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#152467 - 07/08/11 08:32 PM Place to go
kramodog82 Offline

Registered: 07/01/11
Posts: 8
So my brother and I want to go on a backpacking trip. We were thinking about going to the Grand Teton National Park. I was looking at it though and evidently they stop taking reservations in May and they say the competition for back country backpacking permits is pretty stiff during the time that we have taken to go. Anyone have any experience going up there without prior reservations? Or maybe any ideas about other places we could go this time of year where we wouldnt have the same problems? we are driving from Houston-ish Texas so we are thinking about 30hrs max of driving ideally.

#152497 - 07/09/11 06:54 PM Re: Place to go [Re: kramodog82]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6764
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
(1) When do you plan to go? Note that because of the unusually high snowpack and cold wet spring, the snowmelt is almost a month later than normal this year all over the western US, except for AZ and NM, which are suffering extreme drought (if it isn't one thing, it's another!). While all areas from southern Colorado northward have above-normal snow, it seems to be worse as you go north. If you're planning to go before August, you will probably have major problems with both lingering snow and high water at stream crossings.

(2) There are many mountain ranges all over the western US which are just as scenic and far less crowded than those in national parks, including the Tetons. Most of them are part of good-sized national forest wilderness areas. The one problem for all of these areas, this year, is the delayed snow melt.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#152520 - 07/10/11 07:37 PM Re: Place to go [Re: OregonMouse]
oldranger Offline

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
OM provides very good advice....

#152522 - 07/10/11 08:52 PM Re: Place to go [Re: oldranger]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2095
Loc: Napa, CA
I've also talked to the rangers at Great Basin National Park, who say their trails are open and things look good there. It's a long drive from our house...but not as long as the one to the Tetons!
Check our our website:

Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra;

#152571 - 07/11/11 09:19 PM Re: Place to go [Re: kramodog82]
kramodog82 Offline

Registered: 07/01/11
Posts: 8
we are going right at the first of august... we were also thinking about the canyonlands as a possible alternative (Ive got some people in SLC that I wouldn't mind visiting =)

#152572 - 07/11/11 09:24 PM Re: Place to go [Re: OregonMouse]
kramodog82 Offline

Registered: 07/01/11
Posts: 8
So I like the less crowded Idea but being from Texas I dont know where to start looking for other places to go. Do you have any specific recommendations for places to go?

#152583 - 07/12/11 12:17 AM Re: Place to go [Re: kramodog82]
mschwar Offline

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 2
Fellow fresh board member and Texan (Austin) reporting in. I made a trip to Canyonlands NP in June. I had never been to that part of the country before and absolutely loved the entire area. Give it some serious thought as a destination.

I didn't think the drive was bad at all. I left after work on a Friday, crashed in Lubbock that night, and lazily made the rest of the drive to arrive well before sunset the next day.

The climate was great as well. It gets warm during the day and there is usually little or no shade, but there is zero humidity and it cools off to be very pleasant during the night. Not surprisingly water sources are scarce so extended backpacking takes some planning. The park materials cover it all though and clearly indicate where sources are available.

As for crowds: Moab is the tourist hub of the area and was packed to the rafters. Arches National Park is right to the north of Moab and was obnoxiously crowded - like no parking spaces at the trailheads crowded. It was worth the visit to dayhike around the sites, but I was annoyed with the crowds too much to really enjoy it.

There are two main entry points to Canyonlands that are accessible with a normal car - Island in the Sky and the Needles. Island in the sky is closer to Moab and therefore more crowded. The Needles is at least a good hour away from Moab and therefore gets much less attention. I didn't have time to do any extended outings (was chained to a computer working during many of the days), but there looked to be some great multi-night trips to be made out of the trails starting from the Needles.

All in all its a really unique and beautiful part of the country.

#152606 - 07/12/11 01:04 PM Re: Place to go [Re: mschwar]
kramodog82 Offline

Registered: 07/01/11
Posts: 8
Thanks man.. I had pretty much decided that it would be a cool place but now I think I have to go. Thanks for your comments.


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