NPS Leave No Trace Video

Much of the mountainous high country of Grand Teton National Park is Recommended Wilderness.

Recommended Wilderness is managed by the National Park Service as Designated Wilderness to ensure that it remains eligible for designation by Congress should they decide to enact the legislation needed to include the area within the National Wilderness Preservation System.  

Leave No Trace Principles provide guidance on ways to help preserve the wilderness character of Grand Teton National Park through responsible recreation and use.  

Read below about specific things you can do while climbing and camping in Grand Teton National Park to Leave No Trace!

Leave No Trace - Climbing

  • Minimize leaving fixed protection and anchors in the mountains. Review route descriptions to find out locations of existing rappels, belay stations and fixed pitons and minimize the creation of new/unnecessary anchors.
  • Motorized drilling is not allowed. Power drills and other motorized equipment are not permitted in the backcountry. Please consult with Jenny Lake District Ranger Scott Guenther prior to installing any new hardware.  He can be reached through the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at (307) 739-3301.
  • Do not build cairns. Cairns may assist hikers and climbers with route-finding, but too many cairns create confusion and resource damage when hikers are incorrectly directed off-route.
  • Use established approach trails and routes.  Do not create new approaches or descent routes. Do not shortcut across switchbacks, as this practice causes erosion and can destroy an otherwise good trail.
  • Protect the Alpine Environment.  Short growing seasons, wind, intense UV radiation, and heavy snow loads make life in the alpine zone precarious and fragile. Plants may take 300-500 years to recover once trampled or destroyed. Reduce your impacts on alpine vegetation by walking on rocks and staying on trails, when available.  Camp on durable surfaces like rock or snow and not on vegetation.
  • Disperse your footsteps when walking off-trail.  Do not walk in a single line through pristine alpine vegetation.  Disperse your impacts to avoid creating a new trail.  When possible, walk on rocks, gravel, snow or other durable surfaces.
  • Clean up tattered anchors.  Help keep the alpine environment pristine and clean up tattered anchors by cutting out worn pieces of webbing and cord from established anchors and packing it out.  Remove unnecessary anchor stations.  Pack out any other trash or garbage you find on routes.  
  • Use Rest Stop Bags.  Pack out solid human waste and toilet paper on alpine climbs.  There is no good place to dig a cat-hole on alpine climbing routes and solid human waste left under rocks can last a long time in that environment. 
  • No Construction Zone.  Do not create new bivy sites by clearing ground and moving rocks. Camp on durable surfaces and use camp sites that have already been established.
  • Leave cultural resources unimpaired. Do not disturb historic or archaeological areas and structures. This includes old pitons and early climber caches and 'trash'.
  • Preserve rocks and routes. Scarring, chiseling or gluing holds is illegal and not permitted in the park.
  • Route Sharing.  Climbing routes and peaks are closed at times to protect sensitive wildlife.  Ask about nesting closures for raptors and other wildlife closures at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station.
  • Be Courteous.  Let faster parties pass on climbing routes when safe to do so.
  • Get away from it all!  Choose routes that are less popular to help alleviate overcrowding.  Get an early start on climbs that are popular.

Leave No Trace - General Backcountry

  • Know the regulations.  Special regulations apply in Grand Teton National Park.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Avoid times of high use.  Minimize impacts to the resource by avoiding crowded times of the day, week, or year.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map, compass and GPS.  Eliminate the use of rock cairns or flagging by knowing how to navigate the wilderness.
  • Established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow are durable surfaces.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams to protect riparian areas.
  • Do not create campsites.  Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not acceptable or necessary.
  • Pack it in, pack it out.  Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Pack out solid human waste whenever possible.  Otherwise, bring a trowel and bury solid human waste  in cat-holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200' away from trails, water sources and the camping zone.  Cover and disguise the cat-hole when finished. 
  • Always pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • Keep water in the Tetons clean.  To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater. Do not wash dishes in streams or use soaps or other detergents in natural water sources.  Pack out all food scraps.
  • Preserve the past.  Examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.  Inspect clothing and equipment before and after recreating to look for unwanted flower seeds or aquatic life trying to hitch a ride.  Properly clean boats and fishing equipment after use.
  • No Construction Zone.  Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
  • Fires are NOT permitted in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, with the exception of designated lakeshore sites.
  • Use alternatives.  Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Use established metal fire grates at lakeshore campsites.  Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.  Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance.  Do not harass or approach animals.  
  • Store food properly.  Protect wildlife, your food, and your equipment by storing food properly.  All food, garbage, toiletries, and any other odorous item that may attract bears or other wildlife MUST be stored  in a bear-resistant food storage canister or box when not in immediate use, day or night.  Bears, marmots, ravens, and other scavengers frequent camp areas and zones and can cause significant damage to tents, sleeping bags, packs, and other camping equipment if food and garbage is not properly stored.
  • Never feed animals.  Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.  Bears may be destroyed or removed from their habitats after they have become accustomed to human food.
  • Leave your pets at home. Pets are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park.  They may become lost or prey for wildlife, they can also adversely impact park resources. If you need to bring your pet to the park, consider hosting it at a kennel in Jackson during your outing in the mountains.
  • Be sensitive.  Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous.  Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step downhill for horses.  Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Get away from it all.  Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail!  Avoid loud voices and noises.