Visitors who take the time to hike mountain trails discover the magnitude and hidden qualities of the peaks and canyons. The Teton Crest Trail runs from the south boundary of the park to Paintbrush Canyon. If offers extensive views of the range and distant lands. Visitors unaccustomed to high elevations may descend to the Crest Trail from the top of the tram at Teton Village. Rewarding trails in Granite, Death and Cascade Canyons connect the Crest Trail to the Valley Trail.
Self-guiding trails provide insight into the story behind the scenery. Booklets available at each trailhead describe prominent features bordering the two mile Colter Bay Nature Trail and the three mile Taggart Lake Trail and discuss history along the 1.2 mile Menor's Ferry and the .5 mile Cunningham Cabin Trail. Trailhead locations are shown of the park map. The Cascade Canyon trail begins at the south end of Jenny Lake, and the booklet explains natural features up to Lake Solitude, nine miles from the trailhead.
Trails traverse the valley and mountains for more than 200 miles. They provide access to backcountry lakes, streams, canyons and camping zones. Trail difficulty levels range from easy to strenuous, and lengths vary from hikes of a few minutes to several days.
Waterproof matches in airtight containers, metal matches, fire starter and �tinder' are suggested. Extra food and clothing, a signal mirror, smoke flare, durable space blankets, plastic bags, and a good first aid kit are extremely valuable if you plan on being out for several days. Cord can be used to make a shelter and hang food in trees. Most hikers carry water purification filters or chemicals. Some even carry pocket strobe lights, and a few carry personal locator beacons. Plan to be self sufficient in any emergency. The land is vast and remote, and you cannot count on early help if you have difficulties.
Equipment - Try and keep your gear lightweight yet durable. Equipment should withstand rigorous use in a rough, mountainous countryside. Help could be many hours away should something go wrong with your gear.
Food and Supplies - Bring your food, equipment and other supplies with you. Avoid food such as bacon or smoked fish, soaps, and cosmetics with strong odors as they attract bears. Bottles and cans are hard to dispose of. If you take them in, you are expected to carry them out. Without some sort of bear proof storage, you should be prepared to hang your food as high as possible.
Footwear - Boots should be a sturdy hiking or mountaineering type that provides good ankle support. Some hikers prefer boots with the rubber shoe and leather upper, like the Maine Hunting Shoe. You can count on your feet getting wet regardless of your boot type, so durability and support should be a prime concern. Many pair of socks are essential. Tennis shoes are good for crossing rivers.
Insects - Insect repellent is highly recommended.
Map - The most common topographic maps are available from the Grand Teton Natural History Association, a non-profit organization.
Rain gear and clothing - Durable rain gear that covers both the upper and lower torso is a must for hikes of any length. The rain gear should keep out water in a steady down pour. Since you will probably get wet in any significant rain storm, wool or synthetic clothing that insulates when wet is highly recommended for wear under rain gear. Hypothermia is always a possibility with wet conditions and cool temperatures.
Stove - A gasoline or propane stove is essential.
Tents and sleeping bags - You should have a tent with a waterproof floor, rain-fly, and a no-see-um netting, and this tent should be designed to withstand strong winds. Bring plenty of extra stakes and strong cord to keep the tent secure. Synthetics like �Polarguard' or �Fiberfill' are better than down because synthetics will insulate when wet while down will not. A sleeping pad will provide insulation as well as comfort.
|Main Area||Area||Miles/Hours||Via Shuttle Boat
|Cascade Canyon||Forks of Cascade Canyon||13.0 / 7.0||9.0/5.0||Moderate - Strenuous. Popular trail leads into Cascade Canyon trail with views of the Grand Teton, Mt. Owen and Teewinot|
|Hidden Falls||5.0 / 3.0||1.0 / 1.5||Moderate. Popular trail follows Jenny Lake's south shore, then climbs to view of 200 foot cascade|
|Inspiration Point||5.8 / 4.0||2.2 / 2.5||Moderate - Strenuous. Follow trail to Hidden Falls, then continue up to Inspiration Point overlooking Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole|
|Jenny Lake Loop||6.6 / 4.0||N/A||Easy. Mostly level trail skirts shoreline, with views of the Teton Range from the east shore|
|Lake Solitude||18.4 / 10.0||14.4 / 8.0||Strenuous. Follow popular Cascade Canyon trail. North Fork leads to Lake Solitude and views of Grand Teton and Mt. Owen|
|South Fork of Cascade Canyon||23.2 / 12.0||19.2 / 11.0||Strenuous. Follow popular Cascade Canyon trail. South Fork leads to Hurricane Pass and close views of Schoolroom Glacier|
All distances are roundtrip.
