Plan a runcation in Jackson Hole this summer and explore one of these top four epic trail runs in Grand Teton National Park.
If the Teton Mountains don’t already top your list for summer running destinations, they absolutely should. With the town of Jackson resting at an elevation of 6,200 feet and the Grand Teton at nearly 13,800 feet above sea level, trail running opportunities are endless and diverse in difficulty. While there is an abundance of trail running suitable for novice runners, this guidebook showcases the four most epic trail runs that should top any seasoned trail runner’s to-do list.
Topping this list of epics, the Teton Crest Trail is arguably the most coveted adventure anywhere in the Tetons – if not the entire West Coast. It ranks up there with the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim, the Adirondack Great Range, and of course the infamous Wonderland Trail. The views are nothing short of spectacular, and never in short supply. The fastest known time (FKT) as of 2019 is just under 7 hours and 30 minutes, though most runners should allocate an entire day and a minimum of 10 hours for the feat.
Not ready to commit to the full 40-mile Teton Crest Route? The Paintbrush and Cascade Canyon Loop is just shy of 20 miles and explores stunning, vibrant canyons nestled along the northern slopes of the Cathedral Group. It also shares some miles with the final leg of the Teton Crest Trail – arguably one of the most scenic sections. What makes this section of trail unique is that “at 10,700’, [Paintbrush Divide] is one of the highest points you can reach on a maintained trail in Grand Teton National Park,” according to TetonHikingTrails.com.
If you have two vehicles, the Death Canyon and Static Peak Shuttle is equally as epic as the Paintbrush and Cascade Canyon Loop. At 18 miles in length, this run begins with a popular overlook of Phelps Lake, then climbs its way through Buck Mountain Pass, quickly skirting along the edge of Albright, Static, and Buck Mountain Peaks. With an abundance of wildlife, summer wildflowers, and even wild edibles, this run is a must-do for any trail runner looking for a challenge. The route is best completed east to west, and both Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee Resorts are just a quick drive from their respective trailheads.
Last but not least, Granite Canyon via Rendezvous Mountain is an epic point-to-point that utilizes the Aerial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. After reaching the 10,400-foot summit, this run descends off the top of Rendezvous Mountain and into Granite Canyon. In total, it descends nearly 5,000 feet and climbs less than 1,000 feet over 12 miles. For the most adventurous trail runners out there, you could skip the tram and climb the Wildflower Trail, then the Cirque Trail to the Summit of Rendezvous Mountain – climbing the 5,000' on foot over a mere 6-miles to start things off!