Thinking about an Grand Teton National Park camping trip? What are you waiting for?
Grand Teton National Park offers a stunning mountain landscape that makes you feel like you have been transported to another world. Its splendid mountain range with towering jagged peaks is a favorite among hikers, climbers and photographers. A unique and unforgettable visit awaits you at Grand Teton.
About Grand Teton National Park: Quick Facts
- Grand Teton National Park is located in the northwestern region of Wyoming, with Yellowstone National Park to its north and the town of Jackson to its south.
- It was established on February 26, 1929.
- You can drive through the park since there is a road that winds through it.
- Grand Teton National Park has a land area of 309,994 acres.
- It is surrounded by thick national forests and at the base of the mountain range are alpine lakes.
- The park is accessible via US 191.
- Roughly 2.8 million visitors go to Grand Teton every year.
- The Teton Range stands out in the skyline of the park, rising over 7,000 feet above Jackson Hole valley.
- The park used to be a hunting and gathering ground for Native American tribes, particularly the Shoshone.
- Its name was derived from the French term, les trois tétons, meaning The Three Nipples. The French fur trappers noticed three peaks that stood out.
Preparing for a Grand Teton National Park Camping Trip
Grand Teton National Park is a great destination for camping, but it’s no utopia, for us humans at least. To make your visit more comfortable, safer and hassle-free, take these tips into consideration and prepare accordingly.
Grand Teton gets a lot of snow in the winter, with a yearly average of 450 inches in the mountains and 191 in the valley. Winters are long and cold, ranging between 26 °F in the day and 1 °F at night in January. July records 80 and 41 °F as its daily temperature range. Summer brings in the usual thunderstorms that occur mainly in the mountains. Always check the forecast and be prepared with the right gear.
Grand Teton National Park is bear country. Observe all safety measures to avoid being attacked by bears and be sure to store food properly. Resist the temptation to feed them. In case you see a bear, keep a safe distance. It is recommended to bring bear spray when in the park.
The developed areas of the park have several cell towers in operation. There is good signal in Jackson Hole valley and throughout most areas of Grand Teton National Park. Cellular signal is reportedly unstable in remote areas.
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Campers will be delighted to know that there are six campgrounds to choose from, namely Signal Mountain, Lizard Creek, Jenny Lake, Headwaters, Gros Ventre and Colter Bay. In addition, Flagg Ranch features RV sites for motor campers. If you really want to get up close and personal with nature at Grand Teton, you’ll be pleased to know that backcountry camping is allowed. Just make sure to obtain a permit and pay the corresponding fees. It should be known that bear-resistant canisters are provided and required.
If you want to bring your pet along, make sure that it is leashed. The areas in the park where pets are allowed are mainly in the front country and areas accessible to cars. The park administration wants to protect the Grand Teton’s environment, wildlife, other visitors and your pet.
What to Pack for a Grand Teton National Park Camping Trip
- Large Backpack (60-80 Liters)
- Tent Footprint
- Sleeping Pad
- Sleeping Bag
- Camp Pillow
- Canister Stove
- Waterproof Matches
- 1L Cup (capable of boiling water)
- Utensil (spoon, fork, spork)
- 3 Stuff Sacks (Toiletries, Food, Underwear/Socks)
- Food (Allocated for 5 days of high calorie output)
- Trail Mix
- Vacuum Sealed Chicken
- Easy Prepare Rice (various flavors are available)
- Peanut Butter
- Wheat Thins
- Hard Cheese
- Coffee (tea bag style is easiest)
- Water Filter
- 2L Camel Back/Nalgene Bottles
Acquired in Jackson, WY
- Fuel canisters for Stove
- Bear Mace
- Bear Canister
- Stuff Sacks (for those that need to be organized)
- Knife (This is not optional for me)
- Camp Chair (Crazy Creek makes a great one)
- Sleeping Bag liner
- Clothing (Consider all items Synthetic and moisture wicking)
- Hiking Boots (broken in and well fitting)
- Wool/Synthetic Socks (5 pairs; avoid cotton)
- 2 Pair Shorts (w/ liners like a swim trunk reduces the number of underwear needed)
- 2 Pair Long Pants
- 2 T-Shirts
- 1 Flannel/Long-sleeved Shirt
- Thermal Top (I have come to trust PolarTec)
- Thermal Bottom
- Soft-shell Jacket (light-down jackets are also an option)
- Rain Jacket (a breathable materail is best, but taped seams are a must)
- Sun Hat/Ball Cap
- Sun Glasses
- 3 pair Underwear
- Optional Clothing
- Camp Shoes (Chacos or equivalent are great for water crossings and around camp)
- Waterproof Pants
List courtesy of saltgrasscowboy
What to Do in Grand Teton National Park
Now that you’ve prepared and packed for your trip, it’s time to explore some of Grand Teton National Park’s beautiful sights and enjoy fun activities. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Grand Teton Mountain Range
One of the things that sets the eastern view of the Grand Tetons apart from other ranges is there are not any foothills to obstruct the view. The actions of natures elements have sculpted a monolith of sharply notched peaks accented by deep U shaped glaciated canyons that are truly a sight to behold. If you think the Grand Tetons is awe inspiring from the valley floor a trip into the center of them will set new benchmarks for beauty for the hard drive in your skull. Via greater-yellowstone.com
2. Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop
The premier Grand Teton hiking trail is a once in a lifetime experience and arguably the best way to see what Grand Teton National Park is all about. It is not for everyone being around 20 miles in length, but this backcountry trail should be on any serious hiker’s bucket list. Via plainadventure.com
3. Colter Bay
Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park is one of the most picturesque bays in the Rocky Mountains, and it’s always a treat to visit this wondrous place. Whether you like canoeing, boating, kayaking, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, waterskiing, horseback riding, or just sitting and relaxing while you watch the boats come in and out of the bay, Colter Bay is definitely a “must see” on your Grand Teton National Park Vacation. Via enjoyyourparks.com
4. Leigh Lake
Grand Teton certainly isn’t wanting for breathtaking lakes: there’s Jackson Lake, String Lake, and Jenny Lake, but if you head a little ways off the beaten path, you’ll find that Leigh Lake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest. And… it has a beach! Of course, instead of panoramic ocean views and rolling waves, you’ll have to settle for the surrounding mountain scenery and crystal clear lake waters. It’s a decent length hike, but it’s level and relatively easy. Besides, I can’t think of a better reward for a brisk hike than enjoying a picnic and a swim on the sandy shore. Via roadtrippers.com
5. Schwabacher’s Landing
Schwabacher’s Landing is a spot on the Snake River, almost exactly east of Grand Teton, where the terrain flattens out and allows easy access to the river. There is a dirt road coming off the main highway and down to various trailheads. This is a launch site on the River for anglers and river rafters and is one of America’s most spectacular viewpoints. Via Jacksonholewy.net
6. Hot Springs
Enjoy a snowmobile ride and warm up with a relaxing soak in Granite Hot Springs, or check out Kelly Warm Springs outside of Kelly along Gros Ventre Road, as well as various springs in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Via jacksonholewy
7. Wildlife Tour
Viewing wildlife is one of the most popular and enjoyable activities within Grand Teton National Park. Often easily spotted from the road or park trails, you can spend hours watching wildlife. The following are common species to spot in the park: Trumpeter Swan, Elk, Moose, Bald Eagle, Antelope, Osprey, Bison, Black Bears, Marmots, and Pikas. Via Jacksonholenet.com
8. Fly Fishing
When looking for something to do this summer, try your hand at fly fishing in Grand Teton National Park. Both area lakes and streams offer great trout fishing opportunities: browns, rainbows, lake, and native cutthroat trout can all be caught in the park’s waters. Via jacksonholetraveler.com
9. Scenic Drive
Right off U.S.191, Teton Park Road begins at Moose and traces the Teton Range base to Jackson Lake Junction. The 20-mile road provides a great overview, traversing a good length of the park and passing several bodies of water. To get closer to the breathtaking peaks, take a detour after 8.5 miles at Jenny Lake Road. After merging back onto Teton Park Road, enjoy the scenery for another nine miles, then climb 800 feet on Signal Mountain Summit Road for spectacular views of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole Valley, and Jackson Lake. Via nationalgeographic.com
10. Take a Horseback Ride in Jackson Hole
Not to be confused with the town of Jackson, Jackson Hole is the valley lying to the east of the Teton Mountain Range. Within this valley and its nearby surrounding areas, there are many ranches and horseback riding operators that offer trail rides anywhere from an introductory two hours to multi-day excursions. Horseback riding is one of those activities that is associated with the west and what better place to bust out that cowboy hat and old pair of jeans than Grand Teton National Park – a place brimming with old west history. Via minitime.com
11. Menor’s Ferry Historic District
A short, flat walk from the parking area leads you to the Menor’s Ferry Historic District. Start at the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a contemplative house of prayer. Its large altar-window showcases the inspirational Teton Range. Stroll through the country store and cabin constructed by Jackson Hole homesteader Bill Menor. Climb aboard the replica ferry that transports visitors across the Snake River; the short voyage is very similar to the manner in which the crossing was made in the late 1800s. Via USA Today
Home to the largest bird in North America, the trumpeter swan, Grand Teton National Park also hosts the smallest bird on the continent, the calliope hummingbird, which weighs less than one tenth of an ounce. In addition to supporting a range of bird species, the park’s many habitats feature over 60 species of mammals, from majestic elk to predatory wolves to small pikas. If you’re near the water, there’s a chance that a river otter might be splashing around. Via nationalgeographic.com
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Did we miss anything in our Grand Teton National Park camping guide? Let us know in the comments!