Nature Untamed: Where to Backpack in Wyoming

By Nancy Raven Kirk on October 04, 2023
4 min read

Whether you’re new to backpacking or a seasoned vet, Wyoming is an undeniably gorgeous place to get moving. Primarily visited for Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Wyoming's national parks draw up to four million visitors a year. Backpacking allows you to escape the crowds while still soaking up the diverse scenery, from wildflower meadows to shimmery lakes to distant mountain peaks. The stunning scenery, coupled with the lowest population in the nation, makes Wyoming a great place to quietly quest through the wilderness. 

1. Teton Crest Trail 

Miles: ~40 miles
Route Type: Round Trip (almost) 
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet 
Location: Grand Teton National Park 

Take in expansive views of the iconic Tetons as you trek through forest, flowery fields, and canyons and past waterfalls and lakes. The most popular option begins with a ride on Jackson Hole’s Bridger Gondola to the Granite Canyon trail head and finishes at String Lake. This option is almost a full loop, with String Lake only a few miles from your origin in Teton Village.

green trees in mountain during daytime
Teton Crest Trail - Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Nick Ray.

The advantage of this area is you can add more or fewer stops depending on how long you want to spend on the trail. Beware, this is bear country, so having bear-proof food storage is essential. Reservations are required for the backcountry campsites, and some sites have more amenities (e.g., bear boxes, potable water) than others. With epic views of the world-famous Teton Range in the background, this trip should be on every backpacker’s bucket list. 

Stops along the way: 

  • Granite Canyon
  • Marion Lake
  • Fox Creek
  • Death Canyon
  • Alaska Basin Lakes
  • Sunset Lake
  • Static Peak
  • North Cascade Fork
  • Paintbrush Canyon

2. Wyoming Section of the Continental Divide Trail

Miles: Up to 550 miles
Elevation Gain: Varies

The Continental Divide Trail stretches from Canada all the way to Mexico, traversing five states, including Wyoming. At more than 3,000 miles, the entire trail can take five or more months to complete, but hiking portions still provides a sense of the trail’s magic without months of commitment. Completing all 550 Wyoming miles would still take six weeks or more, but the experience would be unforgettable. For a shorter trip, consider hiking Battle Pass to Deep Jack to enjoy sweeping views from the top of Bridger Peak, the highest point in the Sierra Madre. 

white geyser spout in green grass field
Old Faithful geyser at the Continental Divide Trail, Yellowstone National Park, WY. Photo by Will Myers.

Stops along the way: 

  • Yellowstone 
  • Fremont Lake 
  • South Pass City State Historic Site
  • Wyoming Frontier Prison
  • Saratoga Hot Springs

3. Titcomb Basin

Miles: 30 
Route Type: Out and back 
Elevation Gain: 3,100
Location: Pinedale, Wyoming Pin 

Located in the Bridger Wilderness, Titcomb Basin features impressive granite peaks that overlook glacial-fed alpine lakes, including Gannett Peak, the highest point in the state. Most hikers start and end on Elkhart trail head, and spend two to four nights camping among the many mountain lakes, basins, and forested hills. Check camping regulations before you head out, as there are often fire restrictions as well as “Leave No Trace” policies in place to protect the area. Expect to encounter other hikers as you're blown away by the storybook landscape at every turn. 

yellow flowers and green grass in front of gray mountains
Wildflowers in Titcomb Basin - Wind River Range, Bridger Wilderness. Photo by Doug Wewer, US Forest Service.

Stops along the way: 

  • Island Lake 
  • Titcomb Lake 
  • Seneca Lake
  • Hobbs Lake
  • Barbara Lake
  • Indian Basin

4. Cirque of the Towers

Miles Round Trip: 25-30
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Route Type: Loop

This classic trek winds along stunning 12,000-foot craggy peaks. In addition to backpackers, many technical climbers set up base camp below the boulder fields as they prepare to tackle this rock mecca. This region receives significantly fewer visitors than hikes closer to the Tetons, but the Cirque of the Towers loop is still quite popular, especially for more experienced mountaineers. For this trek, it’s ideal that you know how to use a map and compass, as the connecting trail on the backside of the loop is not well marked. 

green field with gray mountains behind
Cirque of the Towers from Lizard Head Meadow. Photo by Doug Letterman.

Tip: If you’re new to backpacking and what to get your toes wet, consider hiking out to Dad’s Lake and back. At 12 miles round trip, you can complete the trip in a single night and advance your comfort level before tackling a longer trip. 

Stops along the way: 

  • Big Sandy Lake 
  • Shadow Lake 
  • Jackass Pass 
  • Dad’s Lake
  • Billy’s Lake 
  • Arrowhead Lake 

Read our Backpacking Guide 

From clothing to food, there’s a lot of preparation involved in planning a backpacking trip. You’ll want to keep your gear as light as possible, but you also want to make sure you have warm enough clothing and an adequate amount of meals to savor after each long day. Fortunately, we’ve compiled two guides. Learn more about proper preparation techniques for backpacking, and check out our camping food guide. Shop our collections below for the ultimate, high-quality backpacking wardrobe.  

Featured Image - Grand Teton National Park, United States by Elijah Hail.

Nancy Raven Kirk
Nancy Raven Kirk

Nancy is a writer, traveler, and outdoor enthusiast originally from Los Angeles. She's had work published in the L.A. Times, OC Weekly, and various other publications. Check out her website at


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