Teton Crest July


New Member
Apr 28, 2021
I'm planning on doing a three day/two night hike in the Tetons in late July this year. I was really proactive and booked permits the minute they opened. The problem-I'm an idiot and booked death canyon instead of death canyon shelf. Now I'm looking at potential pivots in case I can't get walk up permits for the Sunday night we want to be on the shelf. We do have a permit secured for the second night in the south fork cascade zone.

My question is around the outside the park alternatives, specifically Alaska Basin. How soon outside of the park (coming from the shelf) are there viable camping sites? I don't mind extending the first day to the basin but don't want it to turn into a 15 mile day and I'm hoping there are some areas just outside the park border where one could camp. Alternatively, I'm looking at fox creek pass for the first night, but that extends the second day perhaps more than I'd like. We're also photographers and will be traveling with some photo equipment so if there are areas that are especially better for night photography I'm willing to push hard to make it to those sites. Thanks in advance for any help!


Dec 11, 2015
@dgosche Welcome to the site.

You have a few options. If you haven't already done so, call the Park and see if there are any campsites available on the Shelf to switch your permit to. Not likely but can't hurt.

Stopping at Fox Creek Pass is a good option. The leg from there to South Fk Cascade is long but very doable.

Assuming that you are hiking up Death Canyon, you could take the Alaska Basin trail that runs west of Static Peak and drop into Alaska Basin from the east. This will shave several miles off but it is a fairly arduous climb up. Also, you will miss hiking the Shelf which is a big miss.

Another option, and this is heavily dependent on good weather and available water is to camp just north of Mount Meek Pass. You will be heavily exposed along the trail but can reduce the exposure by dropping down west of the TCT a bit and using a few trees or large boulders for protection. There are also pockets of trees east of the TCT here but I can't remember what kind of protection they may provide.

As far as Alaska Basin campsites, once you are below Sheep Steps, and pass the last trail switchback to the east, it's about 1/2 mile to South Fk Teton Creek. There are a few camp areas along this stretch.

Sounds like a great trip.


New Member
Apr 28, 2021
@dgosche Welcome to the site.
Thanks for the reply! We are starting at the top of the aerial tram. It is that area just past Mount Meek Pass that I'm most interested in trying. 3D mapping shows a few groupings of trees but as you mentioned, otherwise it seems pretty exposed. It may be a game day type decision when we get there. I appreciate the thoughtful suggestions.
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