Backpack the Teton Loop

    Rate this Adventure 34 miles 7000 ft gain  - Loop Trail

    Added by Isaac Parsons

    Circumnavigate around the Grand Teton, making your way through deep canyons, high mountain passes, and alpine meadows!

    For our loop traveling around the Grand Teton, we started at the Lupine Meadows TH going counterclockwise and that was where we finished as well. We heard that other people start other trailheads, like Death Canyon TH or Taggart Lake TH. Our goal was to finish the loop in just 2 days and 1 night, from what we had heard and read the loop was going to be about 30-31 miles long. After we had hiked the loop we calculated it to be about 34 miles total. 

    From the Lupine Meadows TH we headed North on the road and eventually connected with the trail just before Jenny Lake, and go toward Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. After Inspiration Point you will follow the trail through the beautiful Cascade Canyon. It is a nice gradual uphill through the majority of the canyon, once you hit a fork in the trail, North Fork of Cascade Canyon and South Fork of Cascade Canyon you'll take the South Fork Trail. This is where it starts to climb more, but nothing too terrible. All through that stretch of the trail is extremely gorgeous, with rivers cascading down the valleys, towering granite walls above you! This was our favorite stretch of the trail and leading up to Hurricane Pass. Hurricane pass was a solid climb uphill with some switchbacks, but the effort is well worth the reward. The lower saddle of Hurricane Pass is so picturesque, you get a view of the Grand Teton from the back side (West) and look down into the valley you hiked out of that is full of glaciers, crystal blue alpine lakes and meadows of wildflowers and trees. 

    From Hurricane Pass you make a steady descent into the Alaska Basin, which is actually in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness so you do not need a NPS backcountry permit to camp there. The Alaska Basin is another beautiful area where camping opportunities abound and views are endless. We found a spot right around the 15 mile mark, so we figured we were right at the halfway mark.  When you are in Alaska Basin you have 2 choices for trails to make the loop back to where they join in Death Canyon. We chose to go over Static Pass and Peak, if you do chose this way an ice axe is recommended and maybe even crampons. (We did it mid-July and were glad to have both.) From Alaska Basin to Static Pass was the hardest of the route finding because there was so much snow covering the trail and not many tracks in the snow to follow. 

    From Static Peak it is mostly downhill the rest of the way, you lose a lot of elevation over the course of just a couple of miles, until you get to Death Canyon, which is a lot like Cascade Canyon but not quite as accessible. From the Death Canyon Trailhead to Lupine Meadows is still about another 10 miles to go, which looks deceiving on the map, because it seems easy, which there isn't much for elevation gain or loss, but after covering 20+ miles in just over 24 hours (for us) it feels kind of heinous. 

    All in all it is a tremendous loop and would definitely recommend doing it! Doing it over the course of 2 days is very do-able, but three would be more relaxing, and I have heard of people running the entire loop in a day!  So, pick your poison!

    There are other options to start the loop, and people have their opinions on why they would start at the different spots. 

    Items to Bring:

    • Sleeping Pad
    • Sleeping Bag (in mid-July we were warmer at 10k ft than in the Snake River Valley the night before.
    • Water Purifier
    • Stove
    • Food, plenty of snacks!
    • Layers
    • Camera
    • Ice Axe (optional)
    • Crampons (optional)
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    Camping
    Photography
    Backpacking
    Hiking
    Forest
    Lake
    Scenic
    Wildflowers
    Wildlife

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