By Michael Lanza

As we backpacked up Paintbrush Canyon on the first day of a three-day family hike on the nearly 20-mile loop of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons in Grand Teton National Park, I kept a close eye on our kids. Our son, Nate, then eight years old, had taken a few backpacking trips with me already; I figured he’d do fine, but still, he was young. Our daughter, Alex, then six, was on just her second backpacking trip. I knew that making it fun for them would be an important first step toward nurturing a love for future wilderness trips in them.

We could hardly have chosen a better multi-day hike than the Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon loop: Offering a highlights reel of Grand Teton National Park’s backcountry, it is probably among the most scenic sub-20-mile hikes in the National Park System—and I’ve taken many of the best over the past few decades, including the 10 years I spent as Northwest Editor of Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.
” data-image-caption=”David Gordon hiking the Teton Crest Trail toward Paintbrush Divide in Grand Teton National Park. Click photo to learn how I can help plan your next trip.
” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?fit=300%2C175&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?fit=900%2C525&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”525″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?resize=900%2C525&ssl=1″ alt=”A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.” class=”wp-image-36373″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?resize=1024%2C597&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?resize=300%2C175&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?resize=768%2C448&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?resize=1080%2C630&ssl=1 1080w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Tet19-111-Tet19-107-David-Gordon-backpacking-the-Teton-Crest-Trail-through-North-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Grand-Teton-N.P..jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />David Gordon backpacking the Teton Crest Trail toward Paintbrush Divide
Did you miss our previous article…
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