Table Mountain Hike Via the North Teton Creek Trail
Location: Table Mountain, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Teton Range, Wyoming
Rating: Grade II, Class 2
Trailhead: North Teton TH (6,990′) in Teton Canyon
Distance: 13 miles total
Time: 4 to 10 hours
Elevation Table Mountain: 11,106′ | 3385 meters
Total Vertical: 4150
Maps: Grand Teton, Mount Moran, Granite Basin
Forecast: Table Mountain Weather Forecast
Every so often you see photos of a trail or a summit and you know you have to climb it or hike it. That’s how I felt with Table Mountain in the Tetons – a hike known for it’s panorama views of the Tetons.
Table Mountain sits at 11,106′ in the Teton Range of Wyoming. It is accessed from the Idaho (or west) side of the Tetons from the sleepy town of Driggs, ID. Nestled in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness of Caribou-Targhee National Forest the summit of Table Mountain sits on the border of the Grand Teton National Park and offers some of the best views around.
Table Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. You will definitely see people (and probably a moose or two). Group sizes are limited to less than 20 – it isn’t often that you see posted signs that limit group sizes.
On my drive down to Kelly, WY to recertify my WMI Wilderness First Responder (WFR) I finally had my chance for a solo mission to hike Table Mountain. I left Montana in the AM light and soon found myself turning east on Ski Hill Road in Driggs, Idaho. I was familiar with the road as it leads to Grand Targhee Resort, but I had never turned down the dirt road (6.3 miles) that leads east into Teton Canyon.
Rumbling down Teton Canyon leaving a cloud a dust behind the Tacoma, I could see Table Mountain thousands of feet higher in the elevation and miles away. After four miles or so on the dirt road, I arrived at the busy North Teton Trailhead at the east end of Teton Campground. This is where the North Teton Creek Trail (aka the Huckleberry Trail aka the Table Mountain Trail) begins.
The Teton Creek Trail (#024) quickly gains a bit of elevation before it mellows slightly and enters the Jedediah Smith Wilderness. After about 1 mile, you’ll pass the Beard’s Wheatfield Trail (#023) junction. Stay on the North Teton Creek Trail as it traverses through willows and meadows. Other hikers that I passed were reporting moose sightings throughout this area. I did not see any, but it is prime moose habitat so I definitely believe them.
The trail is well maintained. It would be hard to lose the trail as it meanders through the woods for several miles passing massive old growth trees, crossing a a few streams and the North Fork of Teton Creek, and eventually breaking into the alpine around 9,000′.
From here, the trail begins to switchback steeply. Multiple signs mention that it’s important to stay on the trail to prevent erosion. Please do so. After about 5 miles from the TH, the trail hits the saddle at about 9,900′. Near the saddle, it merges with The Face Trail (#029) around 9,910′.
The two trails continue together along the ridge line for the last 1300 feet to the summit of Table Mountain. If you’re legs are getting tired by this point, you’ll be encouraged by glimpses of the Grand Teton in the distance.
As you approach the summit of Table Mountain, the trail gets wide and steep. Loose gravel makes for tricky steps and the final 100′ or so are actually a bit of a scramble. Watch your step and bring a trekking pole for added balance.
In 3 hours, 6.5 miles and 4150 feet, I stood on the summit of Table Mountain in the Tetons at 11,106′. My jaw dropped as I soaked in the towering peaks, deep canyons, and vastness of the Grand Teton National Park.
Mount Owen (12,928′), Grand Teton (13,770′), Middle Teton (12,804′), and the South Teton (12,514′) dominate the skyline. They are only a few miles away as the crow flies, but it feels you can reach out and touch them. Cascade Canyon drops down to Jenny Lake in the distance. The Teton Canyon road stretches out far below heading toward Driggs and the distant potato fields of Idaho.
Hands down, Table Mountain in the Tetons has some of the most spectacular views of any summit I have climbed lately. It’s a strenuous hike, but the views make every step worth it. I was amazed at how many people were on this peak – especially since I had seen very few on the actual trail – many of them equipped with only a water bottle, blue jeans, and Tevas. Glad the mountains deserve respect.
It’s hard to leave the summit of Table Mountain. I feel like I could stay there for hours scouting ski lines and climbing routes, but when you’re at the summit, you’re still only half way…
I returned the way I came, following the North Teton Creek Trail all the way back to the North Teton Trailhead and my waiting truck. It was uneventful and hot. I was happy to be able to drop a MSR Aquatab in my Dromlite to purify my H20 when I refilled my water in the North Fork of Teton Creek. Always nice to stay hydrated in the August heat – and there’s not a ton of water past 9,000′ feet on this trail.
After my hike, I realized a couple of things that you should keep in mind if you want to hike Table Mountain…
Table Mountain is an incredible hike and I would happily hike it again. Although I would do it slightly differently. Next time, I would ascend the shorter, steeper, and unmaintained Face Trail (#029) that leaves from the South Teton Trailhead (about .25 miles further down Teton Canyon). Then I would descend via the North Teton Creek Trail. This would make a bit more of a loop, which I enjoy.
The other thing I would recommend is to pick up a large scale map, like the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Grand Teton Map (#202) vs the USGS maps. I don’t usually recommend this, but Table Mountain is located right on the corner of the Grand Teton quad, so you will also need Mount Moran and Granite Basin quads to complete this hike.
Car to car my adventure to hike Table Mountain took 5.75 hours. I covered 4150 vertical feet in 13 miles. Now it was time to head to Victor, ID to meet a good friend and eat some BBQ at Big Hole BBQ on W. Center Street (turn west at the only stoplight in town). Delicious.
As the sun set on the Tetons, I headed over Teton Pass to my new favorite and free campground at the base of Shadow Mountain overlooking the GTNP. It was time to get some well deserved sleep before I started the WFR recert in the AM – and what a view when I woke up!
View Route On HillMap:
A few additional photos from hiking Table Mountain in the Tetons:
This trip report for hiking Table Mountain is from August 13, 2015.