Wildflowers and great views of the peaks and cliffs rimming the South Fork Teton Canyon are the highlights of this long hike, best done as a backpack, climbing to beautiful Alaska Basin. Day hikers will find a scenic turn around point in the meadows below the basin.
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Why Hike South Teton Trail to Mirror Lake in Alaska Basin
The South Teton Canyon trail offers the easiest way to reach beautiful Alaska Basin. The path initially ascends through forest and meadows along the south side of the canyon. Meadows and openings in the trees offer fine views of the high cliffs and peaks rising along the west side of the canyon. As the trail gains elevation these views expand and improve.
At 5.2 miles the path crosses the creek to the north side of the canyon where terrific views soon open to the cliffs and summits rimming the canyon to the west/southwest. The landscape becomes more rugged as the trail climbs through rock outcroppings and boulders set amid meadows and clusters of trees.
The final climb along a tributary stream leads to Alaska Basin at 7.5 miles. Here stunning views open to a large meadow set against the backdrop of Buck Mountain and Peak 11094 towering above the basin to the east. Far reaching views extend west/southwest to the peaks and ridges rimming the west side of the South Fork Canyon. Mount Meek marks the southwest end of the ridge.
A short walk along the combined South Teton/Teton Crest trails soon leads to a second junction where the South Fork trail turns left and ascends on easy grades to Mirror Lake, the largest of the Basin Lakes in Alaska Basin, at 7.9 miles. The South Teton trail continues beyond Mirror Lake, reaching Buck Mountain Pass at 10.3 miles.
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