- 40 miles (3-5 days)
- Trailhead: Phillips Pass or String Lake Trailheads
The Teton Crest Trail runs 40 miles through Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness. It’s an idyllic trip, allowing backpackers to choose between a number of starting and stopping points (most people choose to go from Phillips Pass to String Lakes) and offering plenty of side trails to add on mileage and even more sights. Altitudes are high, views are stunning and highlights include the tall peaks of the Cathedral Group, Death Canyon Shelf, Snowdrift Lake, more wildlife than you can shake a stick at and some of the Teton Range’s most scenic high passes.
The Teton Crest Trail usually takes between 3 and 5 days to complete and is best done in late summer, when longer, warmer days have melted out much of the high-elevation snow. If the thought of the entire trail is a bit daunting, shorter trips can be taken by diverting to any of the many side trails that wind their way down to the east or west.
While there are numerous trailheads that access the Teton Crest Trail, the two most common for backpackers are the Phillips Pass Trailhead to the south and the String Lake Trailhead to the north. Phillips Pass Trailhead is accessed off of Hwy-22, on Teton Pass. The String Lake Trailhead is off of Teton Park Road, just north of Jenny Lake.
If you’re coming from the west and want to try a different route, Teton Canyon offers a scenic route approach through Alaska Basin and Devil’s Stairs.
- 40 miles
- 3-5 days
- Numerous long ascents and descents throughout
- Strenuous, not a first-timer hike
- Most hikers start at either the southern Phillips Pass Trailhead, off of Teton Pass along Highway 22 or the northern String Lake Trailhead, near the north end of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park
Plan & Prepare
The Teton Crest Trail can be demanding and should not be attempted without adequate preparation. Food and bear-proof containers, water treatment system, extra layers, shelter and a warm sleeping bag are all necessary. Campsites within Grand Teton National Park require a permit, obtained in advance from the ranger station in the Park or the Forest Service office in Driggs, Idaho.
Since snow can linger long arrive early in the high mountains, the Teton Crest Trail is best done between July and September, when days are longer and warmer.
Mountain weather is unpredictable – expect and be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms.