Camping in Grand Teton & Jackson Hole: the best campgrounds plus what you need to know


image of the tetons
The Tetons

By Matt, Dec 2021

You’re thinking about visiting Grand Teton National Park and you need to know where to camp. You’ve come to the right place!

Lodging in Grand Teton National Park & the Jackson Hole Valley is expensive! That’s why it’s such a popular place to camp. And I do mean POPULAR.

It’s also CONFUSING.

So I’ve prepared this guide to help you understand where to camp and what you need to know.

NOTE: Want to save time piecing things together on the National Park website? I put together a comprehensive chart of all the amenities each campground has so you can easily find the one that suits your needs. To receive this immediately, sign up for our free newsletter.

https://youtu.be/cVJnC0GAFXg

Quick overview of Grand Teton

As always, let’s orient ourselves with the map of Grand Teton. Grand Teton lies within Jackson Hole Valley in Wyoming. At the south end of the valley is the city of Jackson, Wyoming, which is NOT in the national park.

The map below ONLY shows the campgrounds within the park boundaries. But there are MANY campgrounds outside the park boundaries as well, which I’ll cover later.

image of map with campground locations
Map of Grand Teton campgrounds

Three kinds of Campgrounds

In this article, I cover the three kinds of campgrounds to know about in the Grand Teton and Jackson Hole area:

  • National Park campgrounds, located within the National Park, and reservable on recreation.gov. Cost: $20-80
  • Forest Service campgrounds, located on all sides of the National Park and are only first-come, first-served (FCFS), except for the group campsites, which are reservable on recreation.gov. Cost: Usually free-$15.
  • Privately-owned campgrounds and RV parks, which are reservable directly through their websites. Cost: Usually over $100.

Interested in hotels instead? See Where to stay in Grand Teton

Camping inside Grand Teton

There are 7 campgrounds inside Grand Teton. The two largest and most popular are Colter Bay and Gros Ventre.

CampgroundLocationSitesSeason
HeadwatersUpper171May-Oct
Lizard CreekUpper60Jun-Sep
Colter BayUpper324May-Sep
Colter Bay RV ParkUpper112May-Oct
Signal MountainMiddle81May-Oct
Jenny LakeMiddle61Apr-Sep
Gros Ventre*South279Apr-Oct
* Pronounced GROW-VAHnt

If you want a more detailed chart of campground amenities, including RV lengths, group sites, ADA sites, showers, costs, etc., sign up for our newsletter and you will receive it in your first newsletter immediately.

What is the best campground in Grand Teton?

I’ve camped at Colter Bay and Gros Ventre. Honestly, you can’t go wrong in any of the campgrounds, but here are recommendations for your situation:

  • For family fun, try Colter Bay or Colter Bay RV Park. These are located next to each other on the shores of Jackson Lake and is a resort with campgrounds, an RV park, and camping cabins. You can boat, kayak, and hang out at the lake. Note that the beach isn’t exactly a sandy paradise: it’s small rocks everywhere. So bring water shoes! See our article and video on what to pack for Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
  • For big RVs, try Gros Ventre, Colter Bay, Colter Bay RV Park, or Headwaters. See more about campsite sizes below.
  • For sewer hookups, you need to go with Colter Bay RV Park or Headwaters.
  • For a camping cabin, look to Headwaters or Colter Bay.
  • If you need a dumping station, avoid Jenny Lake and Lizard Creek.
  • If you need showers or laundry, avoid Gros Ventre and Lizard Creek.
  • For seclusion, try Lizard Creek. It’s the smallest and offers the fewest amenities.
  • If you want to see moose, try Gros Ventre.
  • Can’t find a campsite in the park? Read the section below about “Campgrounds near Grand Teton.”
First time to Grand Teton? Our video will walk you through the planning process

How to reserve campgrounds in Grand Teton

Although the campgrounds are run by a few different concessionaires, they are ALL available for booking on recreation.gov.

They open up six months in advance on a rolling basis. That means if you’re booking exactly six months away, you may need to hop on the website multiple days in a row if your trip is a multi-day trip.

The nice thing is you can filter them according to your needs very easily on recreation.gov.

Does Grand Teton have group campsites?

Not that many! Gros Ventre has 4 large group sites, and Colter Bay has 10.