|Chapel of the Transfiguration||Menor's Ferry||0.5 / 0.5||Easy. See turn-of-the-century buildings located on the scenic Snake River. Self guiding trail, maps available at the trailhead|
|Colter Bay||Hermitage Point||8.8 / 4.0||Easy. Forests, meadows, ponds and streams along the trail provide wildlife habitat. Terrain is gently rolling|
|Cunningham Cabin||Cunningham Cabin||0.75 / 1.0||Easy. Follow short trail to see early Jackson Hole homestead. Self-guiding trail, leaflets available at the trailhead|
|Death Canyon||Death Canyon-Static Peak
|7.6 / 6.0||Strenuous. Trail climbs up and then down Phelps Lake, followed by a climb into Death Canyon|
|Phelps Lake Overlook||1.8 / 2.0||Moderate. Trail climbs glacial moraine to overlook Phelps Lake|
|Phelps Lake||4.0 / 4.0||Strenuous. Trail first climbs to overlook, then descends to Phelps Lake. Return involves steep hike up to overlook|
|Static Peak Divide||15.6 / 10.0||Very Strenuous. Numerous switchbacks climb through whitebark pine forest to impressive views of the Teton Range and Jackson Hole|
|Flagg Ranch||Flagg Canyon||5.0 / 4.0||Easy. Access is from the east side of Polecat Creek Loop Trail. Spectacular views of the Snake River as it flows through a rugged canyon of volcanic rock|
|Polecat Creek Loop Trail||2.3 / 2.0||Easy. West side of level loop follows ridge above Polecat Creek marsh, habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Rest of trail traverses mature conifer forests|
|Granite Canyon||Marion Lake||20.8 / 12.0||Strenuous. Follows Granite Creek to subalpine meadows around Marion Lake|
|Jackson Lake Lodge||Lunchtree Hill||0.5 / 0.5||Easy. Short trail with interpretive signs leads to the top of hill overlooking Willow Flats and Teton Range|
|Leigh Lake||Bearpaw Lake||7.4 / 4.0||Easy. Trail follows forested shore of Leigh Lake, providing close views of Mount Moran|
|Leigh Lake||2.0 / 1.0||Easy. A 40 feet elevation change|
|Lupine Meadows||Amphitheater Lake||9.6 / 8.0||Strenuous. Climb up to glacial lakes surrounded by subalpine meadows. Horses not allowed|
|Garnet Canyon||8.2 / 7.0||Strenuous. Trail leads to the mouth of the Garnet Canyon. Horses not allowed|
|String Lake||Paintbrush Canyon
|19.2 / 14.0||Very Strenuous. Hike up to Paintbrush Canyon, over Paintbrush Divide and down Cascade Canyon|
|12.4 / 8.0||Strenuous. Follows Paintbrush Canyon trail through seasonally abundant wildflowers|
|String Lake||3.3 / 3.0||Easy. Trail circles String Lake, traversing the lakeshore below Rockchuck and Mt. St. John|
|Taggart Lake||Bradley Lake||4.0 / 3.0||Moderate. Trail climbs up through area burned in 1985 then down glacial moraine to Bradley Lake|
|Taggart Lake||3.2 / 2.0||Moderate. Trail traverses area burned in 1985 to reach Taggart Lake|
|4.0 / 3.0||Moderate. Trail traverses area burned in 1985 and climbs glacial moraines surrounding Taggart Lake|
|Teton Canyon||Targhee National Forest||11.0 / 7.0||Strenuous. Steep trail follows Teton Creek and ends 0.5 miles below summit. Ascend summit by scrambling up talus slope|
|Top of the Tram**||Granite Canyon||12.4 / 7.0||Moderate. Start at the top and hike down from alpine meadows to sagebrush, ending at Teton Village|
|Top of the Tram**||Marion Lake||11.8 / 7.0||Moderately Strenuous. Hike through alpine and subalpine terrain to Marion Lake and return to the Tram|
|Two Ocean Lake||Emma Matilda Lake||9.1 / 5.0||Moderate. Trail follows densely forested southern shore of Emma Matilda Lake and open forests of northern shore providing views of the Teton Range|
|Two Ocean Lake &
Emma Matilda Lakes
|12.9 / 7.0||Moderate. Trail follows north shore of Two Ocean Lake, climbs to Grand View Point for a panoramic view, then follows south shore of Emma Matilda Lake|
|Two Ocean Lake||6.4 / 3.0||Moderate. Trail traverses conifer forests along the south shore and aspen groves and meadows along the north shore of Two Ocean Lake|
** A fee is charged for the tram
Most of Jackson Hole, a 40-mile long, 15-mile wide valley surrounded by mountains, lies within the Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. Within the park and parkway, approximately 100 miles of paved road await the bicyclist. Numerous scenic turnouts provide spectacular views of the impressive Teton Range. To enter or leave the valley, bicyclists may need to cross one or more mountain passes. Some roads in the park predate today's bicycling popularity. Most roads have paved marked shoulders, providing limited space for safe bicycling. Some roads have only a very narrow shoulder, or lack one altogether. Use extreme caution.
Bicycle riders in the park and parkway must obey the same rules and regulations that apply to motor vehicle.
Bicycles are allowed only on paved and unpaved roads, unless otherwise posted.
Bicycles are not allowed on any or parkway trails or in any backcountry areas.
Operating a bicycle abreast of another bicycle on paved roads within the park and parkway is prohibited.
During low visibility and between sunset and sunrise, bicyclists must display a white light from the front and a red light or reflector from the rear.
Helmets and brightly colored clothing are advertised because of heavy motorized traffic in the park and parkway.
Motor vehicle traffic is heaviest during July and August, with daily peaks from mid-morning to late afternoon. Riders should use extreme caution during these times.
Major road construction and repair projects occur in the park and parkway roads every summer and fall. Be prepared for delays, rough roads, and possible rerouting.
The Moose-Wilson Road is narrow, winding and has no shoulders; use caution.
Snow generally covers roads from early November through mid-April, limiting bicycling to late spring, summer, and early fall.
|Spring||Apr - Jun||Cool and cloudy days with abundant rain showers and occasional snow|
|Summer||Jul - Aug||Excellent weather for bicycling; warm and occasionally hot with temperatures near 80 degrees. Afternoon thunder showers form quickly and frequently|
|Fall||Sep - Oct||Days are often clear and cool; good for bicycling. Rain and early snowstorms frequently occur|
|Antelope Flats||Varies||Kelly Area||Bicycle on secondary roads through sagebrush flats with spectacular views of the Teton Range|
|Grassy Lake Road||52.0||West of Flagg Ranch and
continues to Ashton, ID
|Old American Indian route through the transition between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks|
|River Road||15.0||Between Signal Mountain
and Cottonwood Creek
|Gravel road that parallels the Snake River. Watch for wildlife. Maintain a safe distance (300 feet min) from large animals, such as bison, that frequent this area|
|Teton Park Road||3.0||Jenny Lake Scenic Drive||Recent road construction from Moose to North Jenny Lake Junction included widening the road shoulders. The scenic drive provides spectacular views of the tallest Teton peaks|
|Two-Ocean Road||3.0||Pacific Creek Road
to Two-Ocean Road
|Dirt road that covers rolling terrain. Short but scenic ride|
The mountains in Grand Teton National Park offer some of the most accessible and diverse climbing in the country. A wide array of rock, snow and ice, mixed routes are available that range from easy outings to very difficult undertakings. Nearly all of the peaks have been climbed in one day. The higher and more remote routes and the longer and more difficult routes are usually climbed from a high camp or with a bivouac, however, and can take two or more days. There are many inherent risks and hazards associated with climbing and mountain travel (hiking, skiing etc.) Risks include, but are not limited to: lightning, rockfall, avalanches, crevasses, and extreme weather conditions (even during the summer months). Falls on steep snow and the subsequent inability to use an ice axe to preform a self-arrest have been the number one cause of accidents and deaths over the years. Any person pursuing these activities assumes all risks of and responsibility for any injury, including death, that may result. Competent technique, experience, safety equipment, physical fitness and good judgment are essential to preventing or minimize the chances of an accident occurring.
