Grand Teton & Backpacking Newbie - a few questions

Great idea!

Start at the DC trail head and hike as far in to the zone as you can. Preferably one of the last 2 sites. Both sites offer your first look at the Cathedral group (about 8 miles). Day 2 up to Fox Creek Pass then level walking across the shelf, then down in to the Alaska Basin. I prefer to camp near Mirror Lake there. Day 3 up to Buck Mountain Pass, across to Static Peak Divide (grab the summit while you're there, then down and back to the DC trail head.
I much prefer Death Canyon over both Open and Granite Canyons! I could give you more. Hang on.......

Oh, lots of shuttle info too
Death Canyon shelf campsite is one of my all time favorite backcountry sites. It was in the back of my head when you were asking about Cascade/PB loop. I'm glad the subject came up.

Paintbrush Divide: check with the Rangers but don't get scared off. There should not be a lot of snow that would impact your trip at that time of year. There are no guarantees at that altitude but Paintbrush is famous for a reason. The pass is steep and rocky at the top (see pic) but very doable. You are wise to look at alternate routes. The map I posted has several options and others are giving you great suggestions as well. Death Canyon trail can be accessed through Phelps Lake. There is a very nice backcountry camping area there. On the north side of lake there is a famous swimming hole and rock to jump off and swim. That is a good low key option.
Rock at Phelps Lake looking into Death Canyon.

Keep in mind that Static Peak and Buck Mountain are side hikes. Your group should be in good shape if you plan to hit them.

You have a lot of very good options but plenty of time to obsess over them.
I'm not sure how or why anyone would nearly die on a hike through Death Canyon. From the TH it's a short gradual up to Phelps Lake. Then back down to the base of the lake as you hike along the north shore. Then you will hike through some talus and scree through a few switchbacks as you enter the canyon proper. Great spot for lunch along the drainage as the trail levels out. Then it's open easy walking to the campzone.

I love the shelf too. But it may be a bit much for an inexperienced backpacker or if you're trying to keep it a fun easy trip. Camp at the end of the zone in DC day 1. The next morning you'll gain 500+ feet to get to Fox Creek Pass then it's an easy 5 mile hike across the shelf.

You WILL see Buck Mountain Pass and Static Peak Divide if you choose to make this a lollipop loop.

This is an easy trip. Great alternative to Paintbrush. But you won't know about snow levels until late spring at best. If you plan to go late July or after, chances are good that Paintbrush won't give you any issues. Plus, accessing it from Holly Lake (Painbrush Canyon) rather than Going over it clockwise (toward Holly/Paintbrush Canyon) is much easier.
I don't know. My friend didn't elaborate. We were camped in the Weminuche WA in September. I mentioned the Teton Crest next year. He wanted none of it, especially Death Canyon. It's possible that he was confusing another section of the trail with Death Canyon.
No worries. I'm going. As soon as I can get there.
Thanks for your help.

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But it may be a bit much for an inexperienced backpacker or if you're trying to keep it a fun easy trip.
I agree some may want to have a stop in between the shelf depending on fitness level experience schlepping a pack all day.
Believe it or not some do the Paintbrush loop as a day hike. However I would do it as an over-nighter and nothing more.

This summer, my wife and 3 friends did this as a day hike WITH an additional side-excursion (can't recall the name). 24 miles in one day. She agrees that doing it as an overnight with just one night on the trail would be preferable.
Side trip up to Mica? Grab the summit at Woodring? Or the unnamed peak at the divide?....Naaa, that's a quickie, less then 1 1/2 round trip. I'll go with either of the first 2 guesses....or Grizzly Bear Lake. Yeah, that's my guess.
Grizzly Bear...not because they wanted to. Because they took the wrong damn trail!

I believe her route was Jenny Lake Ranger Station TH > Solitude > Paintbrush Divide > Grizzly > Paintbrush Canyon > Jenny Lake Boat Dock (caught the last boat out). 24 miles may be an exaggeration, but it was at least 21 per a ranger that was shocked they did it in one day.
Again thanks for all the feedback and suggestions.
I have one other "co lead" of this group helping to plan so he is going to review this stuff and we are going to talk next week. So may go quiet for a few days but if we have more questions we'll circle back next week. And even with no questions (which is doubtful) we'll let everyone know what we eventually plan
I am back trying to put some finishes touches to see if we can get a permit
@Chuck the Mauler - if we did this loop: - it references sleeping night 2 in the Basin. As you mentioned, no permit is needed there, correct? Would we just find a spot not close to water, but slightly off the trail, etc? Any advice?

Also this is almost 28 miles whereas the other loop is 18 miles. For this area of the park is this mostly flat or is there a lot of incline? Just making sure its feasible to do in 3 days as they mention the last day is 13 miles, and if there is a lot of incline I could see that as an issue.
Water isn't an issue anywhere in the basin. I prefer the Mirror Lake area. In the Tetons you are either going up or down with the exception of the Death Canyon Shelf.

So you're talking 2 nights 3 days? If so, the more leisurely trip would be to camp at Holly Lake or Upper Paintbrush day one. Then day 2 head over the divide and camp in the North Fork Cascade Canyon.
Water isn't an issue anywhere in the basin. I prefer the Mirror Lake area. In the Tetons you are either going up or down with the exception of the Death Canyon Shelf.

So you're talking 2 nights 3 days? If so, the more leisurely trip would be to camp at Holly Lake or Upper Paintbrush day one. Then day 2 head over the divide and camp in the North Fork Cascade Canyon.
Thanks Chuck - yeah that Paintbrush/Cascade loop was the first one I mentioned in the post, my fear was possible snow left over. We are targeting the 1st or 2nd week of August, should be clear by then?

Given potenial weather I wasn't sure if finding something by Death Canyon trailhead to be a safer bet, but I did not see any 3 day/2 night loop in that 18-24 mile range....

And "leisurely trip" is a great description! not here to win any awards, just a few guys who dont live near each other hanging out for the 3 days to catch up, get to some peace and quiet, etc. So I don't want to over tax us, and I know mileage is only part factor, as is gain per day in elevation, weather temps, etc. So just want to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Then apply for the Paintbrush loop trip and if you are denied, I'd simply get a walk up once you arrive. Snow won't be an issue in August.
ok thanks for the help and input. and you suggest the order in which you stated Holly > Cascades and back vs doing Cascades first then holly then back? I remember a post I read someone on a review saying 1 direction had much nicer views as you approached some of the bigger mountains vs them being behind you when you have the best viewpoints. I can try to dig it up but just curious if there is a consensus
I would suggest doing it counterclockwise. Holly Lake or Upper Paintbrush Canyon the first night. The second in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon.
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