start, so I only had to share the lake with two other people. I really enjoyed the setting of the lake and the stunning scenery around it. I contemplated taking a known spur trail up and around the lake for some better views, but I was feeling a little beat as it was and I wanted to save some energy for the first day of our backpack, so I just walked along the lake, enjoyed its brilliant reflection and snapped pics with the trusty Iphone. The hike down was quick, as one might expect. However, there was about a ten minute delay to watch a small black bear go about its routine. I passed a lot of people hiking out, confirming the trail's reputation, as a popular one. Start early to beat the crowds.
6.18 mi • 759 ft aeg
 Another very popular hike in Grand Teton National Park. Commonly called the Taggart/Bradley Lake loop. Has a parking lot for about 50 cars that overflows onto the road by 11 AM. We did the hike clockwise giving us a longer more gradual hike to Taggart Lake. Passed the tip of Bradley Lake before we headed back down. You can hike beyond Bradley for more miles.
3 mi • 167 ft aeg
 We spent 7 days in the Grand Teton National Park. Our last day in the park was the 100th Anniversary day of the National Park system...exciting :y: I was not sure how I would do hiking at this elevation, but all worked out great. Spent two days doing non-hiking activities to help get acclimated and started with a short easy hike. This hike starts at the parking lot at the Lake Jackson Lodge. We went to the pond and then a bit further. Average of the high/low elevation on this hike was 6900 feet.
42 mi • 9,681 ft aeg
 The Teton Crest Trail is a 40-mile long hiking trail in the U.S. state of Wyoming that extends from Phillips Pass, on the border of Bridger Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

This trip is usually done as a 4-5 backpack, we did it in 2.5 days. We had perfect weather and conditions plus in a pretty good shape after hiking and backpacking in Sierras past few weeks :D

Day 1 - Granite Canyon - Marion Lake - Fox Creek Pass - Alaska Basin - 18 miles
Day 2 - Alaska Basin - Sunset Lake - Hurricane Pass - South Fork - Cascade Canyon - Lake Solitude - Paintbrush Divide - 15 miles
Day 3 - Paintbrush Divide - Holly Lake - Paintbrush Canyon - Leigh Lake - String Lake- Jenny Lake - 9 miles

For anyone looking for perfect backpacking trip with outstanding views and scenery - this is it! This trip is now on top of my list, absolutely amazing views (pictures don't make it justice), ocean of colorful wildflowers, moderate terrain, lots of wildlife, granite peaks, alpine lakes.

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