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Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls

Grand Teton National Park

Targhee/Teton Area, Wyoming

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Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls

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  • Lupine Meadows Trailhead.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • You can access Surprise and Amphitheater lakes as well as Delta Lake from here.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • First foot bridge.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • The terrain is relatively flat at the first section.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Nez Perce Peak (11,901 feet).- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • The trail starts to gain some elevation.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • You'll encounter several switchbacks loaded with wildflowers in the spring and summer.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Wildflowers on the trail.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Wildflowers on the trail.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Looking down toward Bradley Lake. Nearby fires made the visibility poor.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • The fork in the trail. Take a left to Garnet Canyon and a right (straight) to the lakes.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • The early signs of Garnet Canyon.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Garnet Canyon.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Rugged beauty.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • The trail offers breathtaking views.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Scenic views from the trail.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Hiking along the trail.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Lower Cleft Falls.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Middle Teton Peak (12,804 feet) and the Dike Route.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • Cleft Falls.- Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
  • - Garnet Canyon Trail to Cleft Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunningly rugged peaks. Wildflowers. Great views down the valley. Waterfall.
Cons: 
Rugged. Steep trail in certain sections.
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Region:
Targhee/Teton Area, WY
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,375.00 ft (723.90 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,747.00 ft (2,056.49 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Garnet Canyon is a beautiful, rugged and steep trail in the Grand Tetons that begins at the popular Lupine Meadow Trailhead. There are waterfalls, great views of the valley, wildflowers and some truly dramatic peaks. Their jagged tooth-like edges were cut by glaciers over eons. Life struggles to find a foothold on this semi-desolate canyon. The hike isn't long, but it gets steep after the initial walk through the flat meadows. The switchbacks cut along the face of the mountain and give you great views of the valley and lakes below. You are led into the canyon relatively late into the hike. It's near the end that you are really confronted by a mighty bowl of mountains with Cleft Falls cascading below. This is a great trail for someone looking for an accessible hike that provides views that usually only true mountaineers get to see.

As you walk the lower meadows, you will catch glimpses of Grant Teton and Mount Owen through the heavy vegetation. After 1.7 miles you will reach the fork for the Valley Trail down to the lower lakes. Another fork in the trail at the 3-mile mark will take you to Garnet Canyon to the left or Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes by staying straight. Most of the hike up to this point consists of wildflower-heavy switchbacks looking onto Bradley and Taggart Lakes. As you approach the canyon you will be surrounded by three imposing peaks: Nez Perce to the left, Middle Teton in the middle, and Disappointment Peak on the right. One of the most unusual natural features you come across, which looks fake or man-made, is a distinctive dike in the face of the Middle Teton. This feature is a giant and straight vertical cut of basalt that intruded into the granite of Middle Teton, and it is a favorite feature for climbers.

You can continue another mile into the canyon to reach "the meadows" as well as endless climbing and mountaineering opportunities. Spalding Falls and backcountry campsites are also located further into the bowl. Bring your bear spray and exercise caution, remember that hiking steep trails at high elevations can lead to exhaustion, and be prepared for unpredictable weather as well.

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(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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