As one of the most scenic hikes in North America, the Teton Crest Trail (TCT) offers spectacular views of towering granite peaks, glacier-carved canyons, glistening alpine lakes, and wildflower meadows. This 39.5 mi trail cuts through Grand Teton National Park, the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness Area, and two national forests, rarely dropping below 7,900 ft.
In terms of wildlife, the Grand Teton Mountains are home to moose, bison, black and grizzly bears, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and many other species. As Yellowstone National Park is less than an hour's drive away, consider combining your time in the Tetons with a few days of exploring Yellowstone's geologic wonders.
July to September are generally the best months to hike the TCT. Snowpack is a key factor you should consider when planning your trip, as snow can linger on passes late in the year. At elevations below 6,600 ft, the snow has generally melted by mid June. For higher elevations along the trail, the snow melts progressively into mid July. Snow and rain can fall at any time of the year here, so be prepared for cold and wet conditions.
You may need an ice axe and microspikes to safely cross the Fox Creek, Hurricane, and Paintbrush Divide passes depending on snowfall and the time of year. Always check with the Grand Teton National Park Service for weather conditions before starting your hike.
The TCT is located in Grand Teton National Park, around 4.5 mi from Jackson, Wyoming. We recommend renting a car once you arrive at Jackson Hole Airport. That way you can easily drive to pick up your permit at one of the permit offices and make your way to the trailhead.
As this is a point to point hike, you'll need to organize some type of transport to get you between the two trailheads. Plan on leaving your car where you'll end the hike at the String Lake Trailhead and have another car (local taxi, Uber, or private shuttle) take you to the Phillips Bench Trailhead where you'll start the hike. Hitchhiking to the trailhead is also an option, depending on your comfort level.