Teton Crest Trail
The full Teton Crest Trail begins outside of the National Park boundary and stretches 90 miles from its northern terminus near Flagg Ranch to its southern terminus on Teton Pass Highway. The final 40 miles of the trail are the most well known and feature a high alpine experience. However, the northern 50 miles traverse steep mountains, rivers, and has its fair share of high elevation mileage.
- Total Length: 89.6 miles
- Highest Point: 11,000′
- Minimum Elevation: 6,801′
Getting To The Trailhead
We started the hike at Flagg Ranch. There is a large parking lot, RV camping, and all the amenities hikers may want. There is a 4-mile road walk if choosing Flagg Ranch as the trailhead. To avoid this road walk, there is parking at the Glade Creek Trail Head.
Get Directions To Glade Creek Trailhead
There is a small gravel lot to leave a car at the Glade Creek Trail Head. This is located approximately 4 miles south of Flagg Ranch along Grassy Lake Rd. Starting the trail here avoids all road walks.
Beginning In National Forest Land
The first 50+ miles of the Teton Crest Trail stays almost exclusively inside National Forest Land. This allows for free camping and limited crowds. We hiked it during Labor Day weekend and didn’t see a person until we crossed the National Park Boundary.
The trails are in decent shape – depending on the time of year hiked. Toward the end of the year, enough trail maintenance has taken place to make route finding relatively simple. There are small sections where the brush is too overgrown to follow a footpath. Lack of signage in the northern half of the trail does make reading a map necessary. Carry a trustworthy GPS (or have a GPS app on your phone) to prevent getting lost.
Camping On The Teton Crest Trail
The first question asked, “are permits required for hiking the Teton Crest Trail?”
The answer is no.
We were able to camp every night inside public land outside of the National Park Boundary. In these areas, camping is not prohibited and hikers can set up just about anywhere. Some areas have bear boxes, others even have fire rings. On our GPX file, we marked every fire ring and bear box spotted in the backcountry.
The topography of the trail makes it easy to hike all day in high elevations while camping in lower elevation basins and river valleys. We averaged about 18 miles a day which allowed us plenty of time to take in the surroundings.
Grizzly Bears On The Teton Crest Trail
This part of Wyoming hosts a large population of grizzly bears. Because the northern half of the trail is remote, undeveloped, and lacks bear hangs or boxes in most places, it is recommended to tree food every night. Luckily, there are plenty of trees to choose from. Carry bear spray and hike in a group if you are scared of having a bear encounter.
Southern Terminus Of The Teton Crest Trail
The trail’s southernmost point:
Get Directions To The Coal Creek Trailhead.
There is a large paved parking lot – perfect for parking a vehicle for a few days. It’s also located on the Teton Pass Highway – a busy road that leads directly into Jackson, WY. Locals are used to picking up hikers and backcountry skiers alike.
Wild West Trail Notes
This is the complete Teton Crest Trail route – 90 miles long. It takes no shortcuts and completely traverses the Teton Mountain range from north to south. One of the highlights of this route is Table Mountain. With an elevation of 11,000′ this remarkable feature allows hikers to literally stand among the Teton Mountains. It’s awe-inspiring and one of the best viewpoints on the planet.
Following this specific path also makes it easy to camp every night in public land. While much of the hiking does take place inside the park, camping can be had just outside of the boundary. No permits required