Since I was only about 70 miles from the Tetons, and given I was already acclimated to the elevation after spending the previous six weeks in Wind River Mountains, I figured I might as well try my luck at obtaining a walk-up permit. Arriving after the Visitor Center closed, I spent the night staring at my objective.
The Park holds two thirds of their permits for walk ups. Those are pretty good odds. I arrived at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center an hour before it opened in hopes I’d be first in line, which I easily accomplished. By pushing my start date back I day, I scored the permit I desired. The ranger talked me into exploring Leigh Lake while I was waiting to get started.
With a hike of only a couple miles, I even brought my chair (Moon Lence).
There are many trailheads from which you can access the Teton Crest Trail. I based my itinerary on one provided by a friend; she’d recommended starting from the Coal Creek Trailhead, west of Teton Pass on Highway 22. I rarely hike one-way routes because of the transport logistics but I decided to make an exception for this opportunity. Rather than arrange for a taxi, I decided I’d try to hitch the 40-50 miles. I quickly secured a ride from the String Lake parking area to the junction of North Jenny Lake and Teton Road. Although there was plenty of traffic, no one seemed interested in giving me a lift. I’d noticed a painter at the Cathedral Group turnout. Before calling a taxi I approached this gentleman but he was planning to spend the day in that location. However, another guy had stopped to chat and offered me a lift. Richard ended up being my angel, giving me a ride all the way to the trailhead, completely out of his way. We had great conversation and he relieved me of so much worry. Thanks again Richard! (p.s. I never received your email, try adding a “1” to the address I gave you or use firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Much of the Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) borders the Jedediah Smith Wilderness with the trail bouncing in and out of the Park boundaries. My first 8-10 miles were outside the Park giving me campsite freedom the first night.
To be continued . . .
- Date(s) Hiked: 8/28-8/29/17
- Mileage: About 5 round trip to Leigh Lake from parking; about 8 from Coal Creek trailhead to Moose Creek
- Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown as preserving battery; however, it was a continuous climb from the Coal Creek trailhead to Moose Creek.
- Trail Conditions:
- Tree obstacles: minimal
- Overgrowth: wildflowers
- Signage: good
- Terrain: decent switchbacks
- Water: Plentiful as trail borders Coal Creek to Mesquite Creek to Moose Creek
- Camping: Plentiful
- Solitude: High! Only saw a few day hikers on the Coal Creek Trail. There were LOTS of people around String and Leigh Lakes during the day but at night my campsite was private and I only heard one saw a couple with a canoe in the distance.
- Bugs: Nearly non existent this late in season
- Precip: There was a thunderstorm mid day while I was hiking the Coal Creek trail.
- Temp: It was 42 overnight at Leigh Lake and 52 at Moose Creek.
- Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 3+ cherries (out of 5)
- Grand Teton National Park (GTNP)
- GTNP Permits
- Caribou-Targhee National Forest
- Jedediah Smith Wilderness