Breccia Peak is surely one of the best two-hour summits in the Yellowstone region. It has a good trail to treeline, followed by an off-trail ramble to a dramatic apex overlooking a stunning chasm, with distant outlooks to the Tetons and Wind Rivers. It would be a good first outing for someone new to cross-country travel, since the terrain channels you in such a way that it would be hard to go far wrong.
Breccia Peak has only 200 feet of clean prominence from neighboring Buffalo Fork Peak
, but the two mountains are entirely independent destinations--don't plan on moseying on over from one to the other. You see, Breccia Peak is so named for a reason--it's made of volcanic Absaroka breccia, comprised of miscellaneous rock chunks loosely cemented in in crumbly ash. If you are sane and your name isn't Bob Sihler
, you won't be tempted by the ridge connecting these peaks.
View from the summit across North Breccia Cliffs
Breccia Peak is located near Togwotee Pass, where US 26/287 crosses the continental divide on its way from Dubois, Wyoming to Grand Teton National Park. The parking pullout for the trailhead is exactly one mile from the pass on the Teton side, and is on the north/east side of the road. That is, if you are driving from Dubois toward the Tetons, you'll cross the pass and then look for the first pullout on your right. The pullout is at 9400 feet elevation.
All reasonable routes to Breccia Peak start with the well-established but unofficial trail that goes from the pullout described above and traverses a 9920-foot pass into upper Clear Creek. Find the trail on the bank above the pullout. Highway reconstruction in 2012 made this a minor challenge, but the entry point of this significant trail has probably become easier to spot since that time. Early on, bear left at two forks, eschewing options that head up Brooks Lake Mountain to your east.
After a couple of small stream crossings and a wander through a large meadow, the path ascends in earnest in a northeasterly direction through open timber. Just short of 10,000 feet (and about a mile into your hike), it bends left/northwest and dumps you on a level grassy shelf. Follow a string of little clearings across this shelf for about 0.3 miles--the trail may be hard to spot, but you won't really need it--and emerge into a vast meadow, which I'll call the 10,000-foot meadow. The trail strikes northeastward along the righthand margin of this meadow, heading for the headwaters of Clear Creek in the Teton Wilderness. You, however, want to climb the mountain to the left of the trail.
The 10,000' meadow halfway up the peak. The long, low cliff band can be by-
passed on the right (NE ridge) or, more directly, by scrambling the left margin.
The northeast ridge of Breccia Peak provides an easy,
airy stroll for the last portion of the climb.
The most straightforward way to do this (shown in yellow on the map below) is to angle due north across the meadow and the open slopes beyond until you intersect Breccia Peak's northeast ridge, and then turn left and follow that to the top. You'll be skirting a prominent cliff band on its righthand end, mostly walking on grass. A more direct alternative, but one that involves a little more light scrambling, is cross straight over the meadow at its southwestern end and head up Breccia's south ridge, to the left of the big cliff band (see orange track on the map below). Either route is YDS class 2 or Swiss Alpine Club hiking grade
Trail in blue; cross-country routes in yellow and orange
There are good backcountry campsites to be found, with perennial water, around the 10,000-foot meadow. Note that this is grizzly country; you will need to take precautions with your food, and you should probably have bear spray along.
For car camping near the trailhead, you have three lovely Forest Service campgrounds a few miles east: Brooks Lake Campground
, Pinnacles Campground
, and Falls Campground
LinksBridger-Teton National Forest
Togwotee Mountain Lodge
(a few miles east)
Absaroka volcanic breccias
Togwotee Pass Snotel
(lets you check on whether the snow has melted out at the trailhead)
Teton Wilderness Regulations