Guide to Camping in Grand Teton National Park

Guide to Camping in Grand Teton National Park

If you love stunning alpine views and fresh mountain air, camping in Grand Teton National Park is hard to beat. The park has 6 developed campgrounds and thousands of backcountry campsites to choose from, making camping within the park an excellent way to see everything the Tetons have to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a comfortable front-country camping experience or you want to head deep into the mountains, there’s a campsite for you at Grand Teton. 

Coming up, we’ll introduce you to some of the best camping locations both inside and outside the park so you can start planning your upcoming adventure.

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Campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park

Colter Bay Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to September 25 (approximately)
  • Cost : $36 to $64 per night
  • Reservation : Group sites only

Located in the central part of the park, just a short walk from the eastern shores of Jackson Lake, Colter Bay Campground offers exceptional views and waterfront access.

Colter Bay offers 346 total campsites, including 13 that are ADA accessible and have electrical hook-ups and 11 that are designed for large groups. It’s nestled within the heart of Colter Bay Village, which has a whole host of different amenities, such as a visitor’s center, restaurants, laundry, and even showers.

All the sites in the campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of the 11 group sites. These group sites can be reserved starting in January each year.

However, if you want to grab an individual spot on the weekend in this popular campground, be sure to arrive early in the morning on Thursday or Friday to secure your site.

Gros Ventre Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to October 10 (approximately)
  • Cost : $33 to $64 per night
  • Reservation : Group sites only

One of the southernmost developed campgrounds in Grand Teton, the Gros Ventre Campground is located near the town of Jackson. It is one of the largest in the park with 300 total sites, including 5 group sites, 36 with electric hookups, and 35 that are designated for tents only.

Aptly named, the campground is right next to the Gros Ventre River, so it provides nice opportunities to view moose, mule deer, and bison. Many of the sites are also perfectly positioned to give you good views of the Grand Teton.

Each campsite in Gros Ventre comes with a picnic table and a fire pit, so don’t forget to bring your firestarter and tinders. Also, keep in mind that the individual sites at the campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Jenny Lake Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : April 30 to September 25 (approximately)
  • Cost : $13 to $32 per night
  • Reservation : No

Perhaps the most iconic campground in the park, the Jenny Lake Campground is the go-to camping destination for anyone looking to venture into the heart of the Teton Range. Situated along the eastern shore of Jenny Lake, this small, 59 site campground is an alpine wonderland.

The campground is situated within a forest of beautiful Douglas fir and lodgepole pine, with views across Jenny Lake to Teewinot Mountain. It’s one of the most popular starting points for mountaineers and tent sites are hard to come by, so try to plan a mid-week trip, if possible.

All campsites in Jenny Lake are tent only and no reservations are accepted. It’s worth noting that gas and propane generators are not allowed in the campground and cell phone service is non-existent, so bring walkie talkies and solar panels to stay connected.

Headwaters Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to October 10
  • Cost : $33 to $64 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Nestled on the northern edge of Grand Teton, just a few miles from the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Headwaters Campground is a tent and RV-friendly camping area for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of Jackson.

There are 131 total sites at the campground, half of which are reservable and half of which are first-come, first-served. Each site has access to a picnic table, fire pit, and potable water.

The campground also has a camp store that sells ice, firewood, and other goodies for your stay. Oh, and Headwaters Campground also has flush toilets, hot showers, and laundry facilities available for you to enjoy.

Lizard Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to September 25 (approximately)
  • Cost : $11 to $31 per night
  • Reservation : No

One of the northernmost campgrounds in the Jackson Lake area, Lizard Creek is a small, rustic camping location that provides good access to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It’s situated just across the lake from the northern edge of the Teton Range, including Owl and Ranger peaks.

Lizard Creek has 60 total campsites, all of which are first-come, first-served. Do note that while this campground is open to both tent and RV campers, there’s a strict 30’ maximum length on all vehicles.

The campground offers a picnic table and a fire ring at every campsite, plus potable water nearby. While amenities are simple and rustic at Lizard Creek, however, there’s a fully-outfitted camp store at the nearby Signal Mountain Lodge.

