Teton Crest Trail

Lake Solitude and the Grand Teton, a stunning vista along the Teton Crest Trail
Phillips Pass Trail
Phillips Pass Trail, one of the many access points to the Teton Crest Trail.

The Teton Crest Trail can be done many different ways; the full route is 39 miles, from Teton Pass on Highway 22 to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, just north of Jenny Lake. Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail takes about three days but this hike is no place to rush if you can budget the time. Ambitious backpackers or horseback riders can extend the trip to seventy-five mile trek along the entire crest of the Teton Mountains with some creative trail daisy chaining. Much of the Teton Crest Trail cuts a serpentine path through Grand Teton National Park and the adjacent Jedediah Smith Wilderness, rarely dipping below 8,000 feet. This rugged mountain environmentês jagged spires, alpine meadows, glaciers, lakes and vistas provide a challenging trip with limitless and rewarding sections for off trail exploration.

Teton Crest horseback rider
Horseback Rider up the Alaska Basin

Most start the Teton Crest Trail from the Phillips Pass Trailhead on Teton Pass however there is a myriad of other choices. A shortcut option is to take the Teton Village Tram and hike to Marion Lake and to pick up the Teton Crest Trail from there. Other southern starting points include Coal Creek, and Moose Creek trailheads.

After about 10 miles from the southern starting points you leave the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness and enter Grand Teton National Park, here Marion Lake makes a good camping spot. Marion Lake has limited campsites, which require a permit as do all Grand Teton designated camping spots.

Death Canyon Shelf
Death Canyon Shelf

Continuing north from Marion Lake you soon leave the park for a short time till you get to Fox Creek Pass 9,650 which drops you onto the scenic Death Canyon Shelf. Death Canyon Shelf is a broad bench below the crest of the Meeks Mountain range overlooking Death Canyon. To the west is a 3-mile-long escarpment of daunting cliffs and to the east the shelf abruptly plunges into the deep trough of Death Canyon over one thousand feet below.

Backpackers Alaska Basin
Backpackers, Alaska Basin at the junction of South Teton Trail and the Teton Crest

After 3.+ miles of incredible views and fairly level hiking, you reach Mt. Meeks Pass (9,726') whish drops you into the head of South Teton Creek where you will find the Alaska Basin (9,500') 2.2 miles below. The Alaska Basin is another good place to camp and being outside of the park again you donêt need a permit, there is a designated area for camping with stock on the west side of the basin.

Hikers Sunset Lake Alaska Basin
Sunset Lake high in the Grand Tetons

The ascent from Alaska Basin up Hurricane Pass is a bit grueling, the first half mile leaving Alaska Basin is a series of switchbacks until you reach the bowl that hosts scenic Sunset Lake which makes a good rest stop for your nest climb an 800 foot elevation gain. As you near the top the stark profile of Battleship Mountain serrates the western sky.

Cresting Hurricane Pass requires a catching of your breath not only from the altitude and climb but also from the breathtaking view,

Switchbacks Hurricane Pass
Switchbacks heading from Alaska Basin to Sunrise Lake

Hurricane Pass rewards you with one of the most incredible views you will ever have and quite possibly the definition of awesome! Due east the Grand Teton (13,770'), Middle Teton (12,804') and South Teton (12,514') peaks tower over you about a half mile away. The views up Cascade Canyon that drops hundreds of feet below you are also spectacular. Crowning this northern vista are Mt. St. John, Mt. Moran, Teepee Pillar Nez Perce, Cloudveil Dome, Avalanche Divide and The Wall.

 

 

 

Grand Tetons Hurricane Pass Hurricane Pass
The Grand Teton From Hurricane Pass
Hurrican Pass and Table Mountain looking toward Cascade Canyon
Cascade Canyon from Hurricane Pass
Looking from Hurrican Pass down into Cascade Canyon.

From Hurricane Pass you descend South Cascade Creek trail, there is camping in the South Fork Cascade Camping Zone. At the junction with North Cascade Creek Trail and Cascade Canyon Trail, (the Paintbrush Cascade Canyon Loop), here many opt to shorten their trip by dropping down Cascade Canyon to the trailhead.

A horseback rider takes in the view of the Grand Tetons from Lake Solitude.

