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
- Distance: 47.5
Location: 43.655787, -110.781106
Death Canyon Trailhead
Location: 43.654949, -110.805069
Bear left @ Y-junction. Hike south toward Phelps Lake.
Location: 43.643017, -110.806196
Turn hard right, heading north-northwest.
Location: 43.642333, -110.81435
Turn right (west).
Location: 43.636967, -110.837051
Location: 43.629234, -110.850677
Mount Hunt Divide (9,710 ft.)
Location: 43.627216, -110.853867
Leave trail and head northwest for uphill climb to Mount Hunt.
Location: 43.630852, -110.861099
Mount Hunt (10,783 ft.)
Location: 43.635235, -110.870499
Head west through scenic meadow; no water.
Location: 43.635052, -110.875748
Tentsite; no water. Continue west.
Location: 43.637432, -110.883316
Crux Notch. Descend to the north.
Location: 43.641216, -110.893166
Location: 43.644066, -110.908287
Camp on tarn near Pass Lake.
Location: 43.654034, -110.900314
Location: 43.656151, -110.898453
Location: 43.657585, -110.898697
Location: 43.672367, -110.88752
Water. Continue heading northeast along Death Canyon Shelf.
Location: 43.684086, -110.874763
Mount Meek Pass
Location: 43.698317, -110.85072
Turn right, heading south. Pass Basin Lakes.
Location: 43.689701, -110.830429
Turn right (south).
Location: 43.679558, -110.818598
Turn left and leave trail for climb to Static Peak.
Location: 43.682606, -110.816055
Static Peak (11,303 ft.)
Location: 43.664239, -110.831237
Turn left, heading southeast.