Grand Teton National Park: South Teton via Garnet Canyon

Explore a majestic climbers' haven in the heart of the Tetons.
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Explore a majestic climbers' haven in the heart of the Tetons.

This 14.4-mile out-and-back probes the central Tetons, visiting the basecamp area for climbers attempting the Grand and other peaks. Your goal: Garnet Canyon, whose cliffs, winding glacial stream, and huge erratics are quintessential park features.

Your other goal: South Teton's 12,514-foot summit—fifth-highest in the range—which offers one of the park's best views attainable without a rope. This outing can be done in a big day—you'll ascend 5,800 feet—but spending a night in Garnet Canyon is worth the effort of hauling camping gear.

From Lupine Meadows trailhead, follow the Garnet Canyon Trail to the Meadows camping area. Hike through the campsites on a faint path, then climb toward the Middle Teton's prominent black dike; at the cliffs, traverse left. Follow climber trails up Garnet Canyon's south fork. Continue to the saddle between the Middle and South Tetons.

There, turn south for South Teton's Northwest Couloir, ascending it to the summit ridge. Snow can linger in the couloir into August, requiring an ice axe, but the route is generally dry by late summer. Camp either in the Meadows or Garnet's south fork zone. There's also a pair of high, secluded tent sites in the talus just before the Middle-South Teton saddle.

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

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 23.2

Waypoints

WPT001

Location: 43.734592, -110.741587

Hike south from Lupine Meadows parking area.

WPT002

Location: 43.726151, -110.756561

Keep left @ Y-junction. Switchbacks ahead.

WPT003

Location: 43.726181, -110.765099

Turn hard left, heading south toward Garnet Canyon.

WPT004

Location: 43.725842, -110.790451

The Meadows

WPT005

Location: 43.729279, -110.804581

Head south.

WPT006

Location: 43.7244, -110.807137

Tentsites

WPT007

Location: 43.724266, -110.818916

Great campsite on saddle.

WPT008

Location: 43.718706, -110.81847

South Teton (12,514 ft.)