Grand Teton National Park: Teton Crest Trail

Trace the crest of the Tetons on this classic 38.1-mile point-to-point in Grand Teton National Park.
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Trace the crest of the Tetons on this classic 38.1-mile point-to-point in Grand Teton National Park.

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

TO TRAILHEAD: Shuttle car: From Jackson, go north 12 miles; turn left on Teton Park Rd. In 8.5 miles, turn left on Jenny Lake Rd. In 2.5 miles, turn left on String Lake Rd. Park in .3 mile.

To trailhead: Return to Jackson and turn west on US 191 S/W Broadway. In 1.4 miles, turn right onto WY 22 W/Teton Pass Hwy. In 9.5 miles, take a sharp right onto Phillips Canyon Tr. Go .4 miles to the trailhead.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 61.3

Waypoints

TCT001

Location: 43.50925, -110.923526

Hike north from the trailhead.

TCT002

Location: 43.516222, -110.917754

Stay right at the fork, heading north.

TCT003

Location: 43.539309, -110.917068

Turn left on Phillips Canyon Trail.

TCT004

Location: 43.548222, -110.931981

At Phillips Pass, turn right and trace the crest of the ridge east, then north.

TCT005

Location: 43.563539, -110.924363

Continue north on the Teton Crest Trail.

TCT006

Location: 43.589965, -110.923204

Turn right, and climb switchbacks to a 9,085-foot saddle.

TCT007

Location: 43.592825, -110.921359

Descend to Middle Fork Granite Creek.

TCT008

Location: 43.60103, -110.921316

Continue straight at the 3-way.

TCT009

Location: 43.613457, -110.927787

Continue straight at the 3-way junction.

TCT010

Location: 43.618179, -110.929804

Continue straight at the 3-way junction, and climb out of the tiered basin.

TCT011

Location: 43.622734, -110.927603

Pass turquoise Marion Lake (and potential campsites) on a grassy bench. Ahead, watch for elk roaming through the next lonely, five-mile stretch.

TCT012

Location: 43.628651, -110.927196

Cross a small saddle at mile 15.2, and continue north for less than two miles to Fox Creek Pass.

TCT013

Location: 43.646091, -110.910094

Cross Fox Creek Pass, a meadow with sweeping northeast views of the Tetonsâ??s vaulted skyline (in July, lupine and columbine splash the scene with blue, purple, and yellow). From here, traverse north-northeast.

TCT014

Location: 43.650004, -110.905523

Death Canyon Shelf: Traverse this three-mile-long, 900-foot-wide ledge. A 500-foot-tall cliff band rises to the west and a 200-foot ledge drops into Death Canyon to the east. There are year-round springs and several campsites, all with views of the Grand Teton and other peaks. Tip: Find sites by a creek with some low trees for wind protection.

TCT015

Location: 43.654033, -110.900317

Campsite: One of the park's most spectacular (and remote) backcountry camps.

TCT016

Location: 43.65615, -110.89845

Potential campsite

TCT017

Location: 43.657583, -110.8987

Reliable spring

TCT018

Location: 43.684074, -110.874753

Make the gentle, 200-foot climb over 9,726-foot Mt. Meek Pass (you may not even notice it), then descend into Alaska Basin.

TCT019

Location: 43.691925, -110.868187

Descend the Sheep Steps switchbacks.

TCT020

Location: 43.694891, -110.853601

Pass popular campsites at Basin Lakes in Alaska Basin, speckled with granite and a cluster of lakes.

TCT021

Location: 43.706042, -110.855699

Continue straight, heading north.

TCT022

Location: 43.709793, -110.857174

Continue north past Sunset Lake (possible tentsites on flat slabs) and cross a high plateau.

TCT023

Location: 43.728253, -110.850719

Linger at 10,372-foot Hurricane Pass for top-of-the-world views of the Grand, Middle, and South Tetons, which rise just two miles to the east. Descend past Schoolroom Glacier.

TCT024

Location: 43.731147, -110.838921

Campsites: Turn right at the 3-way junction, heading south, to grab one of the uppermost sites in South Fork Cascade.

TCT025

Location: 43.73035, -110.838817

Campsites in the upper reaches of South Fork Cascade Canyon.

TCT026

Location: 43.733669, -110.83509

Descend switchbacks into South Fork Cascade Canyon.

TCT027

Location: 43.764462, -110.816903

Turn left into North Fork Cascade Canyon. Roughly a mile later, claim one of the first established camps for neck-cramping views of the Grandâ??5,500 feet overhead.

TCT028

Location: 43.777044, -110.825443

Campsite. Get an early start the next day to beat the afternoon heat on the relentless, 2,000-plus-foot climb to Paintbrush Divide.

TCT029

Location: 43.785696, -110.83103

Potential campsite near cascades and pools

TCT030

Location: 43.791977, -110.841494

Pass Lake Solitude, set in a stone cirque.

TCT031

Location: 43.793092, -110.818105

Crest Paintbrush Divide. (Got an extra night? Camp in the upper reaches of the canyon.) Next, descend 8.3 miles past cliffsâ??striped in browns, grays, and muted redsâ??to your shuttle car.

TCT032

Location: 43.789406, -110.801325

Keep right at the 3-way.

TCT033

Location: 43.788631, -110.790768

Keep right at the junction.

TCT034

Location: 43.796453, -110.738626

Swing left.

TCT035

Location: 43.797336, -110.729098

Cross String Lake, then turn right, heading south.

TCT036

Location: 43.792457, -110.725644

Continue straight.

TCT037

Location: 43.78867, -110.730638

The route ends at the trailhead east of String Lake. Pick up your shuttle car to return to the Death Canyon trailhead.