For those with more ambition, time, or good boots North Cascade Trail has many rewards. Lake Solitude elevation (9035-feet) in my opinion is one of the most photogenic scenes to be found anywhere; a glacial moraine lake in a classic U shaped valley with the giant Grand Teton towering over the scene is simply breathtaking. Just short of Lake Solitude has some designated camping and is a good stop. For those not wishing to climb Paintbrush divide I still recommend a side trip to Lake Solitude.

From Lake Solitude you start a climb from 9,035 feet to head over Paintbrush Divide at (10,720') the trail heading out of the North Cascade Canyon stretches above you for what looks like miles as it ascends Paintbrush Divideês never ending switchbacks to gain 1500-foot of elevation. It is a glorious stretch of trail though, as the Grand Teton is right in front of you on every southerly heading switchback.

horseback Riders near Paintbrush Divide Grand Tetons
The turn around point for horseback riders on the east side of Paintbrush divide. Because of snow and ice you can't make it over Paintbrush divide with horses. I found out the hard way.

The decent from Paintbrush Divide treats you to great views of the peaks around Mt. Moran, as you descend Paintbrush Canyon through the alpine country you hit some ice fields that may require and ice axe and most likely will be impassable with horses. At 9,200-feet lies Holly Lake and the Upper Paintbrush camping zone if you wish to spend another night in this alpine wonderland.

horseback riders Holly Lake Paintbrush Canyon
Holly Lake in Paintbrush Canyon

Paintbrush Canyon will treat you to views of sub alpine forests of Douglas fir, Engelmann Spruce, Limber and Whitebark Pines; Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, American Pikas, and Yellow-bellied Marmots, small glaciers, globeflowers, Glacier Lilies, and Alpine Forget-me-nots, the park flower may be seen in the area. A fine farewell to an awesome alpine experience.

Other Access Points for the Teton Crest Trail include Granite Creek and Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, Fox Creek, Darby Creek and South Teton Creek trailheads on the west side of the Tetons outside of Driggs Idaho.

 

 

Moose Lake Solitude Alaska Basin South Teton
A young bull moose at Lake Solitude
Looking up into Alaska Basin

Grand Teton National Park Camping Spots

Grand Teton Hurricane PassMarion Lake Designated Sites - Three sites are just east of the lake. A spur trail leads east of from the lake. Please camp on tent pads.

Death Canyon Shelf Zone - Extends from just above Fox Creek Pass to Mt. Meek Pass. Group site is 2.0 miles north of Fox Creek Pass. A large boulder is east of the trail.

South Fork Cascade Zone - Begins 1.0 mile above the Cascade trail fork and ends 0.5 mile below Hurricane Pass. Group site is 1.75 miles above the trail fork, east of the trail.

North Fork Cascade Zone - Extends from the second bridge above the fork to where the trail crosses the stream draining Mica Lake. Camping is prohibited at Lake Solitude. Group site is located 0.5 mile above the lower boundary of the zone on terraces east of the trail.

Upper Paintbrush Canyon Zone - Extends about 0.1 mile above the lower Holly Lake Trail Junction to the Paintbrush Divide headwall, on the main canyon trail. From the lower end of the zone to the upper Holly Lake Trail Junction, camp only on the south side of the trail (the left side as you hike up the canyon). From the upper Holly Lake Trail Junction to the Paintbrush Divide headwall, you may camp on either side of the trail. Lower Paintbrush Canyon Zone - Begins 2.6 miles from the Spring Lake Parking area, 0.25 mile below the first crossing of Paintbrush Creek. The upper camping zone boundary is 1.0 mile below the lower Holly Lake Trail Junction.

Teton Crest Trail Map

A few of our hiking and riding trails
hikers Alaska Basin Grand Teton Mountain Range Teton Crest Trail Jedidiah Smith Wilderness
Sunrise Lake is nestled in the north end of Alaska Basin on the Teton Crest Trail, the tip of the Grand Teton can be seen just over the ridge.

The horseback riding and hiking in our very special neck of the woods here in the Yellowstone Grand Teton region is a very special experience. Few places have our diversity of trail choices. Yellowstone provides many otherworld hiking and riding opportunities, the Grand Teton’s canyon trails beneath its towering granite monoliths provide scenery you can read about but can’t believe until you experience it. The remoteness of the Gros Ventre, Wind, Big Hole, Wyoming, Centennial, and Snake River mountain Ranges are treasures in their own right. If you horseback ride or hike to get to where the remote fishing is good, you have chosen the perfect destination.

