Ask Me: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

[Michael Lanza note: The following are my responses, updated 4/21/19, to inquiries from readers with specific questions about backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, including how to do it, the best campsites, and what to bring. See also my story American Classic: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail and my e-guide The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail.]


Thank you for making something so useful as The Big Outside. The website is not only a great resource for useful information but also does such a great job of communicating your passion for the outdoors. In that spirit, I am taking my son to hike the Teton Crest Trail in early July this summer and I had a couple questions.

We will be a group of eight fathers and sons and are staying at the group sites in Middle Fork Granite Canyon, Marion Lake, Death Canyon Shelf, and South Fork Cascade Canyon. After reading your article on packing light, I am wondering if this trip can be done with a one-liter bottle. At that time of year, are there typically enough water sources to allow me to leave the two- or three-liter hydration bladder at home and just take a couple liter bottles? Also, regarding water filters, is there a lightweight one your would recommend for this particular trip?

Also, after reading about the possible side hike to Static Peak, I am wondering if that is doable after waking up from our Death Canyon Shelf campsite. One of the group suggested that it would be easier to do the Static Peak side hike if we skipped camping on the shelf (which I don’t want to do) and instead spent out second night in Alaska Basin. I was hoping for some advice because I would really like to do that side hike from the Death Canyon Group site. I am also wondering if doing the hike and then camping at South Fork Cascade Canyon group site is too much mileage for one day. That said, everyone in our group is in at least average physical shape.

Be well and I look forward to reading about your family’s future adventures!

Gilbert, AZ

Campsite on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.
Campsite on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the nice words about my blog. Good on you for planning a Teton Crest Trail hike with your son, it’s a favorite of mine and we had a great time backpacking it with our kids. You’ll find numerous articles with useful information about the Teton Crest Trail at this blog.

If you’re going in early July, be aware that there’s normally snow at high passes then, possibly making some of them unsafe, although the primary concern would be Paintbrush Divide, and you could finish down Cascade Canyon instead when hiking south to north (and maybe you’re already planning on that). If you can’t or aren’t hiking over Paintbrush Divide, though, you might think about making the side trip out-and-back up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude, anyway, because the North Fork is a gem. You might even try adding another night to your itinerary and camping in the North Fork backcountry camping zone. From there, it’s an easy, downhill and flat hike of just a few hours to the Jenny Lake boat dock.

As for water, the Teton Crest Trail does stay pretty high, and you may find yourself hiking stretches of two hours or more between water sources, and longer than that if you make the side trip to Static Peak. You have basically two hours or more of hiking between each of these water sources: Marion Lake, the springs/streams on Death Canyon Shelf, and Alaska Basin. Then Sunset Lake sits about halfway through a stretch of 2-3 hours from Alaska Basin to upper South Fork Cascade Canyon.

The question of how much water to carry partly depends on your hiking pace, but early-morning departures, in cool temps, help keep your water needs lower. I also make a habit of chugging plenty of water when treating or filtering at a water source (and encouraging others to do the same), so that you leave it well hydrated (following the maxim that it’s better to carry water in your belly than on your back). When my kids were little, I let them carry one liter and I’d carry extra.

I typically carry a bladder for convenience while hiking, putting as much water in it as needed between sources, but I also carry a bottle because it’s convenient in camp and sometimes to help fill the bladder. I’d recommend either my system, or choosing between a bladder or two liter bottles, and focusing your efforts at lightening your pack on your gear and food. At those moderately high elevations, you may not feel well if you get dehydrated. I’ve found that the combination of elevation and dehydration can hit kids harder than adults. Besides, an extra bottle and a bladder don’t weigh much.

Click here now to get my e-guide The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip. Please follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


Death Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
Death Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

As for a water filter, especially for a group, I’ve come to really like gravity filters like the Katadyn Base Camp Pro 10L gravity filter, the MSR Trail Base Water Filter Kit, and the Platypus GravityWorks filter because they’re reliable and do most of the work for you (and they work best with clear, unsilted water, like you usually find in the mountains). I also love the convenience and quickness of using a water bottle filter like the LifeStraw Go. I often carry both types of filters when backpacking.