Signal Mountain Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to September 25 (approximately)
  • Cost : $11 to $56 per night
  • Reservation : No

Offering excellent views of Mount Moran across Jackson Lake, the Signal Mountain Campground is located in a beautiful lodgepole pine forest in the southern part of the park. There are 81 total campsites in the campground, 25 of which offer electric hookups.

Signal Mountain is open to tent campers and small RVs that are no more than 30’ long. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but be aware that this campground tends to fill up quickly on summer weekends.

Within the park, there are plenty of amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, potable water, coin-operated showers, and a well-stocked camp store. There’s also access to the marina from Signal Mountain, so don’t forget your hiking sandals if you want to go for a stroll by the lake.

Death Canyon Shelf Camping Zone

  • Type : Tent / Horse
  • Open : All year
  • Cost : $45 per trip
  • Reservation : Yes

One of Grand Teton’s excellent backcountry camping zones, Death Canyon Shelf is situated in the far southwestern portion of the park at the base of Mount Bannon. The camping zone is most commonly accessed via the Death Canyon Trail, which is a 10-mile hike into the alpine.

With 16 campsites and 1 horse camp, getting a permit for Death Canyon Shelf is difficult. In fact, this is one of the most popular backcountry camping zones in the entire park, so be sure to get a permit as soon as possible (applications usually start in January).

Death Canyon Shelf, while rugged and stunning, is a primitive camping area, however. So, be prepared with all of the gear you need to be self-sufficient, including a first aid kit for emergencies.

Paintbrush Canyon Camping Zones

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : All year
  • Cost : $45 per trip
  • Reservation : Yes

Located in the central part of Grand Teton National Park, the Paintbrush Canyon Camping Zones are an ideal camping area if you want to check out the heart of the Teton range.

The camping zones are split up into 2 sections. In the lower section of Paintbrush Canyon near String Lake, there are about 12 campsites available to backpackers. Alternatively, if you’re willing to hike in a bit further with your gear, the Upper Paintbrush Camping Zone is open for dispersed camping to the south of Holly Lake.

Both camping zones require permits for overnight stays, which you can apply for as early as January each year. Be mindful that fires are prohibited at Upper Paintbrush Canyon, so bring plenty of warm hiking clothes on your trip, instead.

Cascade Canyon Camping Zones

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : All year
  • Cost : $45 per trip
  • Reservation : Yes

The Cascade Canyon Camping Zones are highly popular backcountry destinations. They are both accessible from Jenny Lake and offer dozens of campsites for the intrepid backcountry traveler.

Both the North Fork and the South Fork camping areas require permits to access, which you can apply for as early as January each year. From these primitive camping areas, you can access Lake Solitude, Avalanche Divide, and Hurricane Pass, as well as some excellent climbing destinations.

Due to the camping zone’s relative accessibility, it can be tricky to get permits during the summer months, so consider visiting in the middle of the week. Also, it’s worth remembering that there are no amenities at these backcountry campsites, so come prepared with everything you need for the night, including camping meals.

Campgrounds Near Grand Teton National Park

Atherton Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to September 30 (approximately)
  • Cost : $15 to $25 per night
  • Reservation : No

Nestled within the scenic Bridger-Teton National Forest, the Atherton Creek Campground is a popular choice for people that want a quiet place to spend the night.

The campground’s 22 campsites are all available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Atherton Creek is just a 15-minute drive from the town of Jackson and the national park, making it an affordable and serene camping alternative to the hustle and bustle of staying near town.

Within the campground, there are plenty of boating and fishing opportunities on the Gros Ventre River and Lower Slide Lake. Each campsite has access to picnic tables, potable water, and vault toilets, making for a comfortable, yet simple camping experience.

Crystal Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : April 30 to September 5 (approximately)
  • Cost : $12 per night
  • Reservation : No

Hidden along the banks of the Gros Ventre River, the Crystal Creek Campground is one of the smallest camping areas near Grand Teton National Park.