In the Greater Yellowstone Region, anything can happen horseback riding or hiking. Wildlife sightings are the norm, moose, elk, deer, and bison are a daily occurrence if you are lucky you might see a wolf, mountain sheep, or bear. Extreme weather can be expected any time. A clear sunny day can quickly become stormy, bringing lightning, hail and sometimes snow. Hypothermia can befall you any time of the year if your are unprepared. Daytime summer temperatures range between 70 to 90 degrees. June can be cool and rainy, and high water during spring runoff can become hazards in stream crossings. The peak hiking and horseback riding summer months, July and August tend to be drier and better choices for the fair weather horseback rider or hiker.

Hiking and horseback riding in the Greater Yellowstone Region offers such a great array of trails choices are difficult, but it’s tough to go wrong. Mountaineering stores and saddle shops provide information, maps and books to help you stay informed. Consult authorities for current conditions and wildlife sightings before venturing into the backcountry. The more informed you are, the more comfortable your trip into the mountains will be.

Packstring horseback rider Heart Lake Yellowstone
A pack string heading out of Heart Lake Basin, you can see Heart Lake and the Absoraka Mountains off in the distance
Goodwin Lake Trail(Jackson Hole) • The Goodwin Lake Trail is one of those cheater hike/rides that start by driving your car to about the 8,000-foot elevation effortlessly expediting your buns to the high country (my favorite kind). This trip is popular for its proximity to the town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park; it’s relatively short length and ample sensory rewards.

Heart Lake Trail • (Yellowstone Park) •Tucked away on the east side of Mount Sheridan in southern Yellowstone, just over the continental divide from Yellowstone Lake is one of the most pristine areas of Yellowstone National Park, the Heart Lake drainage. In this region only a network of trails, primitive campgrounds and a picturesque log cabin ranger station are the only sign left by man, a remarkable fete in this day and age when you consider that the Heart Lake is one of more popular hikes for day hikers and backpackers; 40% of all of Yellowstone’s backcountry overnight trips are to Heart Lake.

Cascade Canyon  Hurricane Pass Jedidiah Smith Wilderness Grand Teton National Park
Looking down into Cascade Creek Drainage and Grand Teton National Park from Hurricane Pass on the Teton Crest Trail

The Teton Crest Trail • (Grand Teton National Park) The Teton Crest Trail can be done many different ways; the full route is 39 miles, from Teton Pass on Highway 22 to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, just north of Jenny Lake. Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail takes about three days but this hike is no place to rush if you can budget the time. Ambitious backpackers or horseback riders can extend the trip to seventy-five mile trek along the entire crest of the Teton Mountains with some creative trail daisy chaining. Much of the Teton Crest Trail cuts a serpentine path through Grand Teton National Park and the adjacent Jedediah Smith Wilderness, rarely dipping below 8,000 feet. This rugged mountain environment’s jagged spires, alpine meadows, glaciers, lakes and vistas provide a challenging trip with limitless and rewarding sections for off trail exploration.

Lake Solitude Jackson Hole Wyoming Grand Teton National Park
Lake Solitude and the Grand Teton from 10 miles up Cascade Creek Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

Cascade and Paintbrush Canyon Loop Trail • (Grand Teton National Park) • The Paintbrush Divide trail makes up the first part of a great loop hike that carries you across the Divide (10,720 feet), passing Lake Solitude as it winds back down to the Cascade Canyon. It's best to go up the Paintbrush Canyon first because it allows for turning around quicker if ice/snow at the divide is a problem. Also, its steeper which is more pleasant to go up than down, and gets the hard part over with while you are still fresh. A snowfield makes the trail a bit tricky as you cross the divide until early August. After August is easily traversed without the need of an ice axe, trekking poles are always useful on extreme day hikes and make the small snow excursions even easier.

