Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

If anyone ever tells you the Teton Crest Trail is a nice, mellow backpacking trip, they lied. This trail can get a bit gnarly and serve you up some steep elevation gain and loss. It has the option of summiting a few peaks as well as a butt-kicking 40+ miles of trail to explore. In short, this has been one of our favorite backpacking trips yet! If the many miles of elevation change don’t take your breath away and make you want to die, the expansive mountain ranges with hidden valleys certainly will. We do not recommend this trail is for the faint of heart, you will work for it, but the rewards are more than worth it.

Alex and Bobby in Paintbrush Canyon
Alex and Bobby entering Paintbrush Canyon
Tent views from the Lower Paintbrush Camping Zone
Tent views from the Lower Paintbrush Camping Zone
Crossing a short snowfield going up the Paintbrush Divide
Bobby and Becca crossing a short snowfield going up the Paintbrush Divide
Paintbrush Divide – Elevation 10,720 ft
Camping in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon
Alex and Bobby playing around on Hurricane Pass.
Alex and Bobby playing around on Hurricane Pass
View of Alaska Basin from Hurricane Pass.
View of Alaska Basin from Hurricane Pass
Beauty in the small details
The Grand, Middle and South Teton viewed from Hurricane Pass
The Grand (far left), Middle (center) and South Teton (far right) viewed from Hurricane Pass

We planned this short adventure for Becca’s brother, Bobby, as a “thank you” for officiating our wedding. The three of us spent two nights and three days hiking about 35 miles of the trail. The Teton Crest Trail, in its entirety, can be done relatively quickly (3-4 days) if you pack light and hike strong, but we were in no hurry. Mountain streams and snow runoff were plentiful so water sources were never scarce. We saw quite a few piles of fresh, berry-ridden bear scat along the trail. We did spot one furry teddy scrounging for breakfast. He was cool about it; he went on his way and we went on ours after some gawking and cautious steps. We don’t have words vast enough to sum up our experience in the beautiful Teton Range, but to say the least – we were in love.

Few places in the world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. – John Muir

94 thoughts on “Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

      1. I know Arizona and New Mexico well, and have also lived in Texas and Oklahoma. I’ve always wanted to see the Dakotas and Montana, Wyoming etc….from lower than 30,000 feet. 🙂 Some of my kids live in Minnesota, and I may get out there again…but that’s about it. Been to California and Washington too. My desert rat heart belongs in Tucson…lived there three years and it is my absolutely favorite place in the world.


    1. That’s all we try to do – live life! Ironically enough, the DWR is my parents and they’re currently selling everything they own to travel/live in that 16 footer! Their lives are a testament that it’s never too late to follow your dreams!


  1. Im lost for words. I wish I could come along with you, its just stunning. Parts of the UK are beautiful, but places like this are just something else! … Dont suppose you have space in your packs for me? 🙂


      1. I could always pack my own backpack and jump on a flight! Ha. Just got back from doing England’s highest mountain. Beautiful, but there’s no comparison!


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