By Michael Lanza

As we hiked up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, moments after the path emerged from the forest into a meadow strewn with boulders and still dappled with blooming wildflowers in late August, my friend David turned to look over his shoulder and blurted out, “Oh, wow, look at that view!” Behind us, the sheer north faces of the Grand Teton and Mount Owen towered a vertical mile above us, shooting straight up over the canyon like fireworks (photo above).

By that point on our trip, though, uncontrolled outbursts of awe were occurring several times a day. That’s what it’s like to backpack the Teton Crest Trail.

At the end of August—in many ways, an ideal time to hike there—three friends and I backpacked a 36-mile traverse of Grand Teton National Park, mostly on the Teton Crest Trail. While I’ve backpacked it several times now, it was the first time all three of them had hiked the TCT.

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A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.
” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ width=”900″ height=”599″ src=”″ alt=”A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.” class=”wp-image-35224″ srcset=” 1024w, 300w, 768w, 1080w, 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Jeff Wilhelm backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park. Click photo for my e-guide “The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail.”

Seeing the reactions of these friends—every one of them very experienced backpackers who’ve taken numerous trips with me—to the scenery along this classic trek, reaffirmed my opinion that few multi-day hikes offer so much grandeur almost every step of way like the Teton Crest Trail. But I’ll let the photos in this story make that case.

After at least 20 trips into the backcountry of the Tetons, I can’t get enough of these sharply serrated peaks and deep, cliff-flanked canyons, the alpine lakes and icy creeks, campsites with jaw-dropping views, or the explosion of wildflowers in summer.

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I count the Teton Crest Trail unquestionably among the top 10 best backpacking trips in America, and two camping areas on it—where my friends and I camped on this most-recent trip—among my list of top 25 favorite backcountry campsites of all time (although, honestly, other spots
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