By Michael Lanza

On my first backpacking trip on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, camped on Death Canyon Shelf, a broad, boulder-strewn and wildflower-carpeted bench at 9,500 feet, I awoke to the sound of heavy clomping outside my tent. I unzipped the tent door to investigate—and saw a huge bull elk standing just outside my nylon walls.

Watching the sunset from a campsite in the North Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Watching the sunset from a campsite in the North Fork Cascade Canyon on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.
” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?fit=683%2C1024&ssl=1″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?resize=432%2C648&ssl=1″ alt=”Watching the sunset from a campsite in the North Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.” class=”wp-image-36411″ width=”432″ height=”648″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?w=800&ssl=1 800w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?resize=768%2C1152&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-090-A-campsite-on-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P.jpg?resize=683%2C1024&ssl=1 683w” sizes=”(max-width: 432px) 100vw, 432px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Watching the sunset from a campsite in the North Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

As I’ve come to learn over more than 20 trips to the Tetons since that first one three decades ago, that elk encounter symbolized just one of several compelling reasons why every backpacker should move the Teton Crest Trail to the top of their to-do list: the wildlife. Where it occurred illustrates another reason: After years of backpacking all over the United States—including the 10 years I spent as a field editor for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog—Death Canyon Shelf is still one of my all-time favorite backcountry campsites.

And I still consider the Teton Crest Trail one of the 10 best backpacking trips in America. It’s the one I keep going back to again and again (most recently in August 2019). I think the five reasons I lay out below will give you insights into questions you might have about this classic hike—and inspire you to go do it.

But know this important planning detail: The park begins accepting permit applications at recreation.gov on the first non-holiday Wednesday in January at 8 a.m. Mountain Time, or Jan. 5, 2022. Submit your application then, because most campsites along the TCT that are available to reserve for summer dates will disappear quickly—typically within hours or even under an hour. The park only issues reservations for about one-third of permits in advance (and only through May 15, although most reservations get claimed before then)—leaving two-thirds available each night during the hiking season for people seeking walk-in permits (which can be obtained no more than one day in advance of starting a trip). But demand makes walk-in permits hard to get.

https://www.mansbrand.com/a-machine-learning-algorithm-just-found-301-additional-planets-in-kepler-data/

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