The side trip to Static Peak is roughly five miles round-trip from Alaska Basin, which for most groups is two to three hours. If you’re doing it from Death Canyon Shelf, depending on where you’re camping on the Shelf, add at least four round-trip miles to that distance. It only makes sense to make that side hike from Alaska Basin, where you could stash your packs. (See my tips in “The Fine Art of Stashing a Backpack in the Woods.”) I’d say it’s possible to do that on the day you hike from the Shelf to South Fork Cascade Canyon, but I would be sure everyone’s up for a day that could stretch to 10 hours or more, and I’d get an early start. That said, Static Peak is really nice, and the trail leading to it from Alaska Basin has great views and feels very remote. Logistically, it does make more sense to camp in Alaska Basin if you want to make the side trip to Static Peak, and it’s certainly reasonable to hike from Marion Lake to Alaska Basin in a day. But the Shelf has some of the best campsite views in the park.

I recommend changing your itinerary, if possible. From Middle Fork Granite Canyon to Marion Lake is at most two hours of hiking. You could eat lunch at Marion Lake and camp on the Shelf that night. Then plan to reach Alaska Basin by late morning the next day, set up camp to spend the night there, and dayhike to Static Peak that afternoon. Then hike to South Fork Cascade the following day. The only other option I can think of, that doesn’t include camping in Alaska Basin, is that you could camp as far north on the Shelf as possible, to position yourself for an early start and a side hike to Static Peak the next day. Tough choices, I know.


I’ve helped many readers plan an unforgettable backpacking trip on the Teton Crest Trail.
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A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail, Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.
A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail on Death Canyon Shelf.


Wow. What an incredibly generous response from you. There are many people like me who are trying to make trips like this happen but are by no means experts. The last thing a dad like me wants to do is take our kids to a great place but then compromise the experience due to bad planning or decisions. Not only is your blog incredibly helpful, but the fact that you take the time to personally reach out to us less experienced but well meaning family adventurers really puts what you are doing over the top.

Your response was really helpful. The national park actually left me a voicemail the other day letting me know that there will be snow on those passes and that we will need ice axes. Because of your advice, we are going to try and schedule a day of high mountain hiking training with Exum Mountain Guides the day or two before we begin the hike. We are hoping this training will be sufficient? I’ll let you know how our hike turns out!

I turned my brother-in-law on to your site and he wound up buying your book and is inspired to take his young kids on national park adventures. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about.


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South Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
South Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Jeff,

The park appropriately warns people of the good possibility of snow at high passes in early July. (The photo above was taken in upper South Fork Cascade Canyon in the first half of August a few years ago.) It’s possible you’ll see an unusual year and the passes will be largely free of snow, or at least safely passable. On the other hand, the day of training with Exum will certainly give you all an introduction to valuable skills that you may use many times.

Still, my advice would be to find out all you can from backcountry rangers (or Exum guides) about snow conditions in the high passes right before your trip starts. If there’s a lot of firm snow remaining, and temperatures are near or below freezing at night, it could pose a risky situation for people who are new to snow travel in the mountains. If hikers and backpackers have created a trough through the snow at the passes, and the snow is softening up by late morning, it may be safe for your group. The Exum guides will probably be able to give you some good advice on whether to go. You can always change your itinerary and find safe trails to hike.

Good luck. Thanks for sharing my blog with others. Please tell your brother-in-law I hope he enjoys my book and I’d love to hear what he thinks of it. Get in touch anytime.


Why is this trail such a classic? Read the “5 Reasons You Must Backpack the Teton Crest Trail.”

Paintbrush Divide, Grand Teton National Park.
Paintbrush Divide, Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Michael,

A friend of mine and I are hiking the 40-mile Teton Crest Trail this fall and wonder what direction you would recommend hiking the trail. I’ve heard that south to north is nice. Also, if we take the tram from Jackson Hole Resort up the mountain, are there multiple spots to get on trail or just the one at Rendezvous Mountain? Will the entire trail take us right back to where we began?

Thanks so much for your help. Any other advice would be welcomed!


P.S. Bear spay is expensive, is there a place to get it for less than $50?

Click here now to get my e-guide to the best beginner-friendly backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Jill,

Thanks for writing. You’ll love the Teton Crest Trail. I would definitely hike it south to north, because the views keep getting better; plus, you’ll see a quieter, less busy area of the Tetons first, before you get into the heart of the Tetons, where there are a bit more people.

