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Teton crest trail


Kaysman
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Hello, I am new to backpacking and my wife and I are taking our first extended day trip to the TCT. Unfortunately, the only week we can go, due to work schedules, is the middle of June. We have been preparing for quite some time now and feel prepared with very good and light weight gear, but if anyone has hiked this trail in mid June what will we need to prepare for? Thanks!

Edited by Kaysman
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I only hiked the TCT in August and there was snow on the trail at Paintbrush Divide. It's going to be early in the season and may not be doable with light weight gear depending on how much snow falls March - May.

You should have some more southerly alternatives and follow the snow conditions as we get closer to your time off. There are a lot of trails in the Rockies and I had great trips in southern CO & New Mexico in June. The Teton Crest is especially beautiful, but I wouldn't want to post-hole the whole thing.

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Overnights are harder to come by in June around here but not impossible. Toejam is spot on about the Crest though; usually the earliest you can go over Paintbrush without an ice axe is July 10 but it has been MUCH later some years and much earlier some years.

We are expected to be on the verge of above average precipitation this spring, but there's a good chance much of our precipitation will come as rain this year.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=3

It's a wonderful time of year to be here at lower elevations. If I can help with local alternatives or some in southern Colorado please let me know. Happy trails. 

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Thanks for all of the info. I would gladly take other alternatives for some 3 or 4 day hikes in Colorado or anywhere in that area.

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Even in Colorado in the middle of June may be difficult. The Lost Creek Wilderness is *usually* clear enough of snow.  A few classic loops can be done in that area.  Very pretty with some high tundra walks and interesting red rock formations..

But, sounds like you are looking for classic alpine terrain instead.  May I suggest the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico? Near the CO/NM border, it features 13k foot peaks, alpine lakes, big horns and wonderful ridge walks.  Usually clear of massive snow around this time, too.

http://www.summitpost.org/pecos-wilderness-area/255250

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The Pecos Wilderness was my go-to Rockies destination in June - probably did a dozen trips there and never saw half of it. June has friendly temps, very little snow left, and the nastiest thunderstorms & monsoons usually come later in the season. You can use lightweight gear and have camp fires, and the trails are easy to follow. Also had great trips in the South San Juan Wilderness and Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in June.

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Thanks, I really appreciate the info. I think I will get some maps of the pecos wilderness and plan a route. I will just cancel my reservation to the Tetons. You gentlemen have been a great help. 

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Don't know where you live or what kind of vacation you are looking for. I'd recommend a loop out of Panchuela Campground on the Pecos River, but if you are flying in you may rather hike out of Santa Fe, or do something in Colorado. If renting a car, maybe the Sangre de Cristos or Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in CO (or Lost Creek) would be more interesting for the time you'd spend going to & from the trailhead. Send me a pm and I'll tell you about the cool places I've been.

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If I was   expecting to garner reliable beta on hiking the Teton Crest Tr in mid June I'd  be inquiring from  Grand Teton NP Back Country Hiking Rangers who regularly hike the Teton Crest Tr and know the  varying conditions from month to month quite well. I've always thought it best communicating specifically with the actual NP Rangers first who do this as a part of their professional careers. Call the Backcountry Permitting Office at GT NP asking to speak with a Back Country Hiking Ranger knowledgeable about the Teton Crest Tr conditions in June. This is one of the very best sources of NP info if not THE BEST I've found.      

I could throw my hat into the ring but I hiked it entirely as part of a CDT thru hike alternate in July . When I left Jackson Hole  it was  82*.   I experienced 4" of driving snowfall and sleet in Alaska Basin with my Sunnto watch thermometer tapping out a night time low of 14* with a wind chill much lower since wind driven  sleet fell most of the night(it was a cold restless night considering my sleep system and minimalist tarp). A day  later I experienced day time highs in the 70's on the crest  C'est la vie.    

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Toejam has as always given some great suggestions. I'll make one for Colorado. It's not a loop so if you have loopsternitis it's just too bad. 

Although tiny Crestone is one of the most spectacularly situated towns you will ever find. The South Crestone Trailhead area is an incredible place to vehicle camp and the start of one of my favorite dayhikes/overnights there is. Willow Lake is quite siply one of the most spectacular places I've ver been, and in your time frame I've found it icing off with congealed swarms of cutthroat. It's a popular place for good reason, so choose a weekday You can camp below the lake or in the incredible basin above. If conditions are right you can bag Kit Carson Mt. and Challenger Peak, but this year might be a little early to go up top. Five miles to Willow Lake and I'm guessing 3.5k total gain. In the first image here you can see my friend just to the right of the top of the falls to give it the scale it demands.

I would camp below the lake, not much protection in the basin or at upper lake. Hiking up Willow Creek yields some amazing views down to the planet's largest agricultural alpine valley as seen in the second photo here.

If you wanted to just do one night up by Willow you could come back down and then up to South Crestone Lake for a night. 

This is a very spectacular part of the world. Some incredible Alpine hiking on the Western slope of Colorado's Sangre's North of Blanca Peak. All kinds of spectacular out and back lake backpacking. IMO the Sangres are the closest thing to the Wind Rivers in Colorado. One of my favorite places on earth.

We may have an early season up here in the upper Snake River Valley. If what they are saying is true and it is well above normal temps we're gonna have more rain than snow in the coming months. It's like April out there right now. In May we could tell you to come to the Tetons, you never know. Our nearby Gros Ventre Range's southern approaches are our best early season hiking as seen in the fourth and final photo. Your time frame is MIRACULOUS for wildflowers which can peak a month earlier than other ranges.

Do some reasearch, lots of forums have lots of great people to help you get more specific. Have a great hike wherever you go.

Sangres Willow July 98.jpg

Sangres down Willow Creek.jpg

Granite Hi-Line to Antoinette Plus.jpg

Edited by Absarokanaut
Photo clarification.
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