Palisades Creek Canyon • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Palisades Creek Trail is located about 50 miles southeast of Idaho Falls and about 60 miles west of Jackson Hole WY in Swan Valley Idaho, The four mile hike up to lower Palisades Lake or the 6.2 mile hike to Upper Palisades Lake provide some of the best mountain views in the Swan Valley region. Palisades Creek Trail is well maintained and can be used only by hikers, backpackers or horses. If you choose to hike up to Upper Palisades Lake, 2 miles above Lower Palisades Lake you have to leave Palisades Creek trail and turn up Waterfall Canyon and it is just a short distance up Waterfall Canyon.

Table Mountain Grand Teton Mountains Jedidiah Smith Wilderness
The Grand Teton peaks of Table Mountain east of Driggs Idaho.

Table Mountain Trail • (Teton Valley Idaho - Driggs) • Table Mountain is a must do hike not to be missed in the Tetons. The top of Table Mountain offers the best vantage point in the Tetons for close-up views of the massive west face of the Grand, upper reaches of Cascade Canyon, and the U-shaped glacial valleys and canyons on the west side of the Tetons. This hike is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding in the entire region and it bears the signature of the essence of the Grand Tetons.

Big Elk Creek Trail • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Big Elk Creek is a gorgeous stream that flows down a big pristine canyon that is free of motor vehicles and livestock grazing. The canyon includes many avalanche chutes and rugged mountains. It has an easy trail leading up a broad, open, and scenic canyon. The Trail from campground goes north along Big Elk Creek, and heads for miles into the heart of the Snake River mountain range. The high alpine meadows have exceptional flower displays during the summer months. Excellent views are everywhere you look throughout the Big Elk Creek backcountry. Black bear are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant, there is a population of mountain goats that cling to the many cliffs of the Big Elk Creek drainage. The peregrine falcon has been restored to the cliffs of the Snake River Range also.Swift Creek Trail (Jackson Hole - Bonduraunt) • I found nothing swift about Swift Creek trail Oh! except the creek, the trail starts out in Granite Creek Valley beneath the grandeur of this special mountain valley's towering sentinels. You climb imperceptibly through sagebrush and wildflower meadows interspersed with groves of conifers and aspen. When you draw up close to the creek you start ascending through forest and small meadows and for a while lose the views of the mountains. Here the terrain flattens out for a bit and you cross the creek, the trail breaks north to reveal the mountains once again, North Cliff Wall on the left and Corner Peak to the right. A trail through the meadow to the right provides trail access to MacLeod Lake high up on Corner Peak. Then up a little farther you see it, God accidentally misplaced one of Yosemite’s water falls halfway up this canyon. What a pleasant surprise.
Little Greys River Trail Alpine Wyoming
Little Greys River Trail access Greyback Ridge, Pickle Pass, Roosevelt Meadows Cliff Creek and the Upper Hoback River Drainage.

Little Greys River Trail • (Star Valley Wyoming - Alpine) The trail begins near the end of Little Greys River Road #10047. The trailhead’s beginning elevation is 6,950 feet and is at the edge of a giant meadow valley and the river has already radically changed character it is now in a spring rush down a steep canyon. This trail accesses the scenic Wyoming Range and it connects to the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail #048 and the Cliff Creek Trail #137. It has an elevation gain of 2,310 feet. The trail climbs steadily through forest interspersed with meadow with regular jogs over to the mountain edge for views of the Little Greys River hundreds of feet below.

Bear Creek Trail • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Bear Creek is an idyllic mountain stream that meanders through an equally serene alpine valley on the southwest side of Palisades Reservoir in Swan Valley Idaho. The trail is an easy one even for novice hikers and the danger spots for horses are few. Unlike the creeks on the Snake River Range side of Palisades Reservoir the creeks of the Caribou Range seem more open not that they are but the southern slopes of the mountains are largely open meadow and lends itself to a more open feeling.

Shoal Falls Trail • (Jackson Hole) • The Shoal Falls trail begins in the scenic alpine wonderland of Granite Creek a good home base to explore this amazing area. From the Swift Creek/Shoal Falls trailhead hike or ride up the sagebrush and wildflower meadow until the trail splits, look for a wooden sign that says "Shoal Falls". Follow an old two–track road for the first 1⁄2 mile. The trail then turns to the south and angles up a forested hillside and you climb a series of switchbacks that periodically reveal views of Granite Creek Valley below and the grandeur of Open Door Mountain.

Alaska Basin of the Teton Crest Trail
Alaska Basin of the Teton Crest Trail. South Teton Canyon Trail is a tough one to beat.

