Burned Wagon Gulch

The Grand Teton's Approach
The Burned Wagon Gulch is not the most common trailhead into Garnet Canyon. Lupine Meadows is the most common trailhead for Grand Teton climbers. It is the closest trailhead to the AAC Climber's Ranch. Most climbers at the ranch will use the Lupine Meadows Trailhead.

You can reach the BWG trailhead by turning west off the Teton Park Road and onto the End Highlands Rd (Climber's Ranch Rd) which takes you to the Climbers' Ranch. There's a sign for the Climber's Ranch on the interior Teton Park Road during the summer. There is no sign saying End Highlands Road as far as we know. Drive past the GTNP employee housing and cross over the Cottonwood Creek bridge. Park in the pullout on the northwest side of the bridge.

Click on 'View Larger Map' to see the big picture.

The small dirt pullout on the NW side of the bridge is the parking area.

Click on the map to see a larger image.

An overview of the TPR (interior Teton Park Road)

Employee housing by the Cottonwood Creek bridge.

After crossing the bridge, park on the northwest side by the trailhead.

Trailhead parking - 3 spaces.

The Climber's Ranch is at the very end of the dirt road - to the southwest of here.

Looking back toward the parking area.

The approach to the Burned Wagon Gulch runs by cottonwood creek, past the Lucas homestead, and across an open meadow to reach the mouth of the gulch. It's a beautiful approach but a little longer (10 to 15 minutes, maybe) than the approach from the Lupine Meadows trailhead. If you start at the Climbers' ranch parking area, it's an even longer hike. The two trails meet at the Valley Trail Junction.

The BWG trail can be overgrown during the beginning of the season. That can mean damp shoes and clothes from morning dew. The trail is maintained by the park service every so often but that doesn't mean it will have been cleared of downfall when you arrive. It's a narrow trail that is a nice break from the heavy traffic on the trail from Lupine Meadows.

One of the bridges you will cross by Cottonwood Creek

Trail next to Cottonwood Creek

Lucas Homestead - far right. Trail on left.

Do not head for the homestead.

There is another way to get to the trail from the TPR that goes by the homestead. More information is below. It is not recommended.

Meadows with Lucas Monument.

That big rock contains the ashes of  the ashes of Geraldine Lucas, the 2nd woman to climb the Grand. The Lucas Monument is the obvious large boulder in the middle of the meadow. The trail takes you right to it.

Head for the right side of the gulch (north side). The trail can disappear at the mouth of the gulch in the open meadow where the melting snow drains out of the gulch and floods the meadow. Just as you enter the trees at the mouth (bottom) of the gulch, follow a very faint trail that runs up the south-facing slope until you see the well-beaten path running west into the gulch.

View of the Grand on the approach in June

Lucas Monument next to the trail.

The ashes of Geraldine Lucas, the 2nd woman to climb the Grand.

Just inside the gulch and just west of the open meadows.

This is the south-facing slope - just a little bit up the slope.

Looking back at the meadows. The Lucas Monument is center-right.

The trail inside the gulch starts on the south-facing slope and stays there for much of the ascent. It flattens out as you approach the trail from Lupine Meadows and then climbs the south-facing slope again to reach the Valley Trail Junction.

 Perhaps June.

The trail parallels the trail from Lupine Meadows once you are further inside the gulch.

The trail follows the floor of the gulch before heading up the south-facing slope to the Valley Trail Junction.

The Valley Trail Junction. Note that the BWG trail IS NOT MARKED.
 Looking easterly.

The BWG trail goes into the trees and down the south-facing slope into the gulch.

Valley Trail Junction
Looking westerly

There are signs marking the Valley Trail, the trail back to Lupine Meadows, and the trail to Garnet Canyon. There are no signs for the BWG trail. Head up the trail toward Garnet Canyon.

In the picture above, there was a black bear a few feet off the trail and several deer next to the trail. The bear, the deer, and the human just went about their business like none were around.

Alternative Route to reach the BWG trail

You can park at the Teton Glacier Turnout parking area just to the southeast of a bridge to the Lucas Homestead. The bridge takes you over Cottonwood Creek. There is also a tiny pullout by the trail to the bridge. It is a shortcut to the Burned Wagon Gulch trail if you know where you're going. We don't recommend this route but it is an option if you want to explore the Lucas Homestead. From the parking area at the TGT, take the paved pathway north until you reach the first path heading west to the creek. Follow the path to the homestead and then make your way to the Burned Wagon Gulch. There is no marked hiker's trail from the homestead to the gulch.

This footpath off the paved pathway heads for the bridge over Cottonwood Creek and to the Lucas Homestead. This is just to the north of the Teton Glacier Pullout along the TPR. A small pullout is by the gate but we don't suggest parking there.

This pathway takes you to the Lucas Homestead.

 Bridge over Cottonwood Creek

Enjoy Safe Climbing