There are numerous places to start, including the very southern end of the Teton Crest Trail, just east of Teton Pass. I’ve started there, at Death Canyon Trailhead a few times, and also hiked up Open Canyon over Mount Hunt Divide, and hiked in Granite Canyon. They’re all nice, and I’d start in one of them as opposed to the very southern end of the range, just because those canyons are more scenic than the southern end. I guess I’d say Death Canyon is the prettiest, especially in the wildflower meadows near the head of the canyon, on the way up to Fox Creek Pass. But you’ll see the fewest people in Open Canyon and over Mount Hunt Divide to upper Granite Canyon.

Backpackers on the Teton Crest Trail above the Schoolroom Glacier and South Fork Cascade Canyon.
Backpackers on the Teton Crest Trail above the Schoolroom Glacier and South Fork Cascade Canyon.

I’ve not taken the tram up Rendezvous, but there’s a trail leading from there into Granite Canyon; it drops about 1,500 feet and I’ve read that the distance from the top of the tram to Marion Lake is a bit over six miles.

You should definitely plan on camping a night on Death Canyon Shelf.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen bear spray for under $50. Having had a close encounter with a grizzly sow with cubs (luckily, it was uneventful, and we didn’t even have to deploy our pepper spray), I wills say that pepper spray doesn’t seem very expensive when you find yourself in a situation of needing to use it.

Good luck, let me know how it goes for you. September is a great time in the Tetons, with far fewer people, if that’s when you’re going.


A trip like this goes better with the right gear. See my picks for “The 10 Best Backpacking Packs
and “The 5 Best Backpacking Tents.”

The North Fork of Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
The North Fork of Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.


Really enjoy your website, thanks for all the info. Have a question for you about the Teton Crest Trail. I know it is first come in the camping zones, but I was wondering if you know what specific spots in the camping zones have the best views from camp or the best views right next to camp.

We plan on staying on Death Canyon Shelf zone, in the North Fork and South Fork of Cascade Canyon, as well as either Upper or Lower Paintbrush Canyon. Any help you could give on specific spots within those zones would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Lexington, KY

[Submitted via message at]

Plan your next great backpacking adventure in Grand Teton and other flagship parks using my expert e-guides.

South Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
South Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Justin,

You’re taking one of my favorite backpacking trips.

Anywhere you camp on Death Canyon Shelf is fantastic; closer to one of the small creeks is more convenient, but the views are good everywhere up there, and parties are usually spread out.

The South Fork and North Fork of Cascade Canyon are both popular and the best sites often get grabbed by afternoon. I like the sites at the upper end of South Fork, near the junction with the spur trail to Avalanche Divide (a very worthy side hike); and there’s another in lower South Fork with a ledge overlooking the canyon (photo at right). But you won’t get a bad site in South Fork, and some have bear boxes, which are convenient for food storage. Same with North Fork, although there are really nice sites in lower North Fork, with huge boulders framing the site and a killer view down canyon of the Grand Teton.

As for Paintbrush Canyon, I think the best views are in Upper instead of Lower Paintbrush.

Late July is a good time, though you may see afternoon thunderstorms. It’s very unlikely you would find the Teton Crest Trail impassable at the end of July. Paintbrush Divide may have some snow, but it may not be freezing at night by then; it would likely be soft snow with a trough through it from hikers, and easily crossed. Much of the trail is completely exposed to sun, so snow only lingers in a few spots, but it wouldn’t be deep or a problem by then. You could call the park’s backcountry desk to ask the likelihood; I suspect they would tell you that the trail is usually passable in late July.


Tell me what you think.

I spent a lot of time writing this story, so if you enjoyed it, please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons at right, and leave a comment or question at the bottom of this story. I’d really appreciate it.


See all of my stories at The Big Outside about the Teton Crest Trail and Grand Teton National Park, including my feature stories “Walking Familiar Ground: Reliving Old Memories and Making New Ones on the Teton Crest Trail,” and “American Classic: The Teton Crest Trail,” and see all of my Ask Me posts about Grand Teton National Park.

Good luck with your trip planning.



I can help you plan the best backpacking, hiking, or family adventure of your life.

Got questions about hiking, backpacking, planning a family adventure, or any trip I’ve written about at The Big Outside? Email me at I’ll answer your questions to help ensure your trip is a success. See my Custom Trip Planning page for details.

