Webb Canyon Trail-Moose Basin Divide-Owl Creek Canyon is a 31.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Moran, Wyoming that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from July until November.
This part of the Tetons is largely ignored by tourists because of its inaccessible trailheads and its distance from the more famous views at Jenny and Jackson Lakes. In order to reach the Webb-Owl Creek loop, one should paddle across. It is definitely an overnighter because of the incredible scenery and the trouble you go through to paddle your packs and pals over Jackson Lake. After beaching your canoe just north of Wilcox Point, you hike through willow thatches briefly until you arrive at a patrol cabin. From there, you enter into sage flats, with a commanding view of the seldom-visited opening of Webb Canyon. Soon thereafter, you must ford Moose Creek. Entering into a forested and rugged area, where in some places the trail is overgrown and criss-crossed by game trails, one is likely to deviate from the trail if he or she is not vigilant. Eventually, however, as you pass through the forested canyon opening you ascend rather abruptly into a wide open vista of Webb Canyon where the trail is much easier to follow. Little rocky outcroppings afford the hiker amazing places to sit for lunch and listen to the gale force winds whipping through the canyon's walls. Gradually, you ascend toward Moose Basin Divide through open valleys, where runoff waterfalls empty into a creek below. This area is an amazing spot to camp. Good water access and 360 degree views. After camping here on the first night, one is well-rested for the very steep switchbacks up to Moose Basin Divide. But before one gets there, they are blessed with the opportunity of seeing a very unique geological area where straight cliffs have been cut out by trickling waterfalls. It looks more like something you'd see in the Smokies than what you'd see in the northern Tetons. Then come the switchbacks (some are only 20 feet in length) to Moose Basin Divide. Upon reaching what appears to be the top, the scenery changes dramatically from valley floors to views of jagged peaks (Moran and Grand) to the south. From here you find out you still have 2.5 miles up to the divide. Finally getting there is well worth the hike because of the unsurpassable scenes of the jagged Tetons to the south, Moose Mountain to the west, and Yellowstone's Pitchstone Plateau to the north. On the descent down the divide and into Owl Creek Canyon the views are equally as breathtaking as those from the top. Out of all the hikes I have done in the Tetons, this had to be one of the most unique areas, with the formations of an amphitheater for giants all around you. Amazing. You continue to descend rather steeply and quickly into Owl Creek, so watch your footing. Before you know it, you've hiked six miles because the trail virtually carries you the entire way. You have no choice but to run at some spots. Coming up this trail in reverse with full packs has the potential to be a nightmare. Soon, you're in dense forested areas, making occasional fords over Owl Creek. It would be good to wear water shoes for most of this trail. After passing through the thick forest, the canyon opens up into a massive valley covered with willows and cottonwoods, inevitably making it a haven for wildlife. Although we didn't see any in our excursion, this area would be ideal to set up a tripod and make a day of watching out for good wildlife shots. Soon after the immense valley, you make your way to Elk Ridge. You hike along this ridge with steep falls below, so be careful. We hiked over this part of the trail in a storm, so we constantly had to make sure we were watching our footfalls. Eventually you loop back around to where you started. To say the least, this hike was amazing because of its solitude and its very unique scenery.