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Hike the Tetons: What to Wear for Hiking Fall 2023
Fall is one of the best times to hike the Tetons: the summer crowds are gone, the weather is beautiful, and the leaves are changing colors.
With the crowds of summer gone, you find yourself alone on some hiking trails — as if you have the mountains to yourself. Even without trekking into the backcountry, the opportunities to be immersed in nature are endless.
But one of the trickiest parts of hiking the Tetons during the fall is the weather. The mornings are icy cold, dipping down to freezing temperatures. Yet on the same day you’ll be sweating by mid-afternoon as the temperatures get up to the high 70s.
This flip-flop in temperatures makes it exceptionally hard to dress for hikes. Too heavy of an outfit will have you drenched in sweat, and not enough layers will leave you shivering.
Don’t stress the fickle Teton temperatures — here’s what to wear for your fall hikes. These picks are for women but the same goes for men (you’ll want a set of the same items)!
1. A Light Jacket
Preferably a light jacket that’s also rain proof, like the one above. You’ll want a light jacket to throw on as the temperature dips in the mornings and evenings. Or if it’s a cloudy day you’ll want to keep it close for your whole hike (that cool fall breeze can be chilly!).
Layering is key in the fall — and you won’t want to be caught without a light jacket. Rain showers can also blow through without warning in the Tetons, so it’s helpful if it’s a waterproof jacket.
And this jacket is currently on sale! Don’t wait because this is a steal from Marmot:
2. A Thin Shirt
You’ll want a thin shirt as your main layer. Hiking during the day, especially during early fall, can be hot. More than likely, if you’re out in the afternoon, this is what you’ll be wearing for most of your hike.
A shirt like the one above is ideal: it’s breathable, allows moisture to escape, and protects from UV rays.
The sun can be a major challenge while hiking this time of year. Most people don’t lather up on sunscreen once the weather is cooler. But the Wyoming sun is brutal! You’ll want some serious UV protection while you’re up in the mountains — both in the form of a shirt like this one and sunscreen.
3. Lightweight Pants for Hot Days
I always opt for pants over shorts when hiking in the fall: pants give you protection from brush along the trail, block UV rays, and will keep you warm if the weather takes a turn.
Make sure they’re comfortable too — there’s nothing worse than being halfway up the mountain being uncomfortable because your pants are too tight, too baggy, or pulling in the wrong places!
4. Leggings for Cool Weather
It’s hard to go wrong with leggings for hiking: they’ll keep your legs warm and allow you to move well. The only downside is that they’ll also catch moisture quickly. So if you plan to go for a long hike (for a few days), leave your leggings at home or don’t wear them the whole time. Leggings tend to accumulate moisture, which can be uncomfortable.
When out on the trail, you’ll see plenty of hikers out in leggings. They’re a good option for a casual hike, especially in the fall.
5. Hat with a Brim
Pack a hat for extra UV protection. A cap like the one above is best: it’s snug, will stay on your head, and won’t collect too much moisture if you sweat.
6. Vest for Cool Mornings or Evenings
Especially if you are planning to be out in the mornings or evenings, a vest will give you just the right amount of warmth. Plus it’s handy for your whole stay in Jackson: wear it in the mountains or in town — you’ll want to take it everywhere with you.
7. Last But Not Least: Good Shoes!
This one should go without saying, but for a hike in the Tetons you’ll need a good pair of shoes.The Tetons are known for their steepness and high elevation, which your shoes will need to be able to handle. Even the least challenging of hikes has areas where your shoes will need good grip and ankle support.
The boots above are my favorite because they’re flexible, waterproof, and breathable. You’d be surprised how often having a pair of waterproof hiking boots comes in handy! And flexible, breathable shoes are a must.
Lastly, don’t forget to break in your hiking shoes before you come. Hiking in brand new shoes is the fastest way to get blisters.
You may not need each and every one of these items for every hike, but pick the right combination for the weather and you’ll be set! A little preparation goes a long way and will allow you to enjoy your fall hikes to the fullest.
P.S. If you need help picking out which hikes to explore, check out the National Park Service’s Information on Grand Teton National Park: click here.