Backpack the South Fork of Garnet Canyon

Lupine Meadows Trailhead

This trip shows you what the Grand Tetons have to offerwithout getting in to anything too technical. With lakes along the way, critters, and some ofthe most inspiring peaks, this trip is a must if you visit the park.

To start this trip you will need to go to one of the local ranger stations for a backcountry permit, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, etc. Or if you like to plan ahead, you can make a reservation January through May on

When you get to the ranger station to pick up your backcountry permit, you will need to check out a bear canister. Don’t worry bear activity is low where you are going, and when in doubt ask the ranger. They will also probably give you some information about the area, show you a map, and answer any other questions you may have. The permit is important, my friends and I were actually asked several times by rangers on the trail to see our permit.

The parking lot at Lupine Meadows is busy in the summer time, but don’t be discouraged because this trail leads to multiple destinations so chances are low that your trail will be packed all the way up. When you arrive at the first junction at about 1.1 miles with Amphitheater lake stay straight and continue on the Garnet Canyon trail.

For the majority of the trek it will be obvious what trail to follow for the signs are well marked out there. When you start to break out of the forest it will become apparent that you are beginning to enter Garnet Canyon. From here you will follow the trail alongside the creek until you reach the meadows. When you reach the meadows there will be multiple campsites spread out in the area, you will eventually cross through the meadows at around 9200' and about 4 miles in, and you will make your way left towards the South and Middle Tetons. If you head right towards the waterfall that is the route for the Grand Teton.

As you make your way out of the meadows and into the first part of the boulder fields, you may start to lose the trail at times or the trail might be hard to follow. Do not worry if you find yourself having to rock hop or scramble as long as you are heading towards the saddle in between the South and the Middle. Looking up you will see a massive rock with trees and grass on the top and it sort of looks like an oasis, that is the start of the South Fork camp zone. When you make your way up there you might start to notice flat areas for tents and such, you can make your camp in any of these sights as long as you are not within 200 feet of a water source. It can get fairly windy up there so remember to bring some layers.

From the camp you can continue your way up to the saddle or even summit a peak or two, and take in breathtaking views from any direction, especially of Icefloe lake.

If you are not used to higher altitudes take this one slow, especially if you choose to go up to the saddle. If you experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, or any other sign of Acute Mountain Sickness, stop and head back down. In most cases reduction in elevation solves the problem.

Pack List

This is a list of gear that I brought that I found was necessaryor at least useful. Of course you can bring what you are accustomed to, andwith any doubts ask a ranger, or check out's suggested pack list.

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag suitable for the season
  • Sleeping pad
  • Rain gear
  • The ten essentials
  • Bear spray
  • Head lamp
  • Water treatment system
  • Stove, extra fuel, waterproof matches
  • Cook set
  • Bear canister
  • Sun glasses
  • Field repair kit for tent, sleeping bag, etc.
  • Spf lip balm
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet paper
  • Quick drying towel
  • Food that can be sealed or packaged for the bear can.
  • Spare bags for garbage, food etc.
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 11 Miles
Elevation Gain 4682 Feet
Activities Camping, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Family Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Excellent hike.

We just returned from this adventure. We weren't able to summit the Middle Teton as planned (weather + altitude sickness), but the hike to Lupine Meadows was fantastic.

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