Paintbrush/Cascade in Grand Teton


Nov 23, 2016
All - thanks for all of your help in assisting me and my group in planning our trip.

Leading up to the trip we thought we would need ice axes for the Divide (we were permitted for Aug 3-5). When we went to the Ranger station in Moose/Visitor Center on the 2nd they showed us a picture and said "eh you do not really need them if you do not want them". I would have advised differently after seeing what we saw on the 3rd. But I'll get there soon.

We spent 2 days in Jackson getting some supplies, our permit, enjoying Jackson, driving around GTNP, etc. The first night we hiked up to Holly Lake and stayed at the 2nd campsite. The last 1-2 hour push was tough on a few of us being from lower land areas (NY/NJ/IN). One friend was from Reno and he was more used to the higher elevations and did a bit better. Anyways I think for our group it was wise to stop at Holly Lake and make it a 2 night/3 day trip. We took our time, and I think we were on the trail for about 5-6 hours before settling into camp. The camp itself was nice, close proximity to water. It was just SUPER windy at night. You would hear the wind pick up by the lake and within 5-10 seconds you would hear it come towards your tent and rattle it like crazy!

Day 2 was a shorter day but strenuous to go up and over the divide and back down. At the Divide and leading up to it there were several snow/ice fields we crossed and spoke to others. They all suggested the "high route" as there was some ice but some well worn tracks to help go over the Divide. When we approached we saw some people trying to go over by scrambling up a ton of loose rock on the right side of the Divide. Then we saw a trail runner literally just run up the snow wall up and over the Divide. So we looked around, had a talk, and decided to follow the trail runner up and over the snow/ice. We went VERY slow and it took about 30-45 mins for the group to cross. In the end we made it, enjoyed some views at the top, one person in our group made the summit of the unnamed peak and then we hurried down as it was getting super windy.

After passing Lake Solitude we stopped off in the Upper Cascade Fork area for another night of camping. The site was off to the left near the running water. Very little wind at this site and great access to running water. However the lack of any wind really let the bugs fly free that night. This day we probably spent another 5 or 6 hours on the trail.

The last day was a nice walk out of the park for the most part. The last 2-3 miles were packed with a lot of day trippers to the park which one should expect on a Saturday in August.

Here is a Garmin Adventure for our trip all said and done full of photos and our trip GPX details:

In all we really enjoyed the trip. It is a very well maintained trail, other than the first 2-3 miles on each end you really only see a handful of people each day. The only drawback was the lack of real wildlife - saw a deer up close but I have those living in my backyard in NJ! No elk, bear, etc but hey that's nature so nothing can be done. After years of camping and hiking it was great to finally go backpacking and I look forward to more adventures in the future!


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