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|.|| Garnet Canyon
Includes Lupine Meadows Trailhead, The Meadows,
The Caves, The Moraine Camp, Teton Glacier, The Rope, Lower Saddle ___________________________________________________________________
Trailhead: Lupine Meadows Trailhead
Distance: 3.8 miles (one way) to Garnet Canyon Boulder Field
Elevation Gain: 2,700 vertical feet (See Map at Bottom of Page)
The Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park is reached by taking the Lupine Trailhead, and gains approximately 2,700 vertical feet in less than five miles. Aside from being an extremely scenic hike, the Garnet Canyon Trail is also the main trail used for mountain climbers who are intending to climb Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton and Disappointment Peak and more.
Finding the Trailhead
To reach Garnet Canyon, the best choice of trailhead is the Lupine Meadows Trailhead, that is found just south of the South Jenny Lake Area. As you are driving south along the Teton Park Road, the turn-off to
Lupine Meadows is located less than a mile past the South Jenny Lake Junction sign.
The road that takes you to Lupine Meadows Trailhead is to your right, and there is an obvious sign. You will cross a bridge, and drive along a gravel road for less than a mile, until you reach a dead-end. The actual trailhead is found at the south end of the large parking area.
Lupine Meadows Trailhead (mile 0.0)
The trail starts off very level as it works its way through a pleasant forest, and after approximately one and a half miles, it begins to climb fairly abruptly in elevation as it begins to head straight west.
Bradley Lake / Taggart Lake Trail Junction (mile 2.0)
At approximately mile 2.0 you will encounter the Bradley Lake / Taggart Lake Trail Junction. Stay right to continue on towards Garnet Canyon. Shortly after this trail junction, the trail will take you onto the steep, open east slope of Disappointment Peak, as you will then encounter several large switchbacks that help you more easily gain in vertical elevation. You will periodically hike through some small patches of pines, which are welcome due to the shade these trees provide to you.
Amphitheater Lake Trail Junction (mile 2.9)
Approximately three miles into your hike along the Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park you will encounter the Amphitheater Lake Trail Junction. Stay left at this junction to continue on to Garnet Canyon. In fact, in just a few hundred yards from this junction you will enter this famous canyon, and you will begin heading straight west, directly towards Middle Teton.
Garnet Canyon (mile 3.1)
Once the trail enters Garnet Canyon, it will gradually climb in elevation as it heads straight west. You will enjoy great views of the eastern prairie of Jackson Hole, as well as terrific views of Nez Perce Peak directly to the south. The dominating view is of Middle Teton, as it sits at the head of Garnet Canyon, and becomes more and more visible as you hike farther along the Garnet Canyon Trail.
The more west you go, as you wrap underneath the south slope of Disappointment Peak, the better the view of Middle Teton becomes. The Garnet Canyon Trail will continue to gain in vertical elevation the entire time, but at a fairly gradual rate. There are a few switchbacks farther up the Garnet Canyon Trail as it approaches what is known as "The Boulder Field".
Middle Teton rests at the head of Garnet Canyon, and dominates the skyline to the west as you hike along the Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park.
The Boulder Field (mile 3.8)
The Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park is then met by a gigantic boulder field at approximately 3.8 miles into your hike, where you will see a sign that says "Platform Campsites / Lower Saddle".
For most visitors who are simply wanting a nice easy hike into a very scenic canyon in Grand Teton National Park, this is typically the end of the road. The boulder field requires some route finding skills, as well as some basic rock climbing skills.
This expansive boulder field rests at about 9,500 feet above sea level, which is just over 2,700 vertical feet higher than Lupine Meadows Trailhead.
Early in the season, there is usually a lot of snow in this section of Garnet Canyon, as well as the rest of the hike to The Meadows and Lower Saddle. These snow fields can linger into July, and when they are completely covering the trail with hundreds of inches of snow early in the season, this snow is known as "Thank God Snow" because it makes hiking over the rocky terrain much easier.
"The Boulder Field" is typically the end of the road for visitors hiking along the Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park who are not intending on mountain climbing.
This is a view of Garnet Canyon beyond the Boulder Field in Grand Teton National Park, with Middle Teton towering directly above the head of Garnet Canyon in Grand Teton National Park.
The Meadows (mile 4.7)
Once you've navigated the Boulder Field along the Garnet Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park, the trail becomes quite a bit more "tame" as it enters a gorgeous open area just east of Middle Teton, which is the towering mountain towering above you to the west. This area that rests directly under Middle Teton is known as "The Meadows", and is one of three camp zones for mountain climbers.
"The Meadows" is located near the head of Garnet Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, with Middle Teton towering above it to the west. The Meadows is a popular camp zone for mountain climbers.
Spalding Falls (mile 5.0)
From "The Meadows", the trail then begins to work it's way up the steep, rocky slope to the northwest. The trail will initially take you just to the right of Spalding Falls, which is a 100 cascading waterfall that is quite impressive early in the season.
The Caves (mile 5.5)
After the trail takes several switchbacks along a fairly steep, rocky section of the trail, you will encounter what is known as "The Caves". This area, which is at approximately the 10,000 foot level, is another camping zone for mountain climbers. The trail then continues onward and upward as it works its way eventually to the Upper Saddle to the north.
The Moraine Camp (mile 6.2)
The trail continues its vertical elevation gain as it takes you through a rugged, rocky section of the trail. At approximately mile 6.2, you will encounter "The Moraine Camp", which is yet another popular camp zone for Grand Teton National Park mountain climbers interested in climbing Grand Teton. Along this rugged section of the trail, you will enjoy a tremendous view of Middle Teton Glacier to your left (west). The Moraine Camp rests at about 10,800 feet above sea level.
This photo shows you where each of the climbers trails take you once you get to the meadows. The trail to the right takes you to "The Cave", The Moraine Camp, "The Rope" and Lower Saddle. This area is known as The North Fork Camp Zones. The climber's trail to the left takes you to what is known as The South Fork Camp Zones, which is used for climbing South Teton, Cloudveil Dome, Middle Teton, etc.). The Meadows and Platform are located in what is known as The Lower Fork Camp Zones.
"The Rope" (mile 6.9)
As the trail works its way up a glacier moraine created by Teton Glacier on its way to the Lower Saddle, at approximately 6.9 miles from the Lupine Trailhead in Grand Teton National Park, you will reach what is
known as "The Rope". There is a very thick rope that is safely bolted into solid rock, and is used by mountain climbers wishing to reach the Lower Saddle on their way to the summit of Grand Teton.
This rope helps climbers with a class 4+ pitch only about 300 vertical feet below the Lower Saddle, both going up and coming back.
This helpful rope is located at approximately 11,300 feet above sea level.
Approximately 4,800 vertical feet above and 7.0 miles beyond Lupine Meadows Trailhead, you will finally reach the famous Lower Saddle. This great saddle rests between Middle Teton and Grand Teton, and is a popular place for climbers to camp during their attempt at Grand Teton. There is a large "barracks" owned by a mountain climbing guide service that sits on this great saddle, and can only be used by their clients. The Lower Saddle is approximately 11,600 vertical feet above sea level.
This is a view of the Lower Saddle from the Grand Teton side of the saddle. Notice the "barracks" located on the saddle. This is owned and operated by a private mountain climbing guide service.
This photo gives you "the big picture" of where the Garnet Canyon Trail is situated in relation to the surrounding peaks.
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