I don't even know where to begin with this hike. It is beyond words. Truly a magnificent experience that I hope many of you will have the chance to experience! Let me start with the facts. This hike is hard, and I mean really hard. 4100 foot elevation gain one way: from about 7000-11000 feet over the coarse of about 12 miles. Specifically 12 if you take the longer round-about route up and the very steep face route down. The middle of the hike is brutal. I'd have to say this is the hardest hike I have done so far. Yet, with all that in mind, I can confidently say this is by far one of my favorite hikes I have ever done!!
There is so much about this hike that makes it so good! The views of endless peaks and vast valleys are by far the biggest drawing factor. The beautiful streams and forests are another, the wildlife, rich history locked in the rocks, even the great people you meet on the trail, it is all worth the pain!
This was an all day hike, we took our time going up, spent about an hour at the top, and we stopped a few times on the way down. I highly recommend you follow suit with our path and take the 7 mile trail (accessed from the 2nd-to-last parking lot in Teton Canyon) and come down the steep way (5 mile trail), which is far faster than going back the way you came in. The weather today was perfect, temperatures in the 50s at the top and a steady but light wind. Little to no clouds, and clear, smokeless skies, made for the absolute best viewing at the top! The Tetons are notorious for rapidly changing weather and sub freezing temperatures hitting without warning. Plan accordingly.
We had few animal encounters, but bear and cougar are present in this range so take necessary precautions as always.
This hike isn't for the faint at heart. It is challenging, physically and mentally. It is very much worth all that for what it provides to you! I am so grateful to have finally made it up there to see with my own eyes what this hike has to offer!
Here are a few pictures from today, enjoy!!