Added by Spencer Williams
This is a multi-day backpacking trip that features some of the most picturesque sections of Grand Teton National Park and Targhee National Forest. The trail begins and ends at Death Canyon Trailhead offering multiple ways to lengthen or shorten the days and mileage of your adventure. My trip was 28.2 miles over the course of 3 days, stopping to camp on the Death Canyon floor and between alpine lakes in Alaska Basin.
Death Canyon Trailhead is easily accessed by heading south on Moose-Wilson Rd. from Grand Teton National Park Headquarters for 3 miles. Once at the junction turn right onto an uneven dirt road and go north 0.7 miles to the parking area.
Day 1: (8.3 miles) From Death Canyon Trailhead hike west for 1-mile to the Phelps Lake overlook (7,200 ft.), this will be your first of many photo opportunities. After gazing out at the lake you will hike down into Death Canyon, covering another 3 miles before coming upon a small ranger patrol cabin and a junction for Static Peak and Death Canyon Trail. Go left at the junction and hike 4.5 miles to the Death Canyon camping zone, your first opportunity to camp.
Day 2: (7 miles) To start your second day you must climb to the top of Fox Creek Pass (9,600 ft.) here you will meet with the Teton Crest Trail. Take the crest trail north following the Death Canyon Shelf; from the shelf you will have fantastic views of the Teton Range. Descend the crest trail into the lake spotted Alaska Basin, at the junction follow Alaska Basin Trail and make camp.
Day 3: (12.9 miles) The third and final day will be the longest in mileage. After packing up camp and refilling your water reserves follow Alaska Basin Trail southwest to your next challenge, the 3.2-mile hike to the top of Buck Mountain Divide (10,550 ft.). From here traverse 1.1 miles to Static Peak Divide where you have the option to summit Static Peak (11,303 ft.), a short half-mile detour from the trail. Finally continue down the basin trail for 4 miles to the patrol cabin you encountered on the first day, and head back to the trailhead and parking area.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Backcountry permits are required in both Grand Teton National Park and Targhee National Forest.
- Bears are present in this area, so bring appropriate protection including food canisters and repellant.
- Temperature can drop very low at night even during summer months.
- At Fox Creek Pass you have to option to go south on the Teton Crest Trail and camp a night at Marion Lake.
- At the Alaska Basin Trail/ Teton Crest Trail junction you can follow the Teton Crest Trail 1.5 miles north to Sunset Lake for additional camping and photo opportunities.
- The lakes in the area provide great fishing, be sure to have proper fishing permit if you do choose to fish in the backcountry.
- Backcountry Permit
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
- Hiking Clothes and Shoes
- Camp Stove and Fuel
- Water Filter
- Bear Canister for food (required in national parks)
- Bear Repellent
- Enough food and water for at least one extra day
- Compass or GPS
- Map (I recommend a Nat Geo Topo map)
- First Aid Kit
- Fishing Pole
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike to Lake of the Crags
Wyoming / Jenny Lake Trailhead
The unmarked trek up to Lake of the Crags is a hidden gem in Grand Teton National Park, unknown or untried by many.
Backpack the Medicine Bow Peak Trail in the Snowy Range Mountains
Wyoming / Lake Marie Trailhead
Take the Snowy Range Scenic Byway to Lake Marie trail head. Lake Marie trail head is the farthest west trailhead and parking area in the immediate Snowy Range Area. Parking in the lot there.