South Teton Canyon Trail • (Teton Valley - Driggs) • From the trailhead at South Teton Creek you enter the trail in a forested area right by the creek by you soon break out into open meadow terrain that compliments the surroundings groves of conifer and aspen all dwarfed by the cliff bands and peaks of this gorgeous glacial valley. The hiking is easy and in spring and early summer there are numerous waterfalls. South Teton Creek Trail is in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and so all access is by foot or by horseback.

Darby Creek  Waterfall just below  were it comes out of Darby Wind Cave
The South Darby Wind Cave is full of beautiful surprises.

South Darby Creek - Wind Cave Trail • (Teton Valley - Driggs) • Darby Canyon Trail is one of several access points for the Teton Crest Trail but it is better known for The Darby Wind Cave which is the major draw to this popular Teton Valley hike that takes you into the heart of the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness.

The Trailhead for south Fork of Darby Canyon is at 7,069 feet, the first few miles of the climb up Darby Canyon winds steeply through meadows and forest as it quickly gains elevation. Intermittent waterfalls splash down the canyon rim in early summer add to the hiking experience. After about 2.5 miles the trail for the Darby Wind Cave forks off to the right.

Granite Highline Trail • (Jackson Hol) • The Granite Highline Trail is often overlooked due to Jackson Hole’s embarrassment of nature’s riches. It is a beautiful high elevation trek up through the boreal forest of Cache Creek and across the sub-alpine regions of the Horse Creek Drainage and Granite Creek Drainage. A rugged, variable-length day hike, or a 2-day hike featuring access to several high peaks the trail is about 15 miles long. After the initial climb on either side the trail remains remarkably level for most of its length. Much of this trail is in open meadow with groves of aspen and conifer here and there and much of the trail is in the shadow of the Granite peaks above.

Island Park Trail Targhee Peak Targhee Creek Trail
Targhee Creek Trail provides access to the mountains north of Island Park Idaho that stradle the Idaho Montana border.

Targhee Creek Trail • (Island Park) • Targhee Creek Trail I must say was a pleasant surprise, I have driven by the mouth of the canyon many times and never gave it a thought, as it is unimpressive from the drivers seat at 55 miles per hour on Highway 20. The Targhee Creek Trail starts in a mixture of meadow and conifer and aspen forest at about 7,000 foot elevation but you soon leave the aspens behind and the first three miles are an easy meander along a pretty canyon bottom of open meadow and conifer woods. Targhee Creek in August doesn’t have much volume to it but I would bet that it hosts some fishy surprises in it for the angler wishing to fish a tributary to legendary anglers nirvana Henrys Lake.

Turquoise Lake Gros Ventre Wilderness Jackson Hole WY
Turquoise Lake is a remote getaway deep into the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

Turquoise Lake (Jackson Hole) • Turquoise Lake is an alpine gem in the middle of the Gros Ventre Wilderness and there are many ways to get there but the most expeditious one is via the Goodwin Lake Trail. This access facilitates a 2,000-foot elevation head start over most others by virtue of its 8,000-foot trailhead. This trip reveals the heart of the Gros Venture Wilderness, the peaks of West Crystal to the east, the peaks of Packsaddle Pass and Antoinette Peak can be seen far to the southeast, to the south is Gros Peak and to the south of it you see Pinnacle Peak. There is an impressive escarpment going off the north side of Gros Peak that seems to speak of millions of years of geological history.

Moose Lake (Teton Valley - Victor) • Moose Creek Trail starts just east of Victor Idaho, it is one of the starting points for the Teton Crest Trail that leads into the heart of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. The Grand Teton’s, Moose Creek Trail, is entirely within the Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest................... Above Moose Falls you enter some wide open terrain that treats you to the glacial nature of Moose Creek Canyon, and here the trail splits, here you can continue to the right along the Teton Crest Trail to Grand Teton National Park, a short distance away or turn to the left to continue to Moose Lake.