Permits are not required for mountaineering, but climbers on an overnight must have a backcountry permit to camp or bivouac. Current and detailed information is available at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station; in the summer call 307-739-3343, in the winter call 307-739-3309.
Weather conditions are usually best from mid-July through August, although afternoon thundershowers are common during these months. At least one period of extended inclement weather with snowfall in the high country usually occurs in late August. In the fall, major storms can occur any time after mid-August, producing snow and ice on most routes. Winter weather in the Teton Range can be severe with heavy snowfall, high winds, and extremely low temperatures. During the period of heavy snow accumulation from December through May, avalanche danger is frequently high. Winter mountaineering trips should be undertaken only by well-equipped, self-sufficient parties with considerable experience. May and June are characterized by prolonged periods of rain, some snow, and sub-freezing temperatures. During these months, rockfall and wet-snow avalanche activity is a common occurrence.
The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is the center for climbing information from June through mid-September. Climbing rangers on duty provide current information on the nature and conditions of climbing routes, equipment and experience considerations, and time factors. Guidebooks, maps, and photographs of various peaks and routes are available to assist in planning climbs.
Climbing mountains is a technical sport requiring proper knowledge, experience, physical condition and equipment. Overnight trips require a backcountry permit. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is the center for climbing information from June through mid-September. Solo climbing is not advised.
Registration is not required for climbing, mountaineering or day hiking. A free permit is required for all overnight use. The park does not see that you get out of the backcountry safely. Make a friend or relative aware of where you are going and your itinerary. It is your responsibility to have someone report your absence if you are overdue. If you do not have a friend or relative in the area with whom you can leave this information, a voluntary registration system is available at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station.
Conventional mountaineering equipment is satisfactory for climbing in the Grand Teton Range during the summer. An ice axe and expertise in its usage is perhaps the single most important technique that one can posses for early season climbs. Climbing helmets are strongly recommended for technical climbs and for routes where rockfall could occur. Climbing equipment and food suitable for backpacking may be purchased in the area, and a limited selection of equipment may be rented.
The Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch, a concession operated by the American Alpine Club, provided low-cost accommodations for registered climbers. For information contact the manager, Climbers' Ranch, Moose, WY 83012. Park campgrounds maybe used as base camps, although each campground has a limit-of-stay. Off-trail campsites or bivouac sites are not reservable, but are assigned on a first-come first-served basis.
See the Campingand Lodging Pages for more information.
In the event of an accident or other problems, depend first and foremost on yourself, other party members, and your own efforts. Enlist the aid of other climbers in the area. Practice self- sufficiency to the greatest extent possible; do not depend on solely on the park rescue team. In the event of a known injury, the rescue team will make reasonable effort to help you. Keep in mind, however, that the decision, if, when or how to initiate a search or rescue is left to the discretion of Grand Teton National Park. Many factors such as weather, darkness, and hazards to the rescue team may delay or indefinitely postpone any rescue effort by the park. The park's search and rescue team is fully staffed only during the summer months. If self-rescue is impossible, notify the park as soon as possible.
What To Do When An Accident Occurs
Do not leave the victim alone unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary to leave an injured person alone, provide the first aid, secure the injured person to prevent further injury, leave him/her as much food, water and warm clothes as possible and then go for help.
