Tag Archives: Death Canyon
By Michael Lanza
What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is mandatory. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All 10 are in national parks or wilderness areas.
Some things, though, don’t require explanation; the validation comes in just doing it. So I give you here my admittedly personal and subjective list of the 10 best backpacking trips I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of hauling a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
How are you? I have a quick question. Jerry and I always do a long day hike for our anniversary. This year is our 24th, so we’re looking for a 24- to 26-mile epic dayhike and we want to do the Teton Crest Trail. But we can’t swing the entire 40-miler this year. We heard that there’s a 25-mile route that is epic in itself, from Death Canyon to Static Peak Divide to Cascade Canyon.
Where do we start and end? I read your great blog post on the entire hike, but curious about the 25-mile section.
Lander, WY Continue reading →
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 →