Phillips Pass Trail (Jackson Hole - Wilson) Phillips Pass Trail is one of those cheater trails I like so well. It starts about three quarters of the way to the top of Teton Pass west of Wilson Wyoming, so the trail starts at about 8,000 feet elevation. Starting at 8,000 feet you are already into the beauty of the high country so not only do you get t skip the climb, you also skip the pretty, but vista challenged, boreal forest canyon bottoms most mountain trails start at. Phillips Pass Trail is one of the access points and is actually part of the Teton Crest Trail

Cliff Creek Falls
Cliff Creek Falls cascades down a red rock cliff of the Wyoming Range.

Cliff Creek Falls - (Bonduant WY) • After a few miles the canyon starts to narrow and the mostly non descript slopes start sporting crowns of beautiful red ochre cliff faces that wouldn’t be out of place in southern Utah, but are a pleasant surprise here in the Teton Region of Wyoming......................The first waterfall you see is a lesser one on a fork of Cliff Creek but when you see it look to the left, and the larger Cliff Creek Falls is on the larger fork of the Creek. The trail splits here, and trail #3137 goes to the left taking you a short distance to the falls and beyond. Upon reaching Cliff Falls (base elevation 8,000 feet) you are treated to a cascading waterfall that tumbles 68 feet down into a red rock basin. A spot right at the bottom is perfect for a morning shower for those who camp here.

A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage
A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage

North Willow Creek Trail (Star Valley) • The first couple of miles there are several creek crossings but as you climb the trail veers away from the creek. There are parts of the trail that is really rocky and parts that are steep stretches of clay that could easily turn to a dangerous slime, on horseback, in a rainstorm. ATVer’s use the lower section but there was no evidence of them in the higher elevations. About halfway you get into the sub alpine terrain which provides better views of the surrounding peaks and the canyon below.

When you think that you have reached McDougal Pass, you haven’t, the first saddle drops you into the head of Strawberry Creek where Strawberry Creek Trail merges with North Willow Creek Trail for the final couple of hundred yards to McDougal Pass. It is about a half mile from the Strawberry/N. Willow divide to the Pass.

From the top of McDougal Pass, you look down Bear Creek into the Greys River Drainage--------------------------> More

McDougal Pass
A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage

Strawberry Creek Trail (Star Valley) • Strawberry Creek Trail is one of the more accessible trails into the rugged and scenic Salt River Range from Star Valley WY. The trail starts at 7200 feet and follows a gorgeous valley 7.5 miles to McDougal Pass where Bear Creek trail begins for a drop into the Greys River Valley. Hikers can take the road to the end but if you are pulling a horse trailer find a turnout before you get into as situation you wished you were not in.

The trail starts in creek bottom boreal forest and a short way up the trail, another trail cuts off to the left, this trail is the Covey Cutoff Trail which is a shorter way to get to the Greys River Drainage. This is not marked so keep right if McDougal Pass is your destination.

From bottom to top there are plenty of open areas to view the surrounding peaks of the Salt River Range. About halfway up you enter the sub-alpine terrain and the forest opens up creating greater viewing opportunities--------------------------> More

Willow Creek Trail (Jackson Hole) • Willow Creek is a major drainage system for the Wyoming Range, the scenery is fantastic and provides prodigious, geographic, flora and fauna viewing and there are many trails you could get lost on. Take a map. The trail is popular with horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers hunters, and fisherman.

Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park
Hikers, Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park

Willow Creek's headwaters begin high in the Wyoming Range on the south end of Jackson Hole. Fisherman may with to trying to outwit the feisty native Cutthroat that make Willow Creek their home. These fish are native, not stocked, so they offer a challenge for the most experienced fly fisherman and an opportunity to advance the skills of the novice. Catch and release only, please. The Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partnership Program is funded a project to improve a degraded area along Willow Creek. --------------------------------------> More

Trout Lake (Yellowstone) • This serene and beautiful lake is accessible via a short hike through the forest. It is a steep 1/2-mile trail through a Douglas fir forest leads to the lake. Trout lake sits in a depression on a high bench above the Soda Butte Creek Canyon south of Cooke City. Formerly known as Fish Lake and Soda Butte Lake this 12-acre gem is a popular backcountry lake for hikers and anglers. --------------> more

 

Some of Greater Yellowstone's mountain ranges
A cattle ranch of the Gros Ventre Mountains in Bondurant, Wyoming