—Michael Lanza



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23 thoughts on “Ask Me: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail”

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your website – love reading it for ideas, inspirations, and information!

    With today (1/8/2020) being the first Wednesday of the year, Grand Teton Backcountry permits opened up and I scrambled for the ideal itinerary. I was able to secure Day 1- Death Canyon Shelf, Day 2 – Alaska Basin, and Day 3 – Upper Paintbrush for early August. Starting from Aerial Tram, out at String Lake.

    At first I was rather bummed that South/North Fork Cascade were all reserved, but with an overnight at Alaska Basin opens up the opportunity to visit Static Peak!

    However, the hike from Alaska Basin to Upper Paintbrush will be rather long….
    – Are there campsites in Alaska Basin between Sunset Lake and Hurricane Pass, hopefully to cut into next day’s mileage?
    – Is Alaska Basin to Upper Paintbrush in one day practical? If not, we could try for a walk-in permit for South Fork Cascade

    Appreciate your help!

    • Hi David,

      Congratulations on your Teton Crest Trail permit and thanks for the nice compliment about my blog, I appreciate it.

      Yes, Alaska Basin to Upper Paintbrush Canyon is a big day. Depending on where exactly you camp in each zone, you’re looking at around 14 miles, with a couple of passes and significant elevation gain and loss. Paintbrush Divide will be the hardest pass; Hurricane Pass is a long, steady, but not strenuous climb. Only you know whether that’s reasonable for your group, but I can tell you that friends and I had a similar itinerary last August: Death Canyon Shelf night one, North Fork Cascade night two, and over Paintbrush Divide and out on day three. But we’re used to that kind of itinerary, too.

      You could try to amend your permit when you pick it up to have a night in North Fork instead of Upper Paintbrush.

      There’s no camping between Alaska Basin and South Fork of Cascade, and no camping at Sunset Lake.

      Good luck!

  2. Hey Mike! I’ve loved reading your material! My friend and I are trying to plan our 4 day trip on the Teton Crest Trail at the beginning of September, but I’ve been seeing so many mixed opinions on itineraries. You seem to have the best grasp of the trail ,so I was wondering what you would recommend for us if we’re trying to get the full Teton experience and really be out in the backcountry? We want to enjoy the beauty, but also hope to avoid as much of the crowds as we can. Any advice at all would be amazing! Can’t wait to read more of your stuff.

    • Thanks, Grant. The best answer I can give you is to get my Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail. It will answer all of your questions and more, including a recommended itinerary (my favorite) as well as several alternative itineraries.

      Or if you’d like my personal customized help planning your trip, which I’ve done for a lot of readers backpacking the TCT, see my Custom Trip Planning page.

      Thanks for the comment. By the way, I’m returning to backpack the Teton Crest Trail again in a few weeks! I’ll never get tired of that hike.

  3. Hi Mike, there’s a lot of great information in here. Is there a time of year to hike the Teton Crest Trail that’s your favorite?

    • Thanks, James, and good question. I happen to have a permit for the Teton Crest Trail for the last week of August this year, and I consider that right smack within the best time to backpack in the Tetons. Snow along the trail will have melted away, the weather is often dry and clear, days aren’t too hot, nights are pleasantly crisp. Given the deep snowpack this year, wildflowers will probably emerge a bit later than normal and may extend into late August; normally, to see peak wildflowers (one highlight of the TCT), you’d shoot for late July into the first part of August. My ideal season extends into mid-September and occasionally later, when there are fewer people out there, although you have to watch the forecast because an early snowfall can arrive then, too.

      If you are eyeballing the TCT, you should check out my downloadable e-guide to the Teton Crest Trail, or consider getting a customized trip consult with me to help you plan it.

      Good luck and thanks for the great question!

  4. Hi Michael,

    Hope all is well! Will be visiting Grand Teton next week; can’t wait! Just purchased your TCT E-Guide and it has been helpful thus far!

    I plan on doing the Table Mountain hike. I would love to camp on Table Mountain; given that I have not yet been up there do you know if there are any good spots to camp up there? Also, to get the alpenglow on the Tetons from Table Mountain, would this occur during sunrise or sunset? Sunset is my guess. I then plan to hike from Table Mountain to Hurricane Pass.

