Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Blacktail Butte (Grand Teton NP)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Newton, MA

    Blacktail Butte (Grand Teton NP)

    When we arrived in the Tetons on June 17, 2011, we had planned on some hiking into the canyons of this spectacular range (Garnet, Painted and Hanging Canyons specifically) but we had not planned on winter conditions. Extraordinary snow accumulations made meaningful hikes into the canyons impractical at this time this year; even Inspiration Point, an easy hike popular with tourists who arrive by boat across Jenny Lake, was closed. However, heading into Jackson we observed what might be an interesting hike and looked into Blacktail Butte further.

    Blacktail Butte was not described in any of our hiking guides nor are its paths shown on any of our maps. It is located east of the Snake River and US-80/191/26, the primary route into Jackson from the north. At 7688’ it sits prominently1200’ above the flats of Jackson “hole” with views of the ranges surrounding the area.

    We noticed two parking areas with paths headed up, one at the NW corner of the Butte near the highway and the other off Mormon Row at the SE corner. We chose the latter as the more exposed ridge walk and closer to the “summit”. We soon learned a lot about this delightful peak.

    First, the “trails” are generally not man-made nor maintained. There are no switchbacks, no markers, no waterbars. They appear to be herd paths adopted and adapted by hikers for an exceptional reward for little effort (for the Tetons). The “trails” are used by herds and solitary predators and in many locations there are several parallel paths. We saw signs of bison, mule deer, bear and from the condition of bleached bones, expect it is a popular place for packs of coyotes. The SE route is pretty clear until, on this day, we arrived at the last leg where snow covered some of the paths and the route, now through lodgepole pine, was less obvious. We made our way by instinct and modest bushwhacks, finding ourselves on again and off again from the path. As they say, all roads lead to Rome and herd paths converge on a height of land that does not lend itself to easy identification as “the” summit. From our vantage point paths lead in various directions but we were most curious about the one to the west where a low ceiling obscured the peaks of the Tetons.

    On the way down we followed herd paths descending into a ravine until we reached the flats and then followed more paths around to the main "trail" and back to our car.

    We also learned, from hikers we met at the trailhead, that the SE approach is more scenic, the other route being predominately in lodgepole pine, wetter and less obvious.

    I recommend this hike for its views, connection with wildlife and convenience. It is good when other trails may be inaccessible or just to acclimate to the altitude.

  2. #2
    Member Original Woody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Swampscott, MA, Avatar:Mt Adams 3-13-10
    Spent a week climbing in the Jenny Lake area and summitted the Grand Teton last summer. Definitely one of the most beautiful places on this earth.

    Hope you enjoy your trip!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Manchester, NH
    I've been watching conditions out there with an eye on the end of July.

    Blacktail Butte

    Too bad about the views. Looks like a good vantage point to view the Tetons 7 miles to the northwest or perhaps Gannett 60 miles to the southeast.
    Enjoy your best

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hampshire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Bridgewater, N.H. Avatar: Mt. Hunter from 14,200
    My wife and I spent our honeymoon at one of the cabins at the base (to the north on Antelope Flats Road) of Blacktail Butte. Absolutly beautiful, bison roaming, Tetons in the background. The owners have a trail up from the cabins.

    Here is a link for the cabins.
    Last edited by Hampshire; 06-22-2011 at 07:40 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts