The Tetons are calling me...

2:07 a.m. on January 7, 2014 (EST)
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For the past several years I have been dying to backpack the in the Tetons.  I think this is finally the year I make the trek.  However, I need help with planning ideas.  I am coming from Buffalo NY, so the East side of the park is where I will be arriving from.  In the past I have had issues with the change in altitude when visiting other cities. There is that part of me which would like to say it's because I flew into cities without being acclimated, but I would rather be on the safe side for this trip. 

So what I am looking for are routes that would allow me to view the range, with gradual elevation gain.  I'm not looking to climb over any peaks, but perhaps pass between them. 

I am looking to go late July to end of August.  Any help would be great. I would like to make a reservation, but still have other options just in case.



8:13 a.m. on January 7, 2014 (EST)
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Are you driving out?  If so you may want to consider a stop in the Bighorns on your way.  You could head up for a day or three to get some altitude time, then spend a day driving across WY to the Tetons.  The Bighorns are a lot less crowded so I have a soft spot in my heart for that area I'll admit

1:28 a.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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I lived in Jackson Hole (JH) for 30 summers.

There are so many place to go in the Tetons. And the Wind River,Gros Ventre an Wyoming range around JH.

BTW Arcana1973, I grew up in Sodus NY just the other side of Rochester for the first 16 years of my life (1956-1972). We used to go to Niagara Falls every summer for family picnics as well as other places in NY state.

You said: what I am looking for are routes that would allow me to view the range, with gradual elevation gain.  I'm not looking to climb over any peaks, but perhaps pass between them. 

Cascade Canyon is a good start for this. Its on the other side of Jenny Lake. It goes pretty gradual for most of the first 12 miles, then splits to either Lake Solitude to the north or Schoolroom Glacier to the south. See this ink to see Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon, you can zoom in/out and look at other types of views/maps at the upper right where it says t1 Terrain (at the link below),-110.789181&z=13&t=t1 

There is a short 200 foot uphill from the lake shore west to Inspiration Point, after a 2 miles walk around the south shore. Its a nice long canyon with bears,elk,deer,moose,grouse,porcupines, and in July/August tons of wild flowers. Perfect time to go actually!

I went to JH to work every summer from 1981 to 2008 after my first visit to Grand Teton NP during three weeks in July 1980.

You could also take the aerial tram to 10,400 feet and then hike down Granite Canyon back to the JH valley floor. Scroll south on the above map link. Teton Village  (on a topo view under t1 Terrain) is just southwest of Phelps Lake. The tram is a great way to get high in the Tetons without having to do the hike up. JH is about 6000 feet and the tram takes 10-20 minutes to go to Rendezvous at 10,400 feet. then just a short hike down into Granite Canyon and 12 miles back to Teton Village.

If you look through my forum posts or search under trip reports with my name in the last 5 years I have posted many time about hikes in the Teton's including the summer of 2012 most recently.

1:34 a.m. on January 11, 2014 (EST)
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Gary, are there places to grab a shower in the park after a trip into the backcountry? And more importantly, is there a cost to do so. 

8:07 a.m. on January 11, 2014 (EST)
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There are several places you can grab a shower and I'm pretty certain they all have a fee.  There are showers at the Colter Bay campground and I seem to recall using showers at a big, touristy, general store type place inside the park.  It has been a few years so I can't recall if that one was coin operated or flat rate.

9:23 a.m. on January 11, 2014 (EST)
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Lonestranger knows more than me, I lived down in Jackson and never stayed in the park to shower in between hikes. Summer time you could just as easily swim in jenny Lake or String Lake just north of it. I have done that.

10:33 a.m. on January 11, 2014 (EST)
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You just reminded me how cold the lakes are there Gary 8p  Took a dip in Jackson Lake up by Lizard Creek campground with my wife and still not sure how we had a child after that, though it did take a few years heh. If you can take a bath in that water you are a hard man!

I had never used showers while camping til I started traveling with Mrs Stranger.  On extended tours it makes her happy to get a hot shower once a week or so and if she's happy I'm happy ;)

1:22 p.m. on January 11, 2014 (EST)
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I used to wade and swim in String Lake and look for fishing lures in Jenny's east shore. its a deep lake! Divers went down it about 30 years ago to investigate and found after 30 feet it was dark and murky. They went down to the bottom at 200 feet and said there was no life just sit and hazy water.

My favorite lake for wading is Phelps, there is a rock on the middle east area that one can wade to and the water never gets over the waist. All of them are glacier dug lakes.

5:23 a.m. on January 12, 2014 (EST)
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That's silt and hazy water.

11:13 a.m. on January 12, 2014 (EST)
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This is of course an awesome place but in terms of a quantity of information I hope the Forum Gods here do not take offense to me mentioning there are almost always detailed discussions of the Tetons going on in the Rocky Mountain Forum at

SHOWERS: American Alpine Club's Grand Teton Climbers Ranch. Incredible place. Anvil Motel in Jackson. 

CROSS COUNTRY TRAVEL ROUTE: The Bighorns are a great place but if you are driving they will be WELL out of your way and with all due respect to The Lone Stranger having lived there for a good period of time I have a major bias for the Southern Absaroka and the Headwaters area there of the Wind River near Dubois, WY. That would really only add a few minutes of drive time to Grand Teton National Park but take you through IMO the most geographically diverse place in the Rocky Mountain West where soaring red clay badlands give way to the largest glaciers outside of Oregon in the Wind River Range in less than a dozen miles. I have an extensive day hiking and backpacking list with brief descriptions of the area I can share assured no portion of it ever finds its way to publication. 

Like Gary I've got significant experience in this area over 40 years and am again living in Jackson . The Tetons are spectacular in most peoples minds because of the incredibly abrupt relief with NO foothills on the Eastern Front. However the National Park Service has seen to the construction and mantainence of excellent trails where grades are kept as moderate as possible.  Personally with it being the most popular hiking trail in Wyoming I'm not the biggest fan of Cascade Canyon but its of course popular for good reason. Rebecca Woods' "Jackson Hole Hikes" is the best guidebook IMO. Before the backpacking in terms of acclimation day hikes here's a short list for you to consider:

1) Taggart Lake and the un-mantained or sanctioned "climbers" trail of lower Avalanche Canyon. Very little elevation gain and GREAT for moose, black bear, and incredibly rare presence of other people. If you find that the problems in those cities was more air quality than altitude the slightly more than 5 mile total route brings you to Lake Taminah, a place Paul Petzoldt declared as beautiful as any other anywhere. If you do have the stamina to backpack this going on to Avalanche Divide and coming down Cascade Canyon is a magical loop with absolutely stellar camping options.

2) Bearpaw and Trappers Lakes. The 11-12 mile round trip is virtually level the entire way and every step has draw dropping views. Great place for wildlife and usually few other people if any at all. I've enjoyed multiple overnights here but the distance on next to no grade makes it an excellent acclimation day hike too.

3) Laurel Lake: This less than 2 mile one way hike has a steep hillside to climb but is well worth it and that steepness can be an aide in acclimitization. 

4) As already mentioned tram up and down Granite Canyon, between 11+ and 12.5 miles depending on exit at Granite Canyon Trailhead or Teton Village.

5) Rockefeller Preserve and Phelps Lake: Gary already noted neat East side but on north shore awesome 20' or so rock to jump/dive off of into deep water. If you can one way from Death canyon Trailhead to Preserve very nice and little if any huffing or puffing at all.

6) Goodwin Lake in Bridger-Teton National Forest. With good reason very popular with folks here in town. Good rise but then very nice level hike with great views of Sheep Creek drainage and Tetons, 6 miles round trip or if you have it in you under 10 miles totale with incredible ascent of 10,741 foot Jackson Peak. Backpacking in the Gros Ventre Range can also be very rewarding.

7) Surprise and Ampitheatre Lakes: Significant elevation gain but at easy grades and I've seen extremely obese people make this less than 10 mile round trip hike by simply taking their time.

8) Lake of the Crags: I'm a bit old and fat for Rimrock Lake anymore so this is now my favorite Teton day hike. It is a LUNG BUSTER but for some the most beautiful mountain setting they will ever find.

9) Ski Lake: Pretty easy from highway 22 in the BTNF West of Wilson.

10) Mt Leidy in BTNF: Need a decent vehicle for 15 mile FS road but just 1.2 mile hike with 1,200' elevation gain to 10,300'+ summit with what many of the experienced and well travelled consider to be the greatest view of the entire Teton Range. Great vehicle camping but dense grizzly habitat so like everywhere exercise ALL Bear protocols. Table Mt. is awesome but the 14 mile day really takes it out of some folks. 


If elevation proves truly problematic there's a site near Bradley Lake and many along spectacular Leigh Lake. With decent physical shape the Teton Crest is REALLY worth it. If possible go South to North for the views. There are many variations, usually between 3 and 4 nights. If you can only do a night or two concentrate on the North end and get Holly Lake campsite if possible.

Tetons North of Mt. Moran: IMO perhaps the most under rated Mountain terrain in the country. Consult Falcon guide.

Teton Canyon to Jenny Lake. Takes in awesome Alaska Basin and Hurricane Pass. Additions can make this rival the entire Crest.

I have thousands of photos and more information about Greater Yellowstone I can share if you wish to communicate privately. You're only 40 so don't worry about the altitude, just prepare for it with logic and diligence from now until when you come. Let me know if I can help you out. I Am Double Cabin at



9:29 p.m. on January 12, 2014 (EST)
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I really appreciate the info guys.  It just seems Ike there are so many options I might have to visit more than once. 

Coming from an area with such flat land whenever I see the mountains they just scream "come to me". But we do have an over abundance of fresh water and rarely have drought conditions, no hurricanes, tornados, and when it snows if you wait 2-3 days it melts (or rains ) away.

My desire is to backpack while I am there, but considering I have no idea where or what I want to do while there I might just plot out several scenarios.  I will just bring all my gear and try to get a campsite my first day and play it by ear.  The downside is I hope there is cell service so I can leave a message with friends knowing which routes I am taking.  

When I was in Salt Lake it took me a day or 2 to get used to the altitude. But I did manage to take a tram from Snowbird ski resort and hike down.  That trip is what got me addicted.  The Adirondacks, as beautiful as they are, do not compare to the peaks out west.  I wish my family ties and other obligations weren't so strong here or I would follow the advice and "go west young man"

So now I am just awaiting my map to see where you are all describing.  But it is fun to look at Google maps and follow the trails that are visible.  I can't wait!


8:22 a.m. on January 13, 2014 (EST)
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Krumholz Kid said:

CROSS COUNTRY TRAVEL ROUTE: The Bighorns are a great place but if you are driving they will be WELL out of your way and with all due respect to The Lone Stranger having lived there for a good period of time I have a major bias for the Southern Absaroka and the Headwaters area there of the Wind River near Dubois, WY.

 Pretty sure if you are driving from Buffalo NY that the difference between taking I90 or I80 isn't going to make a tremendous difference and there might be some humor in driving through Buffalo WY for comparison's sake.  When you are done on that side of the state you can have a rest day driving across on 14 and swing through Yellowstone on your way down to the Tetons.

You mentioning the Wind River brings back too many nice memories though so I won't argue with your clearly well informed opinions. I love where I live, but WY rates very high in my book.

7:11 p.m. on January 15, 2014 (EST)
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There is cell reception throughout most of Jackson Hole and at places along the Teton Crest, kind of scarce North of Colter Bay and down without line of site in places at base of the range and of course in canyons. DO IT. If you're worried about being alone don't be but you can often find someone to hike with at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch. Jackson Sierr Club has strong hiking program and some backpack and announce trips on meetup.


Like I said its a matter of opinion and Buffalo is an awesome town, the Bighorns are a great Range but unless you take the most southern route and skip 14 let alone 14A, the Oh My God Highway, you'll be adding significant time, the "direct" route at  a minimum adds an hour itself, seeing what IMO should be seen significantly more. I highly recommend my route or the fastest route to the town of Jackson, I80 all the way to Rock Springs and then North from there through Pinedale and Bondurant. I would spend first night in Dubois area and get to Grand Teton ASAP.

IMO the biggest mistake most people make on a Western trip is simply trying to see too much. Unless you have months and not weeks do Glacier and Crown of the Continent on its own, don't try and combine with Greater Yellowstone. If you go to the Colorado Rockies in the middle of the summer don't be fixated on also hitting the Colorado Plateau when its generally miserable, think about a trip focusing on that maybe with the Big Ditch or something in cooler months down the proverbial road. 


11:24 p.m. on January 18, 2014 (EST)
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Tetons.  I am doing the Tetons!  I can return for other adventures.  Everyone keeps telling me to stop by Yellowstone.  But I work in restaurants and I go on trips to GET AWAY from people.  Last thing I want to do is be stuck in traffic so people can go see a geyser.  Of course I can always go to the backcountry there, but I would rather do it by the big "tits" lol


1:24 a.m. on January 19, 2014 (EST)
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Well in July to late August the Tetons are filled with people too! Spring and Autumn are better times to see them with no people just wildlife (Flora and Fauna) and mountains. July/August is the peak time for tourists. Climbers,backpackers, horse's, etc. There are so many ways to get into the Tetons so many people do. The aerial tram takes many up to the top of Granite Canyon nearby, 100 at a time on two trams every 40 minutes, the Moose-Wilson road is scattered with many drivers, Jenny Lake has a boat that takes many to see lower Cascade Canyon/Hidden Falls/Point Solitude and many more hike the 2 mile hike around the south end.

Many also suggested the Gros Ventre (Grow Vont) range and the Wind River Mountains which on the opposite side of the valley called Jackson Hole (JH) are less visited but yet as pristine and beautiful. Not as pointy as the Grand Breasts (meaning of Tetons) but just as if not more wild.

