Destinations

Camping at Grand Teton National Park + Tips for Visiting

Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Jody

Growing up, Grand Teton National Park was a scenic drive on our way to nearby Yellowstone National Park. Two decades into my adult life, my wife and I made an impromptu trip to do some Grand Teton camping. We had a wonderful time and brought our kids with us the following summer to create amazing memories camping and hiking in the park.

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Moulton Barn in Grand Teton National Park

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Prior to 2021, campsites across the park were first come, first served. That worked well for us. We just had to be there before 10 a.m. and we could grab a site – even in the middle of the summer months.

However, one time we showed up a little later in the morning and found ourselves without a campsite. We were able to venture east into Bridger-Teton National Forest and snagged one of the last campsites with at least a vault toilet (as opposed to flushies or no toilet at all). The updated reservation system can help people plan their camping trips in advance, but it also creates some serious competition and the need to plan well in advance so you can be guaranteed a campsite.

Grand Teton Camping Tips

If you're looking to camp at Grand Teton National Park here's a rundown on the campgrounds inside the park, along with some of the hiking trails and other activities you can enjoy.

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Colter Bay Campground tent site

Be Sure to Reserve a Campsite in Advance

Grand Teton National Park has seven designated campgrounds in the park, each with different amenities and restrictions. Advance reservations can be made online up to six months before your visit at Recreation.gov.

Grand Teton National Park Campgrounds

This summary of each of the campgrounds at Grand Teton, listed from south to north, includes the number of sites, types of camping allowed, showers, toilet types, dump stations and more.

Gros Ventre Campground

Located on the south end of the park, Gros Ventre Campground is only 12 miles north of Jackson, Wyoming and the infamous city square with antler arches.

There are 279 total sites that can be used for either RVs (45-foot length limit) or tents. However, only 39 of the sites have electrical hookups.

The campground doesn't offer as much shade as some of the others. It's full of sage brush, blue spruce trees, grasses and tall cottonwoods.

There are no showers at this site, but during the on-season, flush toilets and potable water are available.

If you need firewood, there is some for sale – just be sure you have cash on-hand.

Jenny Lake Campground

Jenny Lake is a popular spot at Grand Teton National Park. There's a beautiful hike across the lake, so it's a great place to setup camp.

Unlike Gros Ventre campground, Jenny Lake campground only has 51 tent sites and 10 hiker/biker sites available – no trailers or campers are allowed. Each site allows a maximum of one tent, one vehicle and six guests for up to seven nights.

The campground is only one hundred yards from the shores of Jenny Lake, offering beautiful views of the park and easy access to nearby trails.

Signal Mountain Campground

On the east side of Jackson Lake is the Signal Mountain campground, allowing smaller RVs (up to 30 feet) or tents on the 81 sites.

You'll be glad to know there are paid showers and laundry facilities at the nearby lodge.

If you want to check out the lake, you can grab a campsite near the lake, or at least one that's a short walk from the lake.

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Roasting hot dogs at Colter Bay Campground

Colter Bay Campground

Our favorite campground is at Colter Bay, which has 324 sites for either tents or RVs.

In addition to the campsites, there is a visitor center, restaurants, stores, cabins, and a marina.

We love the fact that there's also shower and laundry services available. They are cash/change operated, so bring some cash with you to save on the ATM fees.

None of the sites are right on the shores of Jackson Lake, but it's only a short walk to the shoreline and some amazing views of the mountain ranges. Tall lodgepole pine trees are great for hooking up a hammock or two so you can enjoy some downtime at camp.

Colter Bay RV Park

For those looking for RV sites, the Colter Bay RV Park has 112 sites with electrical hookups. The RV park is right next to the campground area, so you'll have access to all the same amenities at the campground.

RELATED POST: National Park Camping Tips You Need to Know 

Lizard Creek Campground

Lizard Creek Campground is at the extreme north portion of Grand Teton National Park, along the shores of Jackson Lake.

There are 60 sites, but none of them have electrical hookups.

If you're planning to spend time in Yellowstone, this puts you a few miles closer than the other campgrounds inside the park.

Headwaters Campground

Technically, the Headwaters Campground is outside of Grand Teton National Park. It's in a connector area between the park and Yellowstone National Park known as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

There are 171 total sites, but 97 of those are RV sites only, with 34 dedicated tent sites.

A little further north is Flagg Ranch, which houses Headwaters Lodge. It's a great option if tent sites or RV camping isn't your thing.

Backcountry Camping

If you’re up for a little adventure, the park has permits available for backcountry camping along the mountain range. Learn more and purchase your permit online.

Learn more about Backcountry Camping with our Beginners Guide!

Activities in Grand Teton National Park

While miles and miles of hikes exist throughout the park, catering to hikers of all ages and skill levels, there are several other activities to consider.

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Hidden Falls

Fishing is a great way to pass a few hours in the park. All anglers must have a Wyoming fishing license, which can be purchased at Flagg Ranch, Colter Bay Marina, Signal Mountain Lodge, or at some of the nearby towns. There are some regulations to be aware of, so visit the National Park Service website for more information.

With many lakes and the Snake River winding through the park, kayaking, boating, floating or paddle boarding are fun activities to enjoy. All boats, including paddleboard, canoes and kayaks, need to purchase a permit. Individual inflatables, like float tubes, don't need a permit, but they are only permitted on lakes. There are tour companies that provide float trips down the Snake River within park boundaries. 

A scenic drive is another great way to see the splendor of the park. There are pullouts at various viewpoints so you can safely see the mountain range, wildflowers, wildlife and more. 

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Meadow in front of Grand Teton mountain range

If your kids love becoming Junior Rangers, they can grab a workbook from the visitors center and complete the activities during your stay. Swing back to the visitors center when the book is complete, and a park ranger will swear them in as a Junior Ranger. You can also participate in a Ranger-led program during your stay. 

More adventurous folks can try climbing or mountaineering. No permits are required for single day trips to climb the peaks, but if you plan to camp overnight in the backcountry, you will need a backcountry permit. 

More: 5 Tips for Visiting Grand Teton National Park

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Skipping rocks at Jackson Lake

Grand Teton National Park FAQs

What's the best campground in Grand Teton? 
Our family has loved Colter Bay Campground. The sites are spacious, and there's access to the lake and some hiking trails full of wildlife. 

Can you camp anywhere in Grand Teton? 
You can only camp in designated campgrounds inside the park. The park is surrounded by the Teton-Bridger National Forest, which allows dispersed camping.

How many days should you plan to spend in Grand Teton? 
If you plan to focus on Grand Teton National Park, plan on two full days of exploring or relaxing in camp. There are several popular spots outside of the park – Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, etc. – so add a couple extra days if you want to visit those hot spots.

Are there campgrounds nearby? 
Yes. When we were unable to get a tent site at Grand Teton National Park, we found one in the national forest – Crystal Creek, east of Gros Ventre.
Use Tentrr, Hipcamp, and Recreation.gov to locate campsites near Grand Teton National Park.

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