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Backpacker Magazine – January 2014

Alpine Lakes

Kick back at one of these campsites—where nothing but an idyllic, high-country pool separates you from the Rockies skyline.

by: Maren Kasselik

Photo by Glenn Randall
Photo by BP0114MTW_Randall_IceLakeBasin_bjk445x260.jpg
Photo by Glenn Randall

Jedediah Smith Wilderness, ID/WY
Mirror Lake

Big wildlife. Big views. Big trip. This 23-mile, two-night shuttle hike proves bigger is better. From the South Teton trailhead in Idaho, hike over 9,720-foot Mt. Meek Pass via the lung-busting Devils Stairs, then into the Alaska Basin via the Sheep Steps (see the far-off, toothy Cathedrals) on the Alaska Basin Trail. Pitch your tent on the marble-like granite—unlike elsewhere in the Tetons—off the southern shore of Mirror Lake (mile 8) with vistas to Buck Mountain, Static Peak, Mt. Meek, and the Wedge, which tower 2,000 feet above. Day two, continue north on the Teton Crest Trail to 10,400-foot Hurricane Pass, where you’ll score the best view of the Tetons and Schoolroom Glacier. “Look for pink, algae-tinted watermelon snow on the pass,” says Chuck Wolfe, “but don’t taste it!” Continue into Grand Teton National Park, cruising to Holly Lake (mile 18) to camp below orange gneiss walls. From here, hike 5 miles out of Paintbrush Canyon (look for moose and black bears) to the String Lake trailhead.


Trailhead 43.755624, -110.915351; 44 miles north of Jackson off Teton Canyon Rd. INFO (208) 354-2312; Website

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