Relay the following information:
Name, age and weight of victim(s), exact location of the accident, nature of the injuries, time of the accident, equipment at the accident scene, number of people remaining at the accident scene and their plan of action, if any.
All climbers should be aware that search and rescue operations are funded from the park operating accounts and large expenditures may result in elimination of other services. Donations to support the rescue team are a welcome source of new equipment. Send tax deductible contributions to: Mountain Rescue Fund, Grand Teton National Park, PO Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012.
The Six Principles of Leave No Trace
1. Plan ahead and prepare
Carefully designing your trip to match your expectations and outdoor skill level is the first step in being prepared. Adequate trip planning and preparation helps to accomplish trip goals safely, while minimizing impacts on the environment and on other users.
Know the area and what to expect, including regulations and special concerns of the area.
Travel in small groups, during seasons or days of a week when use levels are low.
Bears may be present; balance safety concerns in bear country with ecological and social impact concerns.
Select appropriate equipment to help you Leave No Trace.
Repackage food into reusable containers, creating less trash to pack out.
2. Camp and Travel on durable surfaces
Whenever you travel and camp, confine your use to surfaces that are resistant to impact.
In popular areas, concentrate use. In remote areas, spread use.
Hike on existing trails to minimize disturbance to wildlife, soil and vegetation.
Choose an established campsite, one with a slight slope so rain water can drain.
Store food so that it is unavailable and uninviting to bears and small animals.
Before departing, make sure your camp is as clean or cleaner than when you arrived.
3. Pack it in, Pack it out
Trash and garbage have no place in the backcountry. Consider the words "Leave No Trace" a challenge to take out everything that you brought into the backcountry. Pack out all of your liter.
Repackage food into reusable containers and remove any excess packaging.
Dispose of trash and garbage properly.
Store food and odorous items in bear resistant food containers or hang items 10 feet above the ground.
4. Properly dispose of what you can't pack out.
As visitors to the backcountry, we create certain kinds of waste which cannot be packed out. These include human waste, waste water from cooking and washing.
Dispose of human waste responsibility, utilize pit toilets or dig a cat hole 200 feet from the water.
Use toilet paper sparingly, pack it out in doubled plastic bags to confine odor.
Minimize soap and food residues in waste water.
Avoid contaminating water sources when washing, maintain 200 feet from a water source
5. Leave what you find
The Wilderness Act states that wilderness "... is recognized as an area... where man himself is a visitor who does not remain,...with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable..."
People come to the wildlands to enjoy them in their natural state. Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts antlers, and other objects as you find them.
Minimize site alteration when camping, do not build structures.
Avoid damaging live trees and plants.
Avoid disturbing wildlife.
Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts for others to enjoy.
It is illegal to remove any cultural objects from any National Park. Cultural artifacts are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. All these "pieces of the past" contribute to our understanding of human and natural history, including the effects of disease, climate changes, and shifting animal populations on the land and her people. Removing these artifacts takes them out of context and removes a chapter from an important story. If you discover an artifact, enjoy it where it is. Leave it as you found it.
6. Minimize use and impact from fires
The use of campfires in the backcountry, once a necessity, is now steeped in history and tradition.
Stoves are now essential equipment for minimum-impact camping trips because they are fast and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection.
Use dead and down wood only.
In high use areas, build campfires in existing fire rings to concentrate impacts.
These principles and practices depend more on attitude and awareness than on rules and regulations; they must be based on a respect for and appreciation of wild places and their inhabitants.
Be Bear Aware
Avoid surprising animals at close range. Whistle, talk, sing, or otherwise make noise when hiking in areas where visibility is limited or bear sign present. Take no pets; they are prohibited in the backcountry. A dog's valor may turn into retreat bringing an infuriated bear to you.
Be alert to sign (droppings, diggings, fresh tracks, etc.), sounds, or other indications of bears. Be particularly wary when hiking wildlife trails, salmon streams, or other areas where bears concentrate.
Food and beverages should never be left unattended. Foodstuffs with strong odors such as fish, cheese, sausage, and fresh meats should be stored in a food cache, a bear resistant container, or suspended 10 feet above ground. Carry all refuse and garbage out! Buried refuse will attract bears.
Keep packs and other personal gear on your person. It is easy to become separated from belongings left lying on the ground when a bear unexpectedly approaches. Bears will investigate, often destructively.
Do not approach bears
The minimum safe distance from any bear is 50 yards; from a sow with young it is 100 yards. These are MINIMUM distances, there are many times that greater distances are required!
Regardless of precautions taken, you may come across a bear. Usually they will run away. A bear standing on hind legs may only be trying to sense you better, not preparing to attack. Even a charge is often a bluff, ending abruptly short of physical contact.
If you see a bear at a distance, turn around or make a wide detour. Keep upwind if possible so the bear will get your scent and know you're there. Talk in an assured tone to communicate your presence. Treat animals as if cubs are nearby. Assume the bear will be defensive. Do not approach closer to scare a bear away as you may be considered a threat.
Do not run. Running often elicits attacks from otherwise non-aggressive bears and they can travel over 35 miles per hour.
Avoid actions that interfere with bear movement or foraging activities.
Be satisfied with a distant photograph, or use a telephoto lens. Many fatalities and injuries have been related to photography.
Do not corner an animal. Allow them plenty of space and an escape route.
Bears are typically solitary animals. Much of their communication at feeding aggregations serves to maintain spacing and avoid conflict. Bears appear to have only a limited repertoire for this purpose. These behavior patterns are not highly ritualized, as in some species; therefore, their meaning is largely dependent on the context of the situation. Descriptions of some behavior and a general interpretation of meaning follow to help you understand what a bear may be trying to tell you. Remember, each bear is an individual and each encounter is unique.
Standing on hind legs - A bear standing bipedally is typically not expressing aggression. Bears generally stand on their hind legs to gain more information, both olfactory and visual.
Stationary lateral body orientation - A bear may stand broadside to assert itself in some instances. In encounters with human, it has usually been interpreted as a demonstration of size.
Stationary frontal orientation - If a bear is standing and facing you, it is certainly not being submissive. This is an aggressive position and may signal a charge. It is likely waiting for you to withdraw.
Huffing - When a bear is tense, it may forcibly exhale a series of several sharp, rasping huffs. A mother may also huff in order to gain the attention of her young.
Woof - A startled bear may emit a single sharp exhale that lakes the harsh quality of a huff. If her cubs woof, a mother will immediately become alert to the situation.
Jaw-Popping - Females with young often emit a throaty popping sound, apparently to beckon their cubs when danger is sensed. A mother vocalizing in this manner should be considered nervous and extremely stressed. Bears other than sows also jaw-pop.
Growl, snarl, roar - Clear indication of intolerance.
Yawning - Indicates tension. This behavior may results from the close proximity of another bear or human presence.
Excessive Salivation - A clear sign of tension, salivation may appear as white foam around the bear's mouth.
Charge - The vast majority of charges are ones in which the bear stops before making contact. The intensity of the charge or associated vocalizations may vary, but it is distinct in that it is an aggressive or defensive act clearly directed at another bear or human. Bears may charge immediately, as a sow fearing for her cubs, or may emit stressed or erratic behavior before charging.
There is no guaranteed lifesaving method of reacting to an aggressive bear. Some behavior patterns have proven more successful in close encounters than others. Take a calm assured posture. A firm voice and gradual departure are better than a retreat in panic. Include the nature of your surroundings in your reaction.
As a last resort, lie face down, protect your neck with your hands and arms, and don't move. This requires considerable courage, but resistance would be futile. Numerous incidents exist where a bear has sniffed and departed without serious injury.
Address, Email & Phone Guide
Activity and Calendar
Backcountry Camping Guide
Bear Aware Guide
Brochures, Maps, Written Info
Cross Country Ski Guide
Jobs, SCA, Volunteer Positions
Teton Science School
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