    Also planning on doing either South Teton or Middle Teton. They both look epic. If I did middle I would go up the SW Couloir route. If you had to choose one what would you go with? Based off the descriptions I’ve read thus far, both appear to be Class III scrambles.

    Appreciate your help!


    • Hi Jason, thanks for the good questions and for purchasing my Teton Crest Trail e-guide (

      Table Mountain’s a nice hike, especially the last stretch to the summit and the views from it across the South Fork of Cascade Canyon to the Grand, Middle, and South Tetons. Classic panorama. There’s a large, flat area up there, as I recall, so it would be easy to camp as long as the weather is good and not terribly windy; it’s quite exposed. Yes, alpenglow will be after sunset, and that would be a glorious spot to watch sunset.

      I backpacked from Table Mountain south to Hurricane Pass, as you’re planning to do. The descent is steep over loose scree coming off the summit, and I recall having to pick the least-steep and safest route while descending, but it went fine. Then it was fairly straightforward cross-country hiking, with good, long sight lines, to Hurricane Pass, where you pick up the trail.

      I’ve climbed the Middle Teton via the SW Couloir and the South Teton via its standard route (from Garnet Canyon’s south fork). The Middle is a bit longer and harder with more loose rock, a hazard when there are climbers above you, and you’ll probably need an ice axe and crampons for snow in there. The South Teton’s standard route requires the same gear, unless you do it in late summer, after the snow melts out along that route (if it does melt out); that’s when I did it in approach shoes without any snow gear, making it a scramble. With snow, both are still fairly straightforward, but definitely mountaineering routes, and the Middle’s SW Couloir is steep enough for a bad fall.

      I think they’re both cool summits, although the Middle probably more so. But the South has killer views, too, and can sometimes be easier to reach.

      Good luck.

  5. Hi,
    Planning on hiking the Teton Crest Trail this August, just wondering what the distance is from the Death Canyon Shelf to the Tram? And if it’s mainly uphill or downhill from the Shelf to the Tram. Was hoping to get a permit for Marion Lake, but it’s all booked up already.
    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Saadia, many backpackers start a trip by taking the Jackson Hole tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, which gets you immediately into the high country. From Rendezvous, according to the ski resort’s website (, it’s about 6.25 miles one-way to Marion Lake, and you’ll drop about 1,500 vertical feet. From Marion Lake to Fox Creek Pass at the southern end of Death Canyon Shelf, it’s a fairly flat 2.3 miles. And Death Canyon Shelf is about three miles long (and fairly flat), so the distance from a campsite there to the tram depends on where you camp, of course. I think it’s feasible for many hikers to hike from the Shelf to the summit of Rendezvous in a day, a distance somewhere between roughly nine and 11 miles; but keep in mind that you’ll end that day with its hardest stretch, the big climb up Rendezvous Peak. Good luck!

  6. Hello Michael,

    I just returned from hiking the Teton Crest Trail. I thought Paintbrush Canyon was the scariest hiking I have ever done. With that said, please let me explain where I failed to read in advance ways to be prepared and the reason I felt compelled to write.

    The week before the hike I had a toe-jamming hike and my big toes were inflamed. So, rather than wearing my hiking boots, I wore zero gravity type trail running shoes to take the pressure off my toes. Okay, they worked great until I got to Paintbrush Canyon where there is packed snow on an 18-inch-wide ledge. In this case, I should have had crampons. Tyler, coming from NC, I wish I had known about the Exum Snow School, as that sounds like a great suggestion to prepare for a hike like this one. We went through 7 passes of snow and I had to gingerly get through all of them. I took for granted that the leader of our group would have warned us about such things and did not read up about this trail at all. I just looked at the awesome pictures!! Be prepared always on any hike and read blogs like Michael’s! Thanks for supporting the community, Michael.

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for sharing your story, that’s a good lesson for everyone to learn because it can be scary. You’re right: Know in advance what kind of conditions you could face on any hike and how to prepare for them. Thanks for the compliment about my blog, too. And keep on hiking!

  7. Hello, I enjoy your blog and have read most of your reports on the TCT, which encouraged me to give it a try this year. We currently have permits for July 2-5th, camping at Death Canyon Shelf, Cascades South Fork and Upper Paintbrush Canyon. My question is regarding the average snow conditions this time of year.