Those are your only options.

Does Grand Teton have ADA accessible campsites?

If you need an ADA-accessible campsite, your best bet is Headwaters. The park says “most” of its 171 sites are ADA accessible, although it doesn’t say how many. Other campgrounds with ADA sites are:

  • Gros Venture (10)
  • Jenny Lake (3)
  • Colter Bay (13)
  • Colter Bay RV Park (6)

If you’re elderly or disabled, and you’re visiting Yellowstone as well, watch my Yellowstone if you’re disabled or impaired video.

How much do Grand Teton campgrounds cost?

Generally, a campground in Grand Teton will run from about $40-$80. Tent-only sites are on the lower end and RV sites are on the higher end.

Note that almost all of them offer a discount if you’re a senior or disabled. You need to have the Senior or Access version of the America the Beautiful Pass. Our chart includes the campgrounds that give a discount.

Are there RV-only and tent-only sites?

Yes! Nearly all campsites in the park allow tents and RVs, but some are designated one or the other.

CampgroundSitesRV OnlyTent Only
Gros Ventre279035
Jenny Lake61061
Colter Bay RV Park1121120
Headwaters1719743
All sites not designated as RV-only or Tent-only can be used for either

How big are the campsites (can I fit my RV/trailer in them)?

Four campgrounds allow RVs or trucks and trailers with a total length of 45 feet:

  • Gros Ventre
  • Colter Bay
  • Colter Bay RV Park
  • Headwaters

Two campgrounds allow up to 30 feet:

  • Signal Mountain
  • Lizard Creek

Remember that Jenny Lake doesn’t allow RVs at all.

Note that ALL campground lengths are for the entire length of your RV or truck and trailer.

Most sites are pull-through sites. There are a few that are back-in sites, but you cannot park your truck next to your trailer in these sites, so the total length of your truck and trailer still needs to be less than the 30 or 45 feet limit.

As far as the spaciousness of the campgrounds, my experience is that they are plenty big for comfort and provide enough buffer from your neighbors. Forest Service campgrounds outside the park are typically a little bigger and more spacious, but I think the ones in the park are sufficient.

image of lake and mountains
One of the gorgeous and clear glacial lakes at the bottom of the Tetons

Are generators allowed?

As far as I can tell, generators are allowed at every campground except Jenny Lake. Quiet hours are 8 pm to 8 am.

What kinds of amenities do they have?

National park campgrounds are typically basic campgrounds without a lot of amenities. But you do have some options in Grand Teton.

Two offer sewer hookups: Colter Bay RV Park and Headwaters.

Four offer electric hookups: Gros Ventre, Signal Mountain, Colter Bay, and Colter Bay RV Park.

All of them offer dump stations except Jenny Lake and Lizard Creek.

All of them have camp stores to buy firewood, snacks, and other items except Gros Ventre and Lizard Creek.

All have flush toilets and showers except Lizard Creek and Headwaters.

Moose are commonly found in Grand Teton

Are there backcountry campgrounds in Grand Teton?

Yes! If you’re going to do some deep, multi-day hiking in the Tetons, there are campgrounds and you need a permit.

What is the weather like in Grand Teton?

The West is HIGH and DRY.

The weather in the busy season — June, July, August, and September — is absolutely gorgeous, with temperatures usually around 70-80 degrees during the day.

But since it’s high in elevation, nighttime temperatures will get down into the 30s or 40s. So make sure you have a way to stay warm!

Also, it’s generally arid and dry, so you might want to pack lotion. And even though the temperatures aren’t typically blazing hot, sunscreen is a good idea if you’ll do a lot of hiking.

Grand Teton is a year-round park, but the campgrounds are closed in the winter.

If you camp in May or October, it will be cold with a decent chance of snow.

When are the Grand Teton campgrounds open?

Campgrounds typically open in April or May and close in September or October.

Does wildlife enter the campgrounds?

Yes, it’s very possible for wildlife to enter your campground. I’ve seen moose, fox, elk, deer, and porcupines enter the campgrounds.

It’s also possible bears could enter your campground, although it isn’t very likely due to the strict rules they have about storing your food in a bear box or in your vehicle.

Bears really don’t like being around people unless people have yummy food.

