Campsite suggestions for Teton Crest Trail


Jan 27, 2016
Looking for suggestions/info on the specific campsites within certain zones of the Teton Crest Trail hike. I will be there late early August. We have permits for a 3 night trip. Starting with the village tram
Night 1: Death Canyon Shelf.
Night 2: South Fork Cascade
Night 3: Holly Lake

If anyone has tips on some good sites within these zones, I'd appreciate it!
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Where are your start and end points? It appears that you are doing a loop. Is that correct?
I've been there all of once, but I can say that far as views go the higher you stay in the south fork cascade canyon, the better. you don't see much lower down, though if you need protection then of course lower is better. I stayed at the horse camp, and the view there was meh to me, but it wasn't too bad all things considered.
Do you mean Holly Lake by chance? That'd be a big out-and-back for three nights.
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This isn't my trip report from a 3 nighter in 2015. There is a 4th night listed but we just hiked on through. If you don't have 2 cars it is worth just paying a shuttle service if you are coming from another area of the country. Just pay the extra money. It will be worth it.

And like it says in the report plan for significant rain storms and check weather before you hit the trail as crazy stuff can happen up there.

You should also look up @Joey 'S stuff. He has some of the coolest trip reports and youtube videos of that area. Many others have posts as well far better than mine.
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Yea sorry, I meant Holly lake.
Death Shelf is pretty open and all spots are more or less created equal. There's a nice grove of trees on the south end I think that might offer some protection from the wind.

I had marmot problems in S Fork Cascade canyon; scout out the area a little bit before you set up your shelter.
N 43° 45.2979 W 110° 49.4570 - awesome S Fork Site

Anything on Death Canyon shelf is great - we stayed here 43.656212, -110.898491 - not as far down as we wanted to go that day due to weather but it was a nice spot
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Where is your start point? Death Canyon, Rendezvous Mountain via the tram, Open or Granite Canyon?
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've done the Teton Crest trail and different versions of it including some of the best side trips of any backpacking trips I've ever done. Once you get to the campzone on the shelf you will walk about 1/2 mile to the first water source (which will be the first water source once you leave Marion Lake). I'd camp there on the left of west side of the trail. That will yield great views of Death Canyon below.

In the South Fork the prettiest sites are at the bottom of Hurricane Pass as soon as you get into the campzone. There is however a spot about half way through the zone on the right side ( drainage side) just past the group site, where you can soak in the water. Much past that, I wouldn't bother.

Holly Lake is awesome, but busy. It's pretty much a group site even though it's technically not designated that way. There are 3 sites there.
On death canyon shelf there's a stream than actually flows in a circle - it loops back under itself and flows into a hole in the rock. Make sure to look for it. Pretty neat
The tram to String Lake with only a 3 night stay is moving pretty good. There will be little time to search for that.....unless of course I gave you the coordinates.
The tram to String Lake with only a 3 night stay is moving pretty good. There will be little time to search for that.....unless of course I gave you the coordinates.

Yea an extra night would give us some flexibility to explore a bit more. Unfortunately, we only have so much vacation time available.
I did Phillips Pass to String Lake in three nights in deep snow and didn't really pull any long days. Just depends on how early you want to get up/get in camp. Know thyself :)
Off course it can be done....but why? Might as well set your ipad up on the treadmill and push start
I think your itinerary is very doable and we did something similar - just split into two parts due to time off restrictions when we lived in the area. One time we camped on Death Canyon Shelf (after coming up the tram like you) and chose a site in the clump of trees in the photo below. It had amazing views (see second photo taken early morning) but also some wind protection with the trees. From memory it was about 1/3 of the way along the shelf.120824 GTNP Teton Crest Trail 09.jpg

120824 GTNP Teton Crest Trail 01.jpg
The next night we camped in South Fork of Cascade Canyon just after we came over Hurricane Pass. We chose a site soon after the pass in the first of the camping zone as it had great views and as we were there by early afternoon, we had time to do the side trail to Avalanche Canyon that afternoon. Here is the sunset view from our tent.

120824 GTNP Teton Crest Trail sunset.jpg

We came out Cascade Canyon that trip but had done the loop over Paintbrush Divide as a separate trip the previous year. We didn't camp at Holly Lake as we had a permit for Upper Paintbrush Canyon. Loved it too but was glad that we did both late August/early September. Bugs were gone, snow was mostly gone and wildflowers were blooming.

Enjoy your time in this very special place.
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