One of the true bucket list hikes/runs in the USA and possibly the world. Hiking the Teton Crest Trail takes you across one of the most photographed parks in the world, the Tetons national Park. Traveling 40+ miles with 8,500+ ft of elevation gain accumulated as you traverse the length of the park. This beautiful trail attracts hundreds of hikers each year and is becoming even more popular amongst trail runners and endurance hikers. And with an increasingly competitive permit process for overnight camping, running this classic trail in one day may become more popular than ever.
Below is a guide to running the Teton Crest Trail in one day. Tips on when to go, trail heads,where to stay, links to maps and more. So let’s get to it and here are some quick links to get you started!
- Trail Overview
- Which Route Do People Take / Popular Trail Combinations
- Weather Info
- Water Info
- Wildlife Info
- Shuttle Info
- Gear List
- Where to Stay
Guide to Running the Teton Crest Trail in One Day
The Teton Crest Trail Overview
There can be some confusion on the actual distance and starting/ending trail heads. The reason for this is that the north and south trailheads of the Teton Crest Trail do not start at a road. They start at the connecting points of other trails on the west side of the Teton Mountains. To Make it easier, according to the National Parks Service the Teton Crest Trail starts at Marion lake and ends at Lake Solitude. And is typically done starting in the south and finishing in the north. How you get to these points is up to you. But I’ll show you the popular options below.
The trail itself is typically done from south to north Finishing at the famous String Lakes overlooking the Tetons. The best times of year to hike or run the trail are from July – early September. But you should be prepared for anything. The trail is known for quick moving storms.
Popular Trail Combinations & Distances:
Phillips Pass/Painbrush Canyon Via Teton Crest Trail 40 Miles.
Trailheads: Phillips Pass parking area and String Lake parking area.
* This is the most popular backpacking route.
Granite Canyon/Paintbrush Canyon via Teton Crest Trail 37.9 miles.
Trailheads: Granite Canyon parking area and String Lake parking area.
*This is the recommended route if you’re looking to do the loop.
Death Canyon/Paintbrush Canyon via Teton Crest Trail 36.0 miles.
Trailheads: Death Canyon parking area and String Lake parking area.
Death Canyon/Cascade Canyon via Teton Crest Trail 29.5 miles.
Trailheads: Death Canyon parking area and String Lake parking area.
Official Trail Distance and Info form the National Parks Service, click here.
Permits: Permits are required if you are staying in the park overnight. You can find more on back country permits by clicking here.
Tetons National Park Weather Info
When planning your Teton adventure one of the most important things to take into account is the time of year and weather. During the winter months (Mid-September through June) the trail may/will be covered in snow. Make sure you are prepared for everything!
Below is a graph showing the average temperature and rainfall for each month.
To get up the minute weather and live weather cams at the National Parks Service official site click here.
Teton Crest Trail Water Source Info
Teton Crest Trail Water Sources
There are more than a few water sources on the trail, and you will never be more than 5 miles from an obvious water course. Because of this you are going to need a water filter.
It should also be noted that a few people have mentioned that it’s a good idea to fill up on water at the stream you cross near Marion Lake. After this there is a section of 5-6 miles without water close to the trail.
Grand Teton National Park Wildlife Info
One of the great attractions of Wyoming is the abundance of wildlife. This includes elk, bison, moose, black bears and of course grizzly bears. Running on the west side of the mountains, the Teton Crest Trail is incredibly remote. Meaning the chances of running into these animals increases while the chances of help decrease.
Because of this it’s highly recommended that you carry bear spray while hiking in the more rural areas of the Tetons. If you are planning on camping then it is required that you use a bear canister.
Grand Teton National Park Taxi & Shuttle Info
There are a few shuttle services running in the park. It is always advised that you call and make reservations at least 1 month before your planned trip. But the earlier the better.
- JH Shuttle (307) 200-1400 / jhshuttle.com
- The Driver Provider (307) 733-4629
- Mountain Resort Services (307)733-1112
- Teton Village Transport (307) 413-1200
- Teton Mountain Taxi – Teton Mountain Taxi
- Snake River Transportation (307) 413-9009
Teton Crest Trail Gear List
Here is the complete list of the gear I’m planning on bringing with me on our trip. I’ll work on going more in depth on another post. But if you have these items you will just need to worry about fuel.
Note: This doesn’t include fuel/nutrition/food, I’ll cover that below.
My Complete Gear List
- Trail Running Shoes – Something comfortable you have trained in.
- Running Socks – Do not wear cotton. Some people bring a back up pair..
- Mirco Spikes – Just in case any of the trail is frozen over or covered in snow.
- Gators (Optional) – Keep larger rocks out of your shoes.
- Underwear (optional/sometimes built into your shorts) – Brand you trust and have trained in.
- Shorts – Brand you trust and have trained in.
- Shirt – Brand you trust and have trained in.
- Hat – You are going to be in the sun.
- Water Proof Jacket
- Emergency Poncho
- Emergency Blanket
- Sunglasses – Polarized.
- Cooling Buff – Optional based on hat
- UV Sleeves (optional) – Great to start the day and cover yourself if you start to burn.
- Running Vest/Bag – Something comfortable to carry your water, fuel, and gear.
- 4 Water Bottles – I Like soft flasks.
- Water Filter – I’ve tried them all. This one is the easiest and fastest.
- Hiking Poles (optional) – You’re going to want something light and fully collapsible.
- Body Lube – This one is a must!
- Sunscreen – Travel sized 2 pack.
- Wet Wipes – For emergencies on the trail.
- 1 Small Roll Athletic Tape – For quick fixes on the fly.
- Phone/Camera – Keep your phone easily accessible while moving.
- 2 Plastic Bags – 1 for your camera and 1 for your money/wallet.
- Headlamp – You will probably be starting or ending (or both) in the dark.
- Extra Set of Batteries – Amazon Makes Batteries!
- Watch – Even if you’re not tracking your run. You should know what time it is and have some way to gauge your pace. There is good chance your phone will run out of battery.
- Bear Spray
Where to Stay:
When it comes to places to stay near the Grand Teton National Park you are only limited by your budget. Areas close to the park and in Jackson can get very expensive. And camping permits go quick if you want to go that route.
Another option, and what we did is look at the Driggs & Victor area of Idaho on the west side of the mountain range. This is only an hour drive from the park, is much more affordable than the Wyoming side, and offers plenty of amenities like shopping and restaurants.