How to Camp in the Grand Tetons

How to Camp in the Grand Tetons
First-time visitors to Grand Teton National Park can never be fully ready for the sight of these majestic mountains with their glaciers, unspoiled lakes and diverse ecosystems. Whether you prefer staying in a developed campground or going it on your own in the backcountry wilderness, camping in this park will bring unforgettable experiences and memories.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • List of emergency phone numbers
  • Extra winter clothing
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • High-energy snacks
Step 1
Decide when you want to go camping in the Grand Tetons. The campgrounds close from early to mid-fall until late spring. If you want a shower and other amenities, take this into account when planning your trip. Fall and winter are excellent times to go if you want fewer crowds and don't mind harsh winter weather.
Step 2
Make campground reservations as far ahead of time as possible; the summer months bring thousands of visitors to the park. Colter Bay Campgound is located five miles north of Moose, Wyoming; it's popular with people who have RVs, campers and trailers. Flagg Ranch sits in the middle of a spruce-fir forest and is five miles north of the park itself. Gros Ventre offers campsites along the Gros Ventre River; it's 11 1/2 miles southeast of Moose. Tent only camping is available at Jenny Lake; it is eight miles north of Moose. Lizard Creek is a good choice if you want a less-crowded campground; it's in the northern part of the park and is about 32 miles north of Moose. Signal Mountain features lake and mountain views; the sites are smaller than the other campgrounds, and it's 16 miles north of Jenny Lake.
Step 3
Go backcountry camping if you want a true adventure. Several companies offer winter backcountry camping trips that are good choices for beginners. These tours feature such activities as building a snow cave, learning survival skills and powder skiing. If you go into the wilderness alone, have a list of emergency phone numbers, extra winter clothing, a first aid kit, plenty of bottled water and high-energy snacks. Always check the weather before venturing out on your own.
Step 4
Check out the many activities available at the park, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, guided snowshoe walks and snowmobiling in the winter. Summer activities include biking, bird watching, boating, fishing, climbing, wildlife viewing and hiking.

Tips & Warnings

You can make an advance reservation for backcountry camping.
Grand Teton National Park requires you to have a backcountry permit; they're given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
You must use the free park-approved bear-proof food canisters when backcountry camping at an elevation of lower than 10,000 feet.
It's dangerous to feed or approach the wildlife in the park.
Exercise caution when crossing a snowfield or stream in June or July.

Article Written By Ellen Kendall

Ellen Kendall has 15 years of writing and editing experience. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. Her book contributions include biographies and multi-cultural and Holocaust lesson plans. She has previously served as a real estate broker and interior designer and taught ESL in Korea and at Duke.

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