Teton Crest Trail: Death Canyon Shelf to Alaska Basin

Grand Teton National Park

A splendid day along the Teton Crest in which you reach peaceful Alaska Basin

Hiking Easy

Distance
6.8 km
Ascent
203 m
Descent
180 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.9 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
13˚
VIEW ON MAP
Teton Crest Trail: Death Canyon Shelf to Alaska Basin Map

Description

If one chooses to camp at Alaska Basin, day two of the Teton Crest will be nice and relaxing! An allure of camping in Alaska Basin is that it's located in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area, meaning a backcountry permit is not required. This is key given that obtaining permits for the Teton Crest Trail can often be quite difficult. Another plus is the beauty of Alaska Basin. There are numerous little alpine lakes surrounded by big peaks. A few of the lakes can act as swimming holes, too!

Where you decided to camp along the Death Canyon Shelf for night one will determine exactly how far you must travel to reach Alaska Basin. Regardless of where you start, the trail features open vistas throughout, letting you take in the spectacular views around you. Rushing through this part can be tempting given that every step brings you closer to the Grand!

The scenery changes dramatically as you finally depart the Death Canyon Shelf. Once you pass Death Canyon, the views of Alaska Basin open up. This area is a thing of beauty. The Basin is nestled beneath huge peaks and feels like a lush wonderland.

Camping options are plentiful in Alaska Basin. Most campers choose to camp near Basin Lakes or further on at Sunset Lake. You cannot go wrong with either spot. Camping in the Basin is awesome as you will likely get to see the evening alpenglow on the peaks surrounding Basin Lakes.

Given the large size of the Basin, you may encounter others camping in the area. The spots are pretty spread out, though.

Another plus of camping in the Basin is the opportunity to explore the side trails that depart from the area. One popular side trip is to Static Peak Divide (documented in a separate FATMAP Adventure). This is one of the highlights of the Teton Crest Trail. It'd also be worth it to come back to this area and use Alaska Basin as a base camp, and then explore from there!

Overall, day two is not as long mileage-wise as the other days, but it still packs in the views. Leaving Death Canyon Shelf is tough, but Alaska Basin quickly compensates for the beauty! The trail only gets better as you make your way towards Hurricane Pass and the Grand.

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Features

  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area