Tetons, Cascade Canyon to Avalanche Canyon, Snowdrift Lake

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
I did this short, 3 day backpacking trip about a week ago in Grand Teton National Park.



I started out from String Lake, and headed towards Cascade Canyon. The weather was perfect, and the leaves were starting to turn colors as I hiked around Jenny Lake.



The fall colors around Jenny Lake

The trail was surprisingly busy for September, and several people told me about all the moose on the trail. But I had no such luck seeing them. After about 6 miles of hiking, I reached the trail split in Cascade Canyon, and headed up the South Fork.





video of Cascade Canyon

A few miles into the camp zone, I settled on a camp spot I've used a few times before. I set up my tent on a ledge overlooking the river.




Several cascades along the trail

video hiking up the South Fork of Cascade Canyon



Me at camp the first night in South Fork Cascade Canyon

video of camp the first night

Day 2, I was slow to move, and didn't leave camp until almost noon. I leisurely hiked up the canyon, following the stream.


The river below camp




Views from the trail day 2



video of hiking up Cascade Canyon


A few hours later I reached a trail junction , where I headed off towards Avalanche Divide, and enjoyed some spectacular views.


The trail heading up towards Avalanche Divide



Table Mountain




Views from the trail


The Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton

video of hiking up to avalanche divide

I reached the divide, just below the South Teton, and had more great views on the other side, looking down towards Kit and Snowdrift Lakes.


Avalanche Divide


Looking over towards Hurricane Pass



Kit Lake and Snowdrift Lake in the background


The South Fork of Cascade Canyon behind me. My tripod blew over right after this, chipping my lens. Super windy


I originally had bigger plans of climbing some peaks this day, but found myself worn out, and decided to just relax. I sat at the pass for nearly 2 hours, just enjoying the scene.


Along the divide, looking up towards the South Teton

video from the pass

I dropped down to Snowdrift Lake, and set up my tent near its head, up a bit overlooking the water. To the west is a cirque headwall known as "The Wall". It is visible from HWY 89 as you drive past the airport heading north through Grand Tetons NP, and divides the park from Alaska Basin. You can actually get up and walk on the wall.


Kit Lake with the South Teton above it


Me at camp at Snowdrift Lake


The view of Snowdrift Lake from the foot of the lake

video from the foot of the lake


Snowdrift Lake from its west side


I explored the lakeshore the rest of the afternoon. There was still a bit of snow hanging around the lake.




Snowdrift Lake

I found black bear tracks, along with cub tracks at the head of the lake. Great night.



Black Bear tracks in the mud

video of bear tracks


The South Teton


Camp at Snowdrift Lake


Day three I again took my time. I dropped down Avalanche Canyon, passing a waterfall, and made my way down through boulders over to Taminah Lake. I sat at the lake for a few hours, catching up on some journaling.


First light hitting The Wall on the morning of day 3

Morning video from camp day 3


Looking back at the lake before dropping down into Avalanche Canyon

video looking down at Taminah Lake





Taminah Lake

video hiking down to the lake


Video from the foot of the lake


Taminah Lake actually has campsites by its foot, and has a beautiful outlet stream running out into the canyon below. There is an old trail, no longer maintained, that drops down into the canyon from here on the north side of the creek. A second waterfall is coming from Taminah Lake.



The outlet stream dropping out of Taminah Lake, Taghert Lake in the distance



The waterfall below Taminah Lake.


video of the stream coming out of Taminah lake, overlooking Taghert Lake

Soon I was out of the open, and hiking in the woods. It felt like fall. The colors changes aren't dramatic like the lower elevations, but after hiking here for several months, I definitely notice the difference. Lots of yellow and gold colors.



Avalanche Canyon

video hiking down Avalanche Canyon

Several sections of the route were covered in avalanche debris, and the trail was hard to find at times. Eventually I reached Taghert Lake, and joined up with the main trail. I hiked the last few miles to the trailhead, enjoying the hike out.



Taghert Lake, with Avalanche Canyon in the background

video of Taghert Lake




Hiking out to the trailhead


The end

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McGimpkins

leno magnus infantem
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Sep 22, 2014
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That is a pretty cool hike. I when I and you have some time I want to do that one.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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Nice ......... had to bypass that canyon but it's one of the best. We were looking at the old trail that comes around Veiled Peak from Alaska Basin.... was that visible on that side?
 

Ben

Member
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Sep 12, 2014
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we've got a few very similar pictures. how brushy was it coming down to Taggart Lake.
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
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Aug 20, 2014
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Nice report, Utah. Looks like you had perfect weather. Surprised at how little wildlife you see when you're in the back country. I typically do very well there.
I've had the pleasure of hiking out of Avalanche Canyon twice. You've sparked a few good memories I have of Avalanche. Neither time did I come up Cascade Canyon. My first time over we cheated and came through the notch in The Wall from the Basin side. This is the trail @Bob is talking about I believe. As I look back a a few pics, you can clearly identify where the trail leads through The Wall from Avalanche side. But there is no trail to speak of coming down. Loose scree. We had come up Death Canyon to the patrol cabin then headed up to Static Peak Divide. Once we were past Buck Mountain Pass the trail down to the Basin splits. We stayed high and just before Sunset you will find an old trail leading you up and over The Wall. That was an awesome trip. The second time was a trip over Hurricane Pass then down to the South Fork, then back up again.

@Joey , I know I've talked with you about this, but as I sit here and look at pics from when I did that canyon, I didn't have any issues trail finding and there wasn't any avalanche debris. That reminds me of a more resent trip down Leigh Canyon.

I'm glad you shared this report will us, Utah. You've had an amazing summer! I now need to write a trip report or 2.

