Backpack the Granite Canyon to Death Canyon Loop

Rate this Adventure Wyoming Granite Canyon to Death Canyon loop

  • Activities:

    Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    25 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    4000 Feet

Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Distance: 25 miles. Elevation gain: 4,000 ft. An easy 2 day backpacking trip in the Teton. Amazing views on Phelps Lake.

This fairly easy 2-night backpacking trip in the Tetons can be started around noon, allowing you to finish around noon, 2 days later.

From the visitor center, obtain a permit for 2 nights. Ask for a first night at Marion Lake (the Granite Canyon campsites are not my favorites), and for a second night in Dead Canyon. The first day is a 9 miles hike. The second day is just 7 miles, giving you time to enjoy the lake, and on the last day, the hike is around 8 to 9 miles.

Begin the hike at the Granite Canyon Trailhead. Hike along the river for about 6 miles. There are some nice views on the river, but the trail is really enclosed in the canyon. Along the 6 miles there are several campsites alongside the river - the Marion Lake campsite is especially beautiful, however. The hike continues to Teton Crest Trail, where there are some amazing views of the Grand Teton, itself.

At Fox Creek Pass, turn left, to descend down to Dead Canyon. The trails become easier, and it is beautiful, with flowers everywhere. Find a spot in the Dead Canyon for the night.

On the last day, the hike continues to go downhill. The trail becomes really steep, and at this point you’re glad to have started the loop clockwise. There are amazing views on Phelps Lake, which is a really nice place to picnic. There is also a worthwhile trail that loops around the lake.

Head back to the trailhead by the Open Canyon Trail, or to the main road to go faster (we saw a cub by choosing the road).

Note that the campsites in Dead Canyon and Granite Canyon are widely spread out - almost one mile between two campsites. Considers this during your hike, especially when darkness falls.

Note: Bears may be present in this area. 

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stove
  • Water filtration or tablets
  • Backcountry permit from the National Park Service to camp overnight
  • Bear proof food container
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes
  • Food for 2 days + 1 extra day
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