|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
This 29.5-mile loop, mostly above treeline with glorious Teton vistas, features lonely trails, a cross-country traverse amid secluded alpine-lake basins and meadows, high summits, and big canyons. It's also the most difficult route described here, with miles of steep, off-trail hiking, tricky routefinding, and a technical descent of a 25-foot cliff. A strong party can do it as a two-day trip, but taking three to four days allows a moderate pace and lets you enjoy some of the park's best backcountry campsites (the plums are Indian Lake, Death Canyon Shelf, and Alaska Basin).
Hike the trail up Open Canyon to just west of Mt. Hunt Divide; then head off-trail up Hunt's east ridge to its summit. Continue west (look for goat trails) to a 10,500-foot saddle north of Indian Lake, where you'll hit the cliff; experienced climbers might downclimb it unroped, but a 70-foot static line and harnesses are recommended for a rappel. (The rock is poor; be careful setting up an anchor.) Continue west to Fox Creek Pass, then follow the Teton Crest Trail north across the shelf to Alaska Basin. Loop back via Static Peak Divide—drop your pack for the quarter-mile, 500-foot hike up Static Peak—and lower Death Canyon Trail.
INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/things2know.htm.
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/back.htm
CONTACT Grand Teton National Park, (307) 739-3300; nps.gov/grte/
-Mapped by Michael Lanza