Death Canyon Loop is a 25.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Moose, Wyoming that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September.

Length25.5 miElevation gain6,020 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingBird watchingRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (4)
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Getting There

Grand Teton National Park charges a fee to enter that varies by vehicle or if entering on foot, horse, or bike. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/fees.htm. **Sleep in a lake-dotted basin and scale an 11,000-foot peak on this 28.2-mile lollipop loop in Grand Teton National Park** Want the secret to finding classic Tetons scenery crammed with craggy peaks, wildflowers, and mountain lakes—but not the crowds? Drive south nine miles from the easily accessed trails circling Cascade and Paintbrush Canyons to this less-traveled, 26.2-mile lasso loop. Start at the Death Canyon trailhead and hike west. The first mile climbs gently through conifers to a 7,202-foot perch overlooking the deep blues of Phelps Lake. Descend the next mile to the mouth of Death Canyon, where black bears gorge on juicy huckleberries in late summer, and continue west into the canyon on switchbacks that gain more than 1,100 feet in a two-mile stretch to a small patrol cabin. Scan the sheer granite walls for rock climbers scaling some of the park’s most renowned multi-pitch climbs. From the ranger cabin, go straight at the three-way junction for another 4.5 miles along the gently inclined valley floor, which brims with Indian paintbrush, columbine, and monkshood in July. Sleep in the upper reaches of the canyon near the edge of the Death Canyon camping zone. The next day, hike half a mile to the head of the valley and start the .8-mile, 700-foot push to Fox Creek Pass at 9,600 feet. As you climb higher, the surrounding cliffs transition from granite to pocketed walls of limestone, remnants of the ancient sea that once submerged the area. Cruise north from the pass along the Death Canyon Shelf, a broad, boulder-riddled ledge with skybox views of the Tetons. Three miles later, cross 9,726-foot Mt. Meek Pass and descend the Sheep Steps switchbacks to campsites in Alaska Basin, which neighbor lakes, granite slabs, and wildflower nooks. You’ll tick off 12.9 miles on the last day: Hike north about a mile, then turn right for a 2.2-mile climb that leaves the lush basin for stark, high-alpine terrain. At 10,550-foot Buck Mountain Divide, contour 1.1 miles southeast. Drop your pack on Static Peak Divide for a half-mile out-and-back to Static’s 11,303-foot summit. Descend 4.1 miles through whitebark pines to the cabin and return to the trailhead. INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/things2know.htm. PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/back.htm CONTACT Grand Teton National Park, (307) 739-3300; nps.gov/grte/ Description & waypoints by BACKPACKER Magazine.

None. Bring what you need for a true wilderness camping experience!

Grand Teton National Park, (307) 739-3300; nps.gov/grte/

Even in the dead middle of summer, make sure to bring plenty of warm layers and a sleeping bag that is rated for below freezing temperatures. While the day temperatures can be mild to warm, as soon as the sun drops so does the temperature and night times can be very cold. Bring plenty of food and water as well as water purification tablets or a water filter. Make sure to have a compass, whistle, first-aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, watch, camera, and other backcountry necessities.

Once you're inside Grand Teton National Park, drive south nine miles from the easily accessed trails circling Cascade and Paintbrush Canyons to this less-traveled, 28.2-mile lasso loop. Start at the Death Canyon trailhead and hike west.

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Reviews (32)
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Activities (26)
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bennett ward
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Hiking

Heavy traffic.

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Ben Hague
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James Mckeown
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Hiking

I had originally planned to do this trail over three days starting around 3pm on day one but after the first night I was feeling confident and decided to complete the entire loop by the night. 13 straight hours of hiking later i arrived at my car as the sun set. lovely hike that I highly recommend. BRING BEAR SPRAY!!!!! and be bear aware. I saw 4 bears on this hike and one of them walked very close to me then ran off just as was about to spray it.

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Rachel Solnick
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HikingNo shade

Great loop BUT, it was ALL HAZE due to California wildfires, couldn’t see a thing :(

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Daniel Santos
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Hiking

Accidentally saved the recording while on top of Static Peak. See second recording or add 6000 ft elevation gain and 21.5 miles to complete loop.

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Paul Nickisch
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Hiking
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Joseph Mecha
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Hiking

Granite Canyon TH - Marion Lake - Death Canyon Shelf - Death Canyon - Phelps Lake - Granite Canyon TH WILDFLOWERS!!!

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Aaron Bass
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Hiking

Mid-August trip over 3 days (late afternoon start on day 1). All I kept repeating out loud over and over and over and over was how ridiculous the beauty was. Everything about it was spectacular. It is pretty challenging in spots, esp if you are NOT a minimalist. I am not - but I am reconsidering this lol. This loop isn’t as popular as the Cascade canyon loop but that is okay with me. This loop doesn’t disappoint.

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Aidan Caldwell
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BackpackingSnow

This hike was incredible. Strenuous but very doable if you are prepared. Did it over three days and two nights, the first night being spent on the Death Canyon Shelf and the other on Alaska Basin Shelf. Camping might be easier to find in the actual Alaska Basin; although we were able to find a great spot on the shelf, there weren't many spots to pitch a tent. From the end of the Alaska Basin Shelf to descending the switchbacks after Static Peak a GPS was needed as the trails were 80% covered in snow. Another note, from the end of the Alaska Basin Shelf through to the switchbacks after Static, there were several very sketchy traverses across snow ledges. Without the snow, these would be no problem. But since the trails had several feet of snow on them an ice axe and extreme caution was required, the falls under these ledges were high consequence. I would highly recommend this trail as long as you are checking with the rangers on the status of the trails!

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Haley P
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Backpacking
First to Review

Beautiful hike to do in the summertime, the flowers were in full bloom! We did this loop over two days and one-night camping in the backcountry. It was strenuous, especially over two days, so pack well and be prepared. If I was to do the hike again I would take an extra two days for the whole loop. You also get to see the Grand Tetons and the familiar landscape from behind - a view that most visitors to the park don't get to see, so it's definitely rewarding! There is also plenty of water along the trail, so just remember to bring a water filter or chlorine tablets and you're good to go. Do it!

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Todd Herrenbruck
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Tk Weber
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Robert Chamberlin
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an arbitrary figment
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Paul Spaeth
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Todd Fredrick
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Anders Carlson
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Mountain biking
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Johnny Alhalel
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Madiso Lamb
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Shelby Conner
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Chris Kramolis
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Mike Hammond
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Jeremy Jessop
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dan chung
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Sabrina D
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Byron Burks
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Byron Burks
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Ben Williams
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seb harty
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Jason Gardner
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