Phelps Lake -from North-Death Canyon Trailhead
Access via: Death Canyon Trailhead, Moose-Wilson Road, in GTNP
From the Death Canyon turnoff on the Moose-Wilson Road (end of plowed road in winter), begin skiing on the snow-covered road, heading west – north-west. The road is likely to have skier tracks or snowmobile tracks. Note that the main Moose-Wilson road is closed off to cars at this point, however one can ski on the snow-covered road, continuing south toward the Lawrence Rockefeller Preserve (closed in winter) and Teton Village.
Continue up the winding Death Canyon Trail road, past the turn off the White Grass Ranch. The road works its way to the southwest, to the summer hiking trail head ( indicated by a small restroom and wooden trail signs). The trail now narrows into a single track, and begins to climb through the forest. Initially the climb is moderate, however, if one want to go all the way to the overlook (with excellent views of Phelps Lake and Death Canyon entrance), be prepared to herringbone and possibly remove skis to boot pack up the steeper sections.
Return via the same trail, noting that the upper steep sections will be quite technical on skinny skis.
Return via the same path for the easiest descent... Skiing down to the lakeshore of Phelps Lake is not recommended on skinny skis, although with many traverses, it is possible for strong skiers. One can then follow the Phelps Lake “circumnavigation” trail and exit via the Lake Creek trail, back to the Moose-Wilson Road ( only recommended for strong skiers with ample time).
See Phelps Lake from South for other variations.
trail is 1 mile from the Lake to the snow-covered Moose-Wilson road. Take your skis off just before the road, and the last 5 yards onto the road are steep (rock steps). Turn right (south) at the road, ski ½ mile back to the turn and buck rail fence trails per above.
Summer trail: This is a popular summer-fall hike, which can be combined with a longer hike up Death Canyon or around Phelps Lake. Bring bear spray.