The Gros Ventre Mountains • The Gros Ventre Mountains of western Wyoming is another fine example of western Wyoming’s embarrassment of riches in the natural wonders department. The range is composed of high craggy peaks, glacier scoured valleys, and rolling sagebrush foothills. The Gros Ventre Mountains receives much less visitation than the more well known Grand Teton Range which you can see from much of the Gros Ventre’s northern and western flanks. Views from the high country also include views of the Absaroka Mountains, Wind River Mountains, the Snake River Range and the Wyoming Range. The name Gros Ventre is from the French word for "big belly", and originated from Indian sign language meant to convey the idea of "always hungry". .................. more about

Rafters enjoy a float down the Greys River that drains the Wyoming Range

The Wyoming Range • The Wyoming Range runs for about eighty miles in a north-south direction in western Wyoming. These mountains are a mixture of rolling open slopes dotted with sagebrush and aspen groves and forested hills with pines, spruce, and fir trees. Waterfalls plunging over high cliffs are tucked in the remote rugged mountain peaks. Many of the peaks in the range rise to over 10,000 feet the highest is Wyoming Peak at 11,363 feet. These magnificent mountains remain in relative obscurity due to their proximity to the more famous Wind River Mountains and the Grand Tetons; this makes solitude more achievable here. The Wyoming Range is not as rugged or remote as the nearby Wind River Range or Gros Ventre Mountains................... more about

Mountain Goats of the Snake River Range

The Snake River Range • The Snake River Range starts at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between Jackson Hole Wyoming and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National Forest. The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to Swan Valley Idaho and south to Alpine Wyoming. The Snake River is the eastern boundary back up to the Tetons. This is rugged country, and has plenty of water; glaciers and running water shaped the numerous deep canyons. The lush vegetation will impress the visitor, the land is dynamic and unstable, rockslides and earth flows are common, landslides created both Upper Palisades and Lower Palisades Lakes a couple of jewels of the range. Mount Baird, at 10,042 feet, is the highest point in the Snake River Range. ................... more about

Grand Teton sunset from Signal Mountain

The Grand Tetons • One of the things that sets the eastern view of the Grand Tetons apart from other ranges is there are not any foothills to obstruct the view. The actions of nature’s elements have sculpted a monolith of sharply notched peaks accented by deep U shaped glaciated canyons that are truly a sight to behold. If you think the Grand Tetons is awe inspiring from the valley floor a trip into the center of them will set new benchmarks for beauty for the hard drive in your skull. .................. more about

The Wind River Range • A mountain is the best medicine for a troubled mind. Seldom does man ponder his own insignificance. He thinks he is master of all things. He thinks the world is his without bonds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only when he tramps the mountains alone, communing with nature, observing other insignificant creatures about him, to come and go, as he will, does he awaken to his own short-lived presence on earth. — Finis Mitchell, "Wind River Trails"

The Wind River coming out of the Wind River Range at Green River Lake.

The Wind River Range is a remote hundred plus mile range, stretching through Wyoming along the crest of the Continental Divide. Among the Winds unrelenting height, contain seven of the ten largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, as well as more than 2.25 million acres of public land. They are in the southeast section of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest environmentally intact temperate-zone ecosystem in the lower 48 states. .................. more about

Pinnacle Peak of the Absaroka Range

The Absaroka Mountain Range • The Absaroka Mountain Range is a sub-range on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains stretching for about 150 miles across the Montana-Wyoming border. A complex range, it takes significant effort to learn all the various groups, sections, and drainages. More specifically a member of the Central Rocky Mountain Chain stretching from Livingston (Montana) to a point east of Dubois Wyoming, it forms the core of the Yellowstone region of the Central Rockies. Some 165 miles in length and 75 miles wide at its widest. It is, depending on how one measures, the largest individual range in the 1200-mile-long Rocky Mountain Chain. The Continental Divide passes through the southwestern corner of the range but not near the crest. The range wraps around the eastern and northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

The high alpine meadows have prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. Tall perennials such as cow parsnip, penstemon, lupine, monkshood, and western coneflower. These plants grow so tall that they obscure lightly used trails by midsummer. Black bears are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant; there is a population of mountain goats in the much of the middle of the range. It is the home to many trophy mule deer. Grizzly bears, which move in winter from Yellowstone National Park to the nearby lower elevations of the Absaroka Range Wolves, are seen regularly. There are many grizzlies here so use all due caution................... more about

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