Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin

MODERATE 78 reviews
#13 of 86 trails in

Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin is a 7.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Jackson, Wyoming that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from July until September.

7.3 miles
2,027 feet
Out & Back


trail running





wild flowers


no dogs

Grand Teton National Park P.O. Drawer 170 Moose, WY 83012-0170 Information (307) 739-3300 More information:

3 days ago

Awesome views. In and out with several rest and photo stops. Took 4 1/2 hours

24 days ago

Beautiful hike, moderately strenuous. Lots of wildlife activity. The pools up by the patrol cabin are a great place to rest and eat. One mile of rough road before trail head ( we didn’t risk it in our little rental car). Would absolutely take this trail again.

1 month ago

Wonderful hike! Four of us did this trail on August 16. It was a perfect morning. We started at 7:45 and were the only ones on the trail until we met hikers on our way down. Beautiful climb through the canyon with running river and many waterfalls. Saw a bear cross the trail on the way down, seemed to be quite a bit of bear activity around the trail. Great views of Phelps Lake.
The ride into the trailhead was challenging - the road is full of moguls.

1 month ago

Absolutely loved it! Hiked this on August 16th, 2018. Trailhead parking is limited and advisable for 4 wheel drive only, otherwise, park on turnouts along one mile rough road in. Plenty of black bear activity 2-4 miles into trail with huckleberry and raspberries abounding. Saw moose 50 ft off upper section within 1/2 mike of cabin. Top of trail levels to meadow and flowing stream before junction to Static Peak. Waterfalls are plentiful, and trail is well marked and maintained. Be there before 9:00 and enjoy some beach time at Phelps lake on way out, you won’t regret bringing along a bathing suit!

1 month ago

Took this hike up and around to Phelps Lake. Beautiful scenery and the lake was very refreshing when we arrived. Crossed paths with two bears along the way which was very pleasant to watch.

1 month ago

This trail has everything that you want in a hike. Beautiful things to see the entire way. We saw marmot, moose, wildflowers, waterfalls, a great view of the lake, and a different view of canyon at every turn we made.
That being said, this is definitely a more moderate to hard trail due to the switchbacks, I think we counted 12. A lot of hikers we passed were over night backpackers and said that it was amazing, we only went to the cabin and found that just perfect. Would definitely do it again and would recommend to anyone who is in decent shape.
The road in is quite bumpy like everyone says that it is so be aware and drive slowly until you get to the trailhead.

2 months ago

Driving up to the trailhead of Death Canyon was very bumpy and much suited for an ATV! I was so thankful we had a truck that could handled this terrain. The beginning of the hike was not strenuous because it was a gradual uphill to the gorgeous view of Phelps lake and we saw marmots! From the top, the trail went down hill that lead us to a gradual uphill back up the canyon where we saw bear scat and waterfall! Overall, the hike was great!

2 months ago

We did this hike 7/4-7/5. It was PACKED. There were so many families and large groups hiking. It was overall a beautiful hike with lots of wildflowers. We only saw marmots (one that ate my boyfriend’s shoes!), and were hoping to see other wildlife but didn’t. We passed a ranger who checked our backpacking passes and told us a bit about the canyon and Tetons in general. There was no snow to pass over, just avalanche debris which was fairly easy. The river and waterfalls are beautiful. We had a harder time hiking back out to our car, as it was full sun and 85+ degrees outside. Overall a great hike, but would pick a different one next time we’re in the Tetons.

3 months ago

It was beautiful and had a great view of the lake and waterfall

3 months ago

A few notes on our hike today: 1) the internet makes a lot of talk about bears on this trail which almost dissuaded us from doing it. The only bears I saw were the delicious gummy bears from my pack. That said, we did pass bear dens/scat, but all old. Maybe we came close to some, but definitely scared them off by talking and singing. 2) We met a ranger out on the trail who was the second best view of the day. We actually met multiple rangers along the trail which made us all feel very safe. 3) The road is real bumpy up to the trailhead- my companion got real nauseated so we parked and hiked half a mile to the trailhead. 4) the hike to Phelps Lake overlook is not strenuous and is a gradual uphill to a beautiful view of the lake. The trail then continues on downhill, then another gradual climb back up into the canyon 5) it is currently June 14 as I write this, and we encountered snow blocking the trail. Our handsome ranger friend mentioned above helped us cross, but it’s a little nerve racking as if you slip you are going down an entire mountain. We grabbed sticks for balance since we didn’t have poles, but I recommend poles. 6) Beyond the snow pass is absolutely crazy beautiful and well worth the 1.5 mile uphill to the cabin. 7) We saw plenty of marmot, but literally no other wildlife which was fine by us. 8) the uphill back up to Phelps Lake is probably what gets this hike the moderate rating given the incline. Definitely a workout! 9) We encountered very few people on the trail. Given our fear of bears, we were relieved to see other humans (that’s how infrequently we encountered people). But if you want a solitary hike this is the one! The Phelps Lake trail was definitely crowded by midday, but most were headed down to the lake and not into the canyon. Enjoy! And Ranger Justin if you are reading this my number is...