I lived and worked in JH every summer and stayed a handful of winters, from 1981-2008. I prefer April/May and late Sept/October to middle of summer in July/Aug. Of course if that's your only vacation time I guess you have little choice?

Bear canisters are needed for back country trips, rentable at the back country permit office. Water in the Tetons is plentiful, just be sure to use a purifier or boil it. Watch out for Moose,Black Bears,Elk. See Marmots (Rocky Mountain Ground hogs), Mule deer,Bald Eagles,ravens,ground and tree squirrels, chipmunks, otters, Big Horn Sheep,Grouse and Mountain Goats.

I recommend the Teton Crest Trail from Teton Pass above Wilson to Paintbrush Divide and down to String lake just north of Jenny Lake. Snow/hail and sleet is not uncommon in the high mountain areas in summer. Rain as well. 

2:14 p.m. on January 20, 2014 (EST)
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I know they will be filled with people, but in the backcountry there are less that along the touristy viewing spots.  Also people who are willing to hike out a mile away from their car tend to be nicer and willing to talk on the trails.  Most times its about the weather, trail conditions, or how much further until so and so. 

I am hoping that the park is similar to the ones out this way in that during the week they aren't over crowded.  I plan to leave Buffalo NY after work on a Thursday and head out west.  I should arrive late Saturday night or Sunday morning.  It all depends how often I stop to enjoy the views.  Then I will stay until Friday and head back home.

I am looking at the last week of July even though I know it's peak tourist season.  I would love to come later but since I am driving across the country I want to have as much time (daylight) to enjoy the trip. 

P.s. breasts, tits, boobs, mammies its all relative lol


2:16 p.m. on January 20, 2014 (EST)
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Oh I also have a bear canister and also spray.  They are mandatory for the high peaks region of the Adirondacks.  But in all my hikes I have never encountered any.  It'd be cool to see one, at a distance.  Preferably away from my food.

7:10 p.m. on January 20, 2014 (EST)
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Many tourists day hike all the way into Schoolroom Glacier and Lake Solitude. Both are in Cascade Canyon on on the north fork and the other on the south fork. Its a long day hike but many still do it. Granite Canyon, Death Canyon, Open Canyon, the trail to Surprise and Amphitheater  Lakes and the Middle saddle between the Grand and South Teton and Paintbrush Canyons are all popular tourist day hike areas. 

By late July 90% of the high country snow has melted, except for the heads of the small glaciers that are left. 

If you have a bear canister bring it and see if the ranger station approves it for their backcountry use. I usually just rent one, I think they are $3 a day. I kinda hate them because I use a small rucksack and even just one doesn't fit very well with my other gear being they are hard and rigid. Bears are not so much the problem ,its the marmots, ground squirrels,chipmonks, raven's and porcupines. 

In the summer of 2012 I was backpacking and stayed at the North Cascade Canyon camping zone and a porcupine kept coming to my tent. The secound time I sprayed it directly in the face when he tried to come into my tent. Thinking I would not seeing him again. But 10-15 minutes later it came back again and kept coming about every 15 minutes. I finally moved my camp across the trail down by north Cascade Creek and never saw it again. 

Bears Moose Elk,Marmots,Squirrels and most of the animals are mainly down in the side canyons. About the only other animals one see's above tree line (9000') are rocky mountain goats and Ravens, an the later will steal anything exposed that is light enough to fly away with, be it food or not.

The TCT (Teton Crest Trail) is mostly above tree line and is as high (trailwise) as 11,800 feet. It follows the crest of the backbone of the Tetons from Moose Pass to Paintbrush Divide.

There is plenty of water in lakes and creeks along the way.

I plan to be in Jackson this summer as well from early June to late August. Email me when you are around JH if you like. I will be down in Jackson.

8:22 p.m. on January 20, 2014 (EST)
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I'd really weigh the cost of gas vs. flying into JH. Direct Route through Rock Springs is just under 2K miles, 28 hours dive time. Unless you get really insane mileage I'd really think about this, Airport is 10 mile Hitch from Grand Teton Climbers Ranch. Gary, they don't charge for bear canisters at Jenny Lake, do they? It's part of permit, no? Walk up permits now cost $25.

Tetons are a great choice. Get ready for an awesome trip with plenty of unshared miles.

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12:30 p.m. on January 21, 2014 (EST)
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I prefer driving than flying.  Road Trips are more fun.  Also if I fly out there my options would be severely limited. 

7:09 p.m. on January 21, 2014 (EST)
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Well, if they get $25 a permit then they probably dont charge for the canisters. In 2012 summer they had not started charging for permits. Guess I will have to get used to the new system myself this summer there as I am moving back in May.

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