Campground rules you need to know

  • Pets are allowed but they must be leashed. Also, since this is bear country, there are very few places you can take your animals in the park. My recommendation is to leave the pets at home or put them in a pet care place in Jackson.
  • You MUST store your food, including water, in your vehicle or in a bear box. Almost all campsites have a bear box. If you do not do this, you will get a ticket.
  • I don’t know if it’s a rule, but generally they want you to buy firewood from the campground or local area. If you bring it in from outside the area, it may contain pests that harm the trees. This is a major problem in many of our national forests today.
  • Drones and fireworks are BANNED.
  • Fired are only allowed if you have metal fire ring in your campsite. Almost all of them do. However, sometimes the park will ban all fires due to drought conditions.

Campfire programs

Some of the parks have amphitheaters for Ranger Talks at night. These are really delightful and professional presentations by the park rangers.

These have mostly been canceled due to COVID recently, but check with your campsite for details.

If they are offered, I highly recommend going to one!

Camping near Grand Teton

We highly recommend getting a campsite in Grand Teton because it’s close to the action and they take reservations.

But if you can’t, there are MANY campgrounds nearby. Most of these are run by the Forest Service and are first-come, first-served (FCFS). Some of these are private campgrounds or RV parks.

Private Campgrounds

I found a few private campgrounds, and the consensus is they are overpriced. But that’s Jackson for you! At least you can reserve them, unlike the Forest Service campgrounds.

  • Jackson Hole Campground – Fireside Resort. This is located in Wilson, near Teton Village, so the location is nice and close to the park. The reviews, however, aren’t that great.
  • The Virginian RV Park. This is located in Jackson, which is a great, central location to see things. But again, the reviews aren’t great.
  • Snake River Cabins and RV Village. This is located on the Snake River, south of Jackson about 15 minutes. It has a 30 foot RV limit and it also has camping cabins. The reviews seem to be mostly positive. The Snake River is a popular place to river raft.
  • Kudar Log Cabins and RV. Located right in Jackson, it has the same complaints as the others: small and expensive.
  • Moose Creek Ranch. This is located over Teton Pass, and it offers lodging, glamping, and RV sites. Reviews suggest it’s a little nicer but more expensive than the others.

Forest Service Camprounds

All campgrounds in the Forest Service are FCFS except for group sites, which can be reserved on recreation.gov.

NOTE: I don’t recommend driving to Grand Teton without a camping reservation. Even though there are hundreds of campsites – both established and “dispersed” – they actually fill up.

HOWEVER, if you want to try getting one of these FCFS sites, here is what I suggest:

First, check out Campendium. Most people use this site to find these campgrounds. It shows almost all of the established campgrounds and the “boondocking” sites. What’s really nice about it is you can read reviews from people who have used these sites recently. This is important because many of these sites have roads that aren’t maintained, and getting to them can be treacherous.

Second, check out my Grand Teton Camping Guide. This is a collection of maps that are publicly available online but are spread out all over the Forest Service website. Campendium will often link you to the Forest Service campground site as well, but this guide is for those who like printed maps and who don’t want to have to keep clicking around forever to look at each and every campground.

Are there free campgrounds (called “dispersed,” or “boondocking”) in or near Grand Teton?

There are NO dispersed or “boondocking” campsites located within Grand Teton National Parks. But there are many dispersed campsites near the park on Forest Service land. Check out Campendium or my Grand Teton Camping Guide to find them.

Should I camp inside or outside the park?

We highly recommend camping inside the park because:

  • You’ll be closer to the best sites in Grand Teton National Park
  • You’ll have a reservation

Should you camp or stay in a hotel?

The biggest benefit to camping in Grand Teton is the cost. An added benefit is that the scenery is gorgeous. I also love that morning mountain air.

Hotels are very expensive, so camping is the way a lot of people get to see the park without breaking the bank.

However, there are some really cool resorts and hotels that could also be part of your experience if you can afford them.

See our post Where to stay in Grand Teton for more.

Summary

I hope this helps you plan your next camping trip to Grand Teton.  We’ve enjoyed it so much over the years that I hope this will make it a little easier for you to enjoy your next camping trip to Grand Teton.

Let us show you around the park and tell you about it with our self-guided tour. This includes a very detailed itinerary to see the best of Grand Teton, as well as an audio guide to tell you all about it!

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