Grand Teton Lower Saddle

Grand Teton National Park

Epic trek to the saddle in between the Middle and Grand Teton.

Hiking Extreme

Distance
19 km
Ascent
1.5 km
Descent
1.5 km
Duration
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.1 km
High Point
3.5 km
Gradient
19˚
Grand Teton Lower Saddle Map

If you are looking for a thrilling day hike in the Tetons, you have found the right adventure. Trekking to the Lower Saddle between the Middle and Grand Teton is not for the faint of heart. It requires endurance and commitment. Yet, the entire journey is extremely rewarding, as the views start early and get better throughout.

Description

Starting off with a gentle ascent, you work your way to the Valley Trail junction. Along the way, look back to the valley for expansive views. Once you ascend a few gentle switchbacks, you step into an alpine wonderland after veering left into Garnet Canyon. The Middle Teton looms above you as you traverse through the Canyon. Take some extra time to marvel at the grandeur of the Middle Teton.

This section of the route requires some scrambling over large boulders, requiring full attention and presence. The trail then toughens once you get past "The Meadows," but the sense of adventure grows with each step.

The elevation really picks up from here on out but the adrenaline keeps you going. The trail is clear most of the way and the open vistas are simply awesome. The higher you ascend, the more you get a sense for your perspective in the Tetons. When you think it can't get harder, you must use a fixed rope to pull yourself up a steep rock wall to reach the Lower Saddle.

Reaching the Lower Saddle is a gratifying moment. Nothing but pure joy! So much work has been put in, and now the view is the payoff. Take it all in and then head back down whenever you are ready.

This route is perfect for someone who is not a serious climber but is looking for something more challenging than a standard on-trail day hike. The route goes through multiple ecosystems and features a nice combination of on and off trail hiking. Another plus is you encounter some individuals climbing the Grand, getting a sense for their demanding task. This is definitely one of the best hikes the Teton Range has to offer.

Difficulty

Extreme

Scrambling up mountains and along technical trails with moderate fall exposure. Handholds are necessary to navigate the trail in its entirety, although they are not necessary at all times. Some obstacles can be very large and difficult to navigate, and the grades can often be near-vertical. The challenge of the trail and the steepness of the grade results in very strenuous hiking. Hikes of this difficulty blur the lines between "hiking" and "climbing".

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

July, August, September

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area