The 45-mile Teton Crest Trail passes through all of the best, most iconic landmarks in Grand Teton NP and neighboring Jedediah Smith Wilderness: Death Canyon Shelf, Alaska Basin, Cascade Canyon, you name it.
What Makes It Great
One of the best routes on the Crest Trail is from Death Canyon to Static Peak Divide to Cascade Canyon. It’s about 25-miles and it hits Alaska Basin and Hurricane Pass.
If you want to do the trail in full, start at the Phillips Pass trailhead halfway up Teton Pass and come out at String Lake via Paintbrush Canyon. The scenery on day 1 is nice, but it graduates to spectacular on day 2. Climbing up from Marion Lake onto the 9,500-foot plateau that leads to Fox Creek Pass, the range’s real mountains greet you.
Don’t be discouraged by how distant they look. Instead, focus on Death Canyon dropping away to your right and the three-mile long, limestone Death Canyon Shelf rising 500-feet from fields of wildflowers to your left.
Day 2 can either end with a campsite on the shelf or down in Alaska Basin. The benefit of camping in Alaska Basin is that you’re not in the park and don’t need a permit to camp there.
Day 3 takes you out of Alaska Basin, back into the park, up and over Hurricane Pass, and down into the South Fork of Cascade Canyon. You could end your Crest Trail trip here, but if you’ve got another night to spare, head up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon to your last campsite.
Day 4 you’d then hike to Lake Solitude, up and over Paintbrush Divide, and out Paintbrush Canyon to the North Jenny Lake parking area.
There's no rulebook for doing the Crest Trail, but only crazy people hike it north to south. You wouldn't want to walk the length of one of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges with your back to its big peaks.
Who is Going to Love It
What backpacker wouldn't want to explore the Teton Crest Trail and see the gorgeous views?
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
You can pick your desired canyon, and head west until you connect with the Crest Trail. The most popular and easiest way to do it might be from the top of the tram at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort down to Marion Lake and Granite Canyon.