Tag Archives: Death Canyon Shelf

January 3, 2018 Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

5 Reasons You Must Backpack the Teton Crest Trail

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By Michael Lanza

On the second night of my first backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park, I awoke to the sound of heavy clomping outside my tent. We were camped on Death Canyon Shelf, where the Teton Crest Trail traverses a broad, boulder- and wildflower-strewn bench at 9,500 feet, flanked by towering cliffs and the deep trench of Death Canyon. At the time, it was probably the most spectacular place I’d ever pitched a tent, and it’s still one of my most scenic backcountry campsites ever.

I unzipped my tent door to investigate—and saw a huge bull elk standing just outside my nylon walls. As I’ve come to learn over almost 20 trips to the Tetons since that first one a quarter-century ago, that elk symbolized just one of several compelling reasons why every backpacker should move the Teton Crest Trail to the top of their to-do list. And the date to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up. Continue reading →

August 20, 2017 Campsite on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: How Do We Make a Big Backpacking Trip (on the Teton Crest Trail) As Enjoyable As Possible?

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Michael,

We are hiking the Teton Crest Trail for the first time this summer. You made mention in your story about the TCT that the first day was a hard one and that the toughest part of the trip was the Paintbrush Divide. What made the first day the hardest and why is Paintbrush the toughest? We are trying to make sure we plan this trip “correctly.” Three years ago, we flew to Colorado and hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park and had a terrible experience. My two sons and I thought we knew what we were doing. Going from hiking in the Great Smokies to hiking in the Rockies is like day and night. We flew in one afternoon and started hiking the very next morning with full, heavy packs. The weather was hot and we had no time to acclimate. Our hike began at about 5,500 feet and was uphill most of the way, and we camped at 10,200 feet. The night was miserable—we could not sleep at all. We learned valuable lessons that trip. I am 60 and my sons are both around 30, and it was the worse trip because of our lack of knowledge and preparation. Continue reading →

July 24, 2017 Hiking to Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: 8 Great Big Dayhikes in the Tetons

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Hi Michael,

I love your blog, very inspiring. I am taking a family trip out to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with my family this summer (about 10 days in the parks). I understand it is the most crowded time of year, but as a teacher and coach and with a wife in education administration, our time off is around the summer busy times. I have two girls age 8 and 10 and we will not be going as BIG as you normally do. We will be staying in various hotels/cabins in and near the parks, but we do intend on trying to get in many dayhikes and see both the popular spots and some off-the-beaten-path spots.

While in Grand Teton, I am hoping to get one day to do a solo, big dayhike. I am looking for something in the 8- to 12-hour range. I have done the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains twice, so something similar or maybe a bit less than that. Any suggestions? While in Grand Teton, we will be staying at Colter Bay. Continue reading →

December 29, 2016 A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail, Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

After at least 17 trips into the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, I still can’t get enough of these sharply serrated peaks and deep, cliff-flanked canyons, the alpine lakes and icy creeks, campsites with jaw-dropping views, or the explosion of wildflowers in summer. I count the Teton Crest Trail among my top 10 favorite backpacking trips, and two camping areas on it among my list of top 25 favorite backcountry campsites of all time (although, honestly, other spots where I’ve pitched a tent in this park would make almost anyone’s list). But I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves.

And here’s a heads up: If you want to backpack the Teton Crest Trail in 2017, the time to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up in days. Read on for details. Continue reading →

September 11, 2016

Video: Backpacking in Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

After almost 20 visits to Grand Teton National Park to backpack, dayhike, rock climb, backcountry ski, and paddle a canoe, the sight of that jagged skyline still gives me chills. One of America’s premier multi-day hikes, the Teton Crest Trail is, step for step, one of the greatest mountain walks in America, with incomparable views, scenic campsites, wildflowers, mountain lakes and creeks, and a chance of seeing moose, elk, marmots, pikas, mule deer, and black bears.

And the best time of year to head out backpacking in the Tetons is right now. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker