Teton Crest Trail

 6 votes

39.0 Miles 62.7 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

8,061' 2,457 m

Ascent

-7,576' -2,309 m

Descent

10,659' 3,249 m

High

6,399' 1,950 m

Low

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Unknown

Update

An absolutely epic journey through the heart of the Tetons.

Tom Robson

Overview

Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips in Grand Teton. In order to obtain a permit, it's recommended that you apply for one in advance. You can do so from recreation.gov from January 6th to May 15, 2016.
This route is a National Park classic. It spans much of Grand Teton NP from south to north and is spectacularly positioned in the Teton Range throughout. Along this journey, you'll encounter all ecological zones the park has to offer, as well as its best views. Steel yourself, you're gonna be tired, but your life is about to change for the better.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Need to Know

This route is best done as a shuttle. If completing this route as mapped (south to north), plan on leaving a car at the Leigh Lake trailhead, then starting your journey from the Granite Canyon trailhead.

Description

Starting from the Granite Canyon TH, head west, towards the mountains. This glacier-carved trail spans from Moose Wilson Rd at ~6,400' all the way to ~8,900', and terminates at an intersection with Fox Creek Pass. From the trailhead on the road, head past the Teton Village Trail and enter Granite Canyon proper. From the canyon entrance, the trail ascends at a steady rate, passing South Fork Granite Canyon on the left, and Open Canyon on the right.

Granite Canyon follows Granite Creek all the way up to the beautiful alpine Marion Lake if you take a right on Fox Creek Pass. Many people choose to pitch a tent here, and enjoy a night in the mountains before either returning to their car or continuing along the Teton Crest Trail on Fox Creek Pass to Death Canyon Shelf.

Continuing north you'll pass beautiful Marion Lake, follow the trail as it works its way up a minor ascent (compared to Granite Canyon) and onto an open plain. This is a very scenic section of trail with Housetop Mountain (10,439') to the west and Marion Lake below. Continue hiking along this easy, contouring section of the trail as it skirts its way along the west slopes of the aptly-named Spearhead Peak (10,045'). Eventually, you'll reach an intersection with Death Canyon Trail to the east and Death Canyon Shelf straight ahead (north).

Continue north on Death Canyon Shelf - a trail that is highly exposed to changes in weather, and where water can be difficult to find, especially in September. Starting from the three-way trail intersection, Death Canyon Shelf heads northeast and runs along the bench sitting atop Death Canyon. This trail is very easy to follow as it is a straight shot from Fox Creek Pass to Mount Meek Pass.

From the pass, continue northeast on Teton Crest Trail - North. This trail takes you through one of the most beautiful areas around, and it's not even in the Park! Pass Devil's Staircase Trail on your left and eventually gain the Sheep Steps.

From here, head east to an intersection with Alaska Basin Trail, but prepare to get your feet wet as you ford South Fork Teton Creek and continue west along the contours of the basin. Follow Teton Crest Trail - North as it begins to wind west, avoiding Alaska Basin Trail.

From here you'll make your way to famed Hurricane Pass. Shortly after switchbacking out of the basin you'll reach an intersection with Alaska Basin Shelf - stay left here to stay on Teton Crest Trail - North. Bypass South Teton/Buck Mt. Pass Trail as it appears on your left, and shortly after you'll exit the basin proper.

Head northward until you finally reach Hurricane Pass. Shortly after gaining the pass you'll see Schoolroom Glacier. A glacier with textbook details including: well-defined terminal and lateral moraines, crevasses, a proglacial lake and related features which led to the naming schoolroom. Continue north, past Avalanche Divide, to South Fork Cascade Canyon.

Most of South Fork Cascade Canyon allows backcountry camping with a permit, so this might be a nice place to spend the night. Enjoy the stunning views of Teton Ridge and Table mountain along this hike.

Eventually, you'll reach an intersection with North Fork Cascade Canyon and Cascade Canyon Trail - turn left onto North Fork. The first half of this trail, all the way to Lake Solitude, is quite easy. Finally, after dipping in and out of the woods multiple times, the terrain will open up to views across Lake Solitude.From Lake Solitude, continue on North Fork Cascade Canyon straight up to Paintbrush Divide (10,720') and Paintbrush Canyon trail.

After the awesome Teton views, mash your way down the insane first pitch on Paintbrush Canyon. Eventually the trail reaches an intersection with Holly Lake - turn left to head to the lake. Shortly after your quick dip in Holly Lake you'll turn left onto Paintbrush Canyon. At the end of the Canyon, turn left onto String Lake Trail.

This lake skirting trail will take you the Leigh Lake trailhead!

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4.8 from 6 votes


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Check-Ins

Jul 24, 2017
Rich Bryniarski
Jun 15, 2017
Phil Tylman
day 1-2: granite canyon to Marion lake and out day 3-6: Cascade cyn to South fork to paintbrush and back out Cascade cyn
Sep 18, 2016
Delite Millikan
Sep 8, 2016
Alex Kauer
Beautiful views and a lot of wildlife. Bring your trekking poles, difficult climbs throughout trail. 39mi — 96h 00m
Aug 29, 2016
Steph Stump
Incredible trail with super diverse landscapes and wildlife. In late August, many streams were dried up but there was still ample water. 39mi
Aug 26, 2016
Tyler Craig
Epic
Aug 17, 2016
Taylor Fast
This was my first real backpacking trip and I absolutely loved every step.
Aug 11, 2016
David Orchard
10h 30m

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#1

in South

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  4.8 from 6 votes
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