Although the campground technically has 6 campsites, only 3 are open for visitor use. No reservations are accepted for camping at Crystal Creek as everything is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground offers affordable nightly fees, picnic tables, drinking water, and vault toilets.

This small camping area also offers excellent hiking, OHV, and biking opportunities in Bridger-Teton National Forest if you’re looking for some more adventure off the beaten path or, perhaps a sunset hike. However, it’s also just about a 1-hour drive from the campground to all of Grand Teton’s most popular attractions.

Curtis Canyon Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : April 30 to September 5 (approximately)
  • Cost : $15 per night
  • Reservation : No

Only a short 30-minute drive to the east of the city of Jackson, the Curtis Canyon Campground is an excellent place to stay if you want solitude but don’t want to be too far from the action.

The campground is located within the Bridger-Teton National Forest and, like all campgrounds in the forest, doesn’t take reservations. Within the campground, there are 11 simple campsites that can accommodate either tents or small RVs.

It is very close to the National Elk Refuge, providing you with a great chance to see these magnificent creatures in action. With hiking and horseback riding trails located just a short drive from the campground and easy access to Grand Teton, Curtis Canyon is a nice place to stay if you want to see the greater Jackson Hole region during your trip.

Teton Canyon Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV / Horse
  • Open : May 15 to October 15 (approximately)
  • Cost : $12 to $24 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

One of the few established campgrounds near the western side of Grand Teton National Park, the Teton Canyon Campground is a cozy camping area in Caribou-Targhee National Forest near the town of Driggs, Idaho.

The campground is located at 6,500’ above sea level and it offers excellent access to the western Teton’s hiking and horseback riding trails. Teton Canyon Campground was recently renovated and each campsite has picnic tables, grills, fire pits, and a food storage locker.

For horse packers, there are also 2 dedicated equestrian sites to check out. Plus, there are great fly fishing opportunities in the nearby Teton Creek, which is home to both Yellowstone cutthroat and brook trout.

Camping Tips for Grand Teton National Park

Camping is an exceptionally popular pastime within Grand Teton National Park, so be prepared for your upcoming adventure is a must.

Here are some top tips to ensure that you know what to expect before you head into the park.

  1. Arrive early. Most campgrounds in Grand Teton don’t take reservations, except for group campsites. Therefore, it’s essential that you arrive early to secure your campsite. If possible, plan to arrive in the park during the middle of the week. Wednesdays and Thursdays are 2 of the best days to arrive during the summer months to beat the crowds. Try to arrive before 10am whenever possible, especially if you’re planning to camp within the park.
  2. Reserve backcountry permits. In Grand Teton, approximately 1/3 of all backcountry permits are reservable and the rest are available for last-minute reservations. However, if you can, it’s best to reserve your permits ahead of time to avoid disappointment. This is particularly true if you want to camp at Death Canyon Shelf or Cascade Canyon. In general, permits are reservable as early as the first week in January, so be prepared to apply as soon as possible.
  3. Be prepared for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are notoriously annoying during the summer months in the Tetons and the surrounding range, so don’t go camping unprepared. Bring a headnet, at an absolute minimum, and consider using either a natural or DEET-based bug spray to keep the mosquitos at bay.
  4. Have a back up plan. It can be very difficult to get a campsite in Grand Teton National Park during the summer, especially if you’re traveling during the weekend or around a holiday. If you don’t have a reservation, be sure to have some back up plans if you can’t get a spot when you arrive. In addition to the 4 Forest Service campgrounds we’ve listed above, other great camping options outside Grand Teton can be found in Yellowstone National Park. Alternatively, Grassy Lake Road on the John D. Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway also has a couple of dozen dispersed camping sites available that are free to use.
  5. Be bear aware. The Teton Range is prime bear territory as both black and grizzly bears can be found in the park. All designated camping areas have access to food storage lockers that you must use when in the park. Everything from food to toiletries needs to be placed in these lockers to prevent bears from accessing your food. If you’re camping in the backcountry, you may need to pack a bear-resistant canister instead of a locker. You should also consider packing bear spray while hiking in the park.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.