3 months ago

Good hike. Not too tough with great view of Phelps Lake.

3 months ago

we started at Phelps Lake and hiked up into the canyon and back. Very beautiful views, huge rushing waterfall during the hike! Saw lots of marmots and a female moose. Made it to the top of the waterfall, others on the same day made it to the cabin.

3 months ago

Staying in Teton Village and decided to take a hike. Walked up Death Canyon and enjoyed the amazing views back across the lake. Only made it part way up the trail as the snow covered the track and the weather began to close in. On the way back down, bumped into a lady moose. Excellent. Saw a few marmot types and a Marten. Great fun. Loving the Tetons

4 months ago

We were here 3rd week of May. Hiked to almost top of the waterfall and had to turn around to losing the trail due to snow. Had it been signs, we would have went further. Can’t wait to do it again!! Awesome views!

11 months ago

loved it! did this trail up to the cabin in Aug, it was an amazing day!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I didnt do the whole hike because I did a lot of hiking over the past few days but I think I am giving this a 4 star because of being spoiled with the views of Cascade Canyon. Don't get me wrong, the view of the lake was pretty and the canyon was neat, but if you only got one big hike in you, I would do Cascade

Monday, August 14, 2017

Excellent hike. Takes 4-5 hours, with varied terrain and the trail never gets too steep. The top in the Canyon is well worth the trip, with beautiful walks through meadows, a nice trek of switchbacks along a stream, and a turnoff to go to Phelps Lake if you want a quick dip to cool off after!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The road leading to the trail turns into a very rough dirt road that requires four-wheel drive. Our car couldn't handle it so we had to walk that part to the trailhead. I don't recommend driving the road as it has huge holes, tons of rocks, and big wet areas. The hike is gorgeous and there is a ton of wildlife. We saw a Pika who had made his burrow right off the trail, tons of marmots, and pine marten. The trail is nice and easy to the gorgeous phelps lake lookout, but once you start the canyon it is rough the rest of the way. Cascade Canyon is way easier than this one, but Death Canyon is definitely worth it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Great hike! Family-friendly. We only hiked as far as Phelps Lake Overlook. Incredible view!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Amazing hike. 100 feet of snow or so at the end. The last mile of the drive isn't really 4x4 as much as high clearance.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Only went up to the Phelps Lake lookout (1 mile in); would love to go back and see the cabin, at least!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Insanely verdant trail full of marmots and excellent views. We did get growled at by a mountain lion on the way back at sunset, so be wary that there are bears and mountain lions in the area. We carried bear spray

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Amazing trail! I don't give many hikes a five star rating but this trail is truly amazing. Mountains, lakes, and wild life everywhere you go.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Spent the night in the canyon. Beautiful hike with good views of Phelps Lake and the waterfalls the feed it. Easy hike up to the overlook (1.0 mile). Past that there is a steady climb up switchback that can, and will, tire novices. Once you get to the Patrol Cabin (2.9 miles), the canyon opens up and levels out. Tons of wild life, aside from the typical chipmunks, squirrels, and field mice, our group saw marmot, a moose and her calf, and after waking up we had three mule deer practically in our camp. Other hikers also told us they saw a brown bear cub just after the overlook.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Nicely mixed trail. In mid July starts with an easier hike through lovely flower meadows. Gets to Phelps lake with nice lake views. Then trail gets rockier and steeper. Some nice waterfall viewpoints and saw a bull moose, pika, and marmots along with several birds. At the top of the waterfall are some nice spots along calmer water to have lunch or take a dip. The road to the trailhead is unpaved and very rocky. I parked at the start of it, nearly 2 miles round trip added to the hike. From the trailhead it's about 4 hours round trip hiking at an average speed.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Great trail in early July before the berries ripen. Everything is blooming. Well established trail making it more of a moderate hike than hard. No problem for half day or making it all day with picnic and slow speed so you can take in all the scenery and wildlife.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

I don't agree with the difficulty rating on this. The trail is quite easy if you're in any kind of shape. The varying views as uou climb hogher from the lake are beautiful.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Great walk, lots of wildlife! Past the patrol cabin the shadow of the canyon preserves deep snow until May's end. Excellent trail!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Great hike, we seen a moose on the trail just above the lake in the meadow and a deer near the peak by the creek.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

great a lot of cool water falls and wildlife

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