Here Are The 5 Reasons Every Backpacker Must Hike The Teton Crest Trail

Here Are The 5 Reasons Every Backpacker Must Hike The Teton Crest Trail

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  1. There’s a Good Chance of Seeing Wildlife

I’ve seen elk (and heard them bugling in September), moose, deer, pronghorn antelope, marmots, and pikas in the Tetons. Both times I’ve backpacked with my family there, we’ve seen moose up close (though at a safe distance). But while there are black and grizzly bears in the Tetons, in all of my trips there, I’ve never had a bear encounter. You should take appropriate precautions, of course, and the park requires carrying bear canisters. But bear encounters are not common.

Look for elk, marmot, and pikas at higher elevations in summer, moose in wet areas (like Phelps Lake, the forks of Granite Canyon, and the main stem of Cascade Canyon), pronghorn and bison in Jackson Hole, and deer everywhere. Hit the trail early in the morning or explore from your campsite in the evening hours—and be quiet—for the best chances of seeing wildlife.

  1. It’s Not Crowded

Most dayhikers do not venture as far as the more-remote sections of the Teton Crest Trail, and climbers focus largely on the Grand Teton and other high peaks in the park’s core. Consequently, you’ll see only other backpackers on much of the TCT, and those numbers are managed to provide a wilderness experience. With the exception of a few spots that get busy at certain times of day—like misleadingly named Lake Solitude around midday in July or August, when dayhikers are streaming in, or Alaska Basin (which is actually outside the park, but along the TCT) on summer weekends—you will actually not see too many people in the Teton backcountry, especially after Labor Day.

Campsites are also fairly well spread out within the camping zones, keeping parties largely out of sight and earshot of one another.

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