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Teton Crest Trail: Rendezvous Mountain to Death Canyon Shelf

Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Hole

Open vistas abound on the beautiful first day of the famous Teton Crest Trail.

Hiking Moderate

16 km
605 m
899 m
4-5 hrs
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
3.2 km
Teton Crest Trail: Rendezvous Mountain to Death Canyon Shelf Map

The Teton Crest Trail is one of the most spectacular trails in the world for a reason. The first day lives up to the hype as it features open views for most of the way.


Starting the Teton Crest Trail is unique as you have the opportunity to take the Teton Village tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain (where the trailhead is located). Not having to climb several thousand feet with a full pack at the onset is a relief, although you will still have to put in miles to make it to first night's camp. Definitely spend some time on the top of Rendezvous given the incredible 360-degree view. Not many hikes in the world start with a better view. You can even see the Grand Teton from afar. It is an amazing feeling to know you will be walking right across the Grand in just a few days.

The trail descends from Rendezvous Mountain, featuring fields of wildflowers (depending on the time of year) and then transitions to a gentle climb to Marion Lake. The Teton Crest has one of the highest concentrations of wildflowers anywhere! Another plus is the variety of the flowers; there are Lupine, Indian Paintbrush and much more!

You can camp at Marion Lake—a relaxing destination—but many choose to continue onto the Death Canyon Shelf as it isn't much further and has incredible views.

The second half of day one is simply fantastic. This section features steady 360-degree views following Fox Creek Pass. The trail is well-marked here and is relatively flat.

Traversing the Death Canyon Shelf is a memorable experience. Walking above Death Canyon for miles, you get wonderful views in and around the canyon. Take your time through this section, as it should not be rushed. With every step you get closer to the Grand.

There are numerous designated campsites located on the Shelf, so choose whichever one piques your interest. The sites are relatively spaced out and most have wonderful views of Death Canyon and beyond. Pay attention to streams as there is not a ton of water to be found on the Shelf. There are sites near the beginning and end of the Shelf so the amount of miles you'd like to walk the next day may be a factor in choosing your site. Overall, you cannot go wrong with the sites here. Watching the sunset and seeing the alpenglow hit the Grand is the icing on the cake for day one.

All in all, day one on the Teton Crest isn't too strenuous, but the trail gets steeper going forward. Despite being relatively flat, the views are fantastic, and they only get better as you advance on the Teton Crest.



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between June and September


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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area