Peace
 

TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
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May 15, 2013
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589
Those pics make me super jealous. I love the your first camp pic and the bear prints into the lake. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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KC .... yep, trail I was thinking of. Never could figure on the 'Snowdrift' side where it actually came out...guess screed off ! We just ran out of time and didn't want to carry a canister for a week for one night in the Park.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
KC .... yep, trail I was thinking of. Never could figure on the 'Snowdrift' side where it actually came out...guess screed off ! We just ran out of time and didn't want to carry a canister for a week for one night in the Park.


It comes through the low saddle/notch which you can see on the left side in this picture.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Great report! How cold is it getting at night?
It was colder then than it is now. Not quite as cold as the Sour Creek trip.

But I'm sure it will be nice and nippy for the Arizona Creek trip.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
we've got a few very similar pictures. how brushy was it coming down to Taggart Lake.
It was brushy, but the trail is easy to follow. Its not maintained, but gets plenty of use from hikers and climbers that you won't have trouble finding it. Lots of recent avalanche debris, so lots of down trees to cross.

I was looking back at pictures I took from a trip I did last year in early June, and comparing them to how much snow you encountered on your trip in late june/early july. You were almost 3 weeks later, and still had a little more snow. I did have better weather though: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151726780174766.1073741830.672719765&type=1&l=3ab06c7c47
 
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Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Nice report, Utah. Looks like you had perfect weather. Surprised at how little wildlife you see when you're in the back country. I typically do very well there.
I've had the pleasure of hiking out of Avalanche Canyon twice. You've sparked a few good memories I have of Avalanche. Neither time did I come up Cascade Canyon. My first time over we cheated and came through the notch in The Wall from the Basin side. This is the trail @Bob is talking about I believe. As I look back a a few pics, you can clearly identify where the trail leads through The Wall from Avalanche side. But there is no trail to speak of coming down. Loose scree. We had come up Death Canyon to the patrol cabin then headed up to Static Peak Divide. Once we were past Buck Mountain Pass the trail down to the Basin splits. We stayed high and just before Sunset you will find an old trail leading you up and over The Wall. That was an awesome trip. The second time was a trip over Hurricane Pass then down to the South Fork, then back up again.

@Joey , I know I've talked with you about this, but as I sit here and look at pics from when I did that canyon, I didn't have any issues trail finding and there wasn't any avalanche debris. That reminds me of a more resent trip down Leigh Canyon.

I'm glad you shared this report will us, Utah. You've had an amazing summer! I now need to write a trip report or 2.

Peace
Thanks Chuck. I think there are 2 notches in the wall. One above Snowdrift Lake, and another one north of the divide, still in Cascade Canyon. Not sure which one your talking about for the trail leading up from Sunset Lake. Pretty sure its the same one that ranger was referring too when discussing our Ortenburger trip with us.

The avalanche debris is recent. A little worse than Leigh Canyon, but easier to follow because it gets more use. And because there is actually a trail there. There was a big slide in Cascades north fork, not sure if you saw that on your labor day trip.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
Those pics make me super jealous. I love the your first camp pic and the bear prints into the lake. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Tanner, that's a pretty nice campsite that I've stayed at a few times. I'm always surprised that no one else is camping in it.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Jul 5, 2014
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2,090
Stunning scenery and great photography. My list of places that I dream to one day visit keeps getting longer and longer because of trip reports like this. BTW, how did you post those videos without having them hosted somewhere? Thanks for posting this.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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Thanks. Knew it probably was in the saddle but from GE hard to tell what it really looked like. Looks good to go..... another trip to get done.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Stunning scenery and great photography. My list of places that I dream to one day visit keeps getting longer and longer because of trip reports like this. BTW, how did you post those videos without having them hosted somewhere? Thanks for posting this.
Thanks! Right now I upload all my videos to Facebook. Then I transfer them over here, very easily I might add. I wish I didn't have to use Facebook, simply because it clogs up everyone of my friends news feeds when I do that. I've tried Flickr, but its much slower than Facebook for uploading.

Later this year I hope to research more about it though, and use my own website I already have to host everything. Right now it just can't handle the amount of stuff I want to upload
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Nice report, Utah. Looks like you had perfect weather. Surprised at how little wildlife you see when you're in the back country. I typically do very well there.

You didn't see that much when you hiked with me. I don't know why, but I just never see that much up in the canyons. There isn't really that much up there. I see much more wildlife down in the valley, especially along the valley floor trail. Moose are always in Cascade Canyon, but I don't really stop that much down there. I want to get away from the people. Last year I saw several grizzlies up by Moose Basin, but nothing this year with you.

Every trip and year is different. I think Yellowstone and Glacier both have better backcountry wildlife viewing than the Tetons do.
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
419
You didn't see that much when you hiked with me. I don't know why, but I just never see that much up in the canyons. There isn't really that much up there. I see much more wildlife down in the valley, especially along the valley floor trail. Moose are always in Cascade Canyon, but I don't really stop that much down there. I want to get away from the people. Last year I saw several grizzlies up by Moose Basin, but nothing this year with you.

Every trip and year is different. I think Yellowstone and Glacier both have better back country wildlife viewing than the Tetons do.

I can only base it on my personal experience in both Jellystone and GTNP over the past 15 years. I read a report where NPS say's that per square mile there is more wildlife in the Tetons than in the other 2 parks you mentioned here. I will try to find the link to it. Also, in 2008 National Geographic and the Travel Channel rated GTNP the #1 park in the lower 48 for wildlife. I know it's old and I've said it more than once on other forums, but I'm still holding on to that. I'm sure this won't sit well with you as you have more time in the back country in these 3 parks than anyone I know. So we will agree to disagree.
1 up.
Peace
 
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