    I understand that the passes (Hurricane and Paintbrush Divide) will still be covered in snow and that we will most likely need ice axes. I’ll also be checking with the rangers for current conditions. Do you know if traction devices (microspikes or crampons) are generally recommended as well? How steep and icy are these passes really? We have one or two people in our group who are not fans of scary terrain and I just want to be sure we are prepared. We’ll head down Cascade Canyon if Paintbrush Divide is too sketchy.

    Surely conditions always change but I was just wondering what your general consensus/experience is on hiking the trail that time of year? Thanks!


    • Hi Shawna, thanks for reading my blog. While conditions vary from year to year, I would expect snow at Hurricane Pass and Paintbrush Divide in early July. Hurricane entails a shorter and less-steep descent; Paintbrush Divide is higher, with a longer stretch of steep terrain, and poses higher risk (on the Paintbrush Canyon side, less so on the North Fork Cascade Canyon side). The snow will typically get very firm or freeze completely overnight (depending on low temps), and soften up in the afternoon, the safer time to attempt the pass (but it can start firming up again by late afternoon or early evening). Ask rangers, but while ice axes would be necessary, I’m not sure whether they will suggest that crampons or microspikes are recommended. Having sturdy boots for kicking steps in snow helps.

      My advice: If conditions warrant using crampons, that may be the signal that it’s too risky for people uncomfortable or unfamiliar with traveling on steep snow, especially Paintbrush Divide. If you have a forecast for sunshine and warm daytime temps, your group may be fine, but ask rangers whether there’s a trough beaten into the snow by hikers, which makes it safer and easier. If you attempt Paintbrush Divide and there’s snow, I would think 2-4 p.m. would be a good time of day to be crossing over it, assuming good weather and warm temps softening up the snow.

      Good luck, be safe, and have fun.

  8. Michael,

    Thank for being such a great resource. I have a group of 5 guys doing Teton Crest in late July. On night 2 we are camping at the South Fork area. Can we hike/scramble up the Grand Teton (or other Tetons) from the South Fork area without climbing gear? Also do you prefer Open Canyon or Granite Canyon? Which is more scenic and/or challenging? Thanks.

    • Hey Mike, thanks for following The Big Outside. You’ll see from the South Fork of Cascade Canyon that sheer cliffs rise above you to the Grand, Middle, and South Tetons. I’ve looked specifically into hiking/scrambling up from that side in the past, and even spoke with climbing rangers, who said it’s technical climbing and the rock is not great. To explore from South Fork, hike to its head, up the trail to Avalanche Divide, then it’s straightforward cross-country hiking down to the Snowdrift Lake area in Avalanche Canyon.

      Open Canyon is steeper and more strenuous, and probably less-traveled than Granite Canyon. Both get scenic once you get above the trees. Hiking via Open Canyon, you cross Mount Hunt Divide and can traverse into upper Granite Canyon. I’ve hiked off-trail to the summit of Mount Hunt, great view, and you’ll see rocks with sea-creature fossils on the way up. Then I hike across open terrain west off Mount Hunt, where you can access a lake basin back there (looks like nice camping). I eventually reached a cliff band where I had to down climb a steep break in the cliffs for about 20 feet, then hiked across some talus and scree to pick up the Teton Crest Trail at Fox Creek Pass. I’d only recommend that cross-country route beyond the summit of Mount Hunt if you’re comfortable with rugged terrain and have good navigational skills.

  9. My fiance and I took the Exum snow school course last summer. It was fantastic. If your kids are at all adventurous, they will really enjoy it. Just make sure that they are dressed warmly and in waterproof gear because you spend a lot of time sliding on the snow. Even my “waterproof” boots were soaked through at the end.

    We learned to self-arrest with our hands and an ice axe when falling in any orientation. We also learned how to use crampons. The whole course definitely made me feel comfortable on snow, but you should still check what the conditions are as Michael suggests. To reach the snow, you ride up the Tram, so you will get a sense of that part of the trip too.

    I have also done the Paintbrush to Cascade canyon backpacking loop which passes through the last two canyons of the Teton Crest Trail. They are incredible! And, Michael’s suggestion to head up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude is a good one. Incredible views of the Grand Teton from Lake Solitude.



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