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Old 11-29-2020, 09:58 AM   #1
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Campgrounds inside Grand Tetons

I'm researching campgrounds in GT for a visit in June 2021, and would like to see if anyone can contribute as much information as possible.
Specifically, I'm looking for the information not listed in the brochure, like: are campfires allowed? Proximity to the tourist sites, reservations needed/accepted? And if they're 1st come 1st serve, what are the chances of being 1st to come/1st served.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:18 AM   #2
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Gross Ventre is a very good campsite in the Tetons. If there is room in any campground it will be there. They allow fires. They have electric and water sites, no hookup sites, and a generator section. The campsite is about 8 miles out of Jackson Hole. All in all it is one of my favorite campgrounds. Often there are Moose in the campground. But June is a tough time in the Tetons for space. So far we have never been turned away at GV. I think maybe they take reservations now but am not sure. Resverations are a real good idea in that area at that time of year. Gros Ventre is well managed and the 1st come/first served will be honored.

Colter Bay is a good campground with a lot of amenities. Reservations required.

We drive into Yellowstone from both Colters bay and Gross Ventre. A fairly long but pleasant drive. Maybe 2 hours from GV to the lodge on Yellowstone lake or 1.5 hrs to Old Faithful.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:20 AM   #3
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I would visit the national forest campground website for the most accurate information.


I have found this information very reliable, also call the number listed for any specific campground and/or the closest ranger station for more up to date info as you get closer.

Whether campfires are allowed varies due to weather conditions, but it’s always posted, in my experience.

I was thru there just last summer, and found the campgrounds very busy but did not have trouble finding a site in the mornings.

June should not be terribly busy, more so later in the summer.

Find a need and fill it.

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Old 11-29-2020, 10:54 AM   #4
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+1 on Gross Ventre. It’s a large campground with well spaced sites and, most importantly for us who don’t plan months in advance, first come first served. That being said they typically don’t let you wander around the park in peak season with your rig looking for a space but will assign you one when you register. It’s so busy that having dozens of people “shopping” would create traffic jams galore. If you get there in the morning you’ll likely get in. I wouldn’t arrive on a Friday or Saturday during summer if you can help it.

Coulter Bay is huge as well and is closer to the middle of the park but reservations are highly recommended. We have gotten in last minute but there’s a lot of luck involved.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:52 AM   #5
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There are two campgrounds at Colter Bay. One is Colter Bay RV which has full hookups but no campfires. Adjacent is the Colter Bay Campground which is dry camping and allows campfires. I believe the Campground is first come first served. Always wanted to try Gros Ventre but it never worked out. If the first come places don't work you could go to Flagg Ranch which is between Tetons and Yellowstone.
Beautiful country. One of my favorite places.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:10 AM   #6
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Campground fires is purely regulated on the season and dryness in the forest, as well as other considerations. After our summer season dryness and fires all around, most areas banned campfires. June would probably be ok, but who knows at this point as Wyoming has been dry for the past 5 years.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:25 AM   #7
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Getting to here or there is a function of three basic things:

1) How far it is / is there construction ( = one way road and traffic switches every half hour)
2) How much traffic is on the road
3) How long each 987 cars in the pack need to stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of / pet the bear / bison / moose ....
4) How long it takes for the ambulance to get there to clean up the mess when somebody actually *does* pet the wildlife .....

It may take you 4 hours round trip up to Yellowstone under good conditions. It might take you 4 hours just to get past the bison blockade on a bad day ....

Fun !!

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Old 11-30-2020, 10:39 AM   #8
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If you are up for a minor splurge, the Headwaters at Flagg Ranch campground is located directly between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. It is a concession so pricey but, historically, has been well maintained and managed.

As noted in an earlier post, whether or not you can have a campfire anywhere in the region is dependent on what Fire Condition is set. Generally, fire season starts around August 1st but can start earlier if there was a poor snow season or a dry Spring.
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:01 AM   #9
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I stayed at Flagg Ranch last September. Beautiful area, and convenient to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. All amenities including a nearby convenience store/ gas station. (Otherwise, Jackson is the nearest town - about 50 miles drive away) They have firepits, but campfires are allowed or not depending on current fire risk conditions. But after this incredibly dry past summer and fall, I would guess it could be a couple of years before drought conditions are improved enough to allow for campfires.
One additional little-known benefit to Flagg Ranch is the hot springs that are within walking distance (Huckleberry and Polecat). They make for a nice soak at the end of the day after a strenuous hike or bike ride.
Another nice campground that is actually within Grand Teton is Signal Mountain. It was full when I was there, so I haven't actually stayed there, but I did ride my bike through. It is close to Jackson Lake, including a boat dock, and has incredible views of the Tetons. Campsites are available with electric service. There is a dump station near the exit. There is a convenience store there as well, and, of key importance, wifi access at the coffee shop. There is essentially no signal anywhere else in the park. (That is NOT the origin of the name Signal Mountain however )
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:04 AM   #10
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Okay, having camped at Gros Ventre several times in the past and always found plenty of open sites, I would agree with all the replies thus far - that was until we tried to camp there this past October. Arriving midday, midweek the place was a zoo with trailers and motorhomes lined up looking for sites with the campground full. I was told if I came back around 7am the next morning and got in a waiting line which would already be forming, I'd probably get a site. When I asked if there was some sort of special event going on, I was told nope and that it had been like this all summer. We headed about 20 miles further south of Jackson and ended capturing the last available site in a national forest campground - and found it full of campers who had the same experience we had at Gros Ventre

I suspect the large influx campers from west coast states trying to escape the smoke from forest fires might have been part of the problem. But be forewarned that what used to be a first come campground that hardly ever turned people away is now quite busy even in non-peak periods. Although we prefer to play it by ear and pick campgrounds without making reservations, I would highly recommend seeking out advance reservations for camping in the Grand Tetons.
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Old 11-30-2020, 01:16 PM   #11
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I am guessing that next year will be another abnormal year in terms of numbers of people camping.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
I am guessing that next year will be another abnormal year in terms of numbers of people camping.
You are probably spot-on with this! I am predicting that once they open up Yellowstone (if it is done on time) that it will be racked, packed and stacked.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:41 PM   #13
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This is a great resource of information on campgrounds all over the US. You can search for pay or free sites and it will filter them accordingly. There are lots of reviews by us campers. We stayed at Gros Ventre September 2020, we got there at about 11:30 on the 26th and was able to get a spot with electric/water. So it's doable with maybe a little luck.


This is an intro video on YouTube of what Campendium is and there are many videos in YouTube on how to use it to get the most out of it.

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Old 11-30-2020, 04:09 PM   #14
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We have stayed both at Signal Mountain (in 2016) and Flagg Ranch (in 2020).

This year we also scouted out Gros Ventre (from the road) and Colter Bay.

My feedback:

Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain was beautiful. Had VERY small sites. At the time we stayed there we had a 22 sport bambi and it was by far the most challenging site to get into we have ever stayed at. The road is curved and lined with "decorative" tree stumps about 2 feet tall. No reservations, no hookups. It had wonderful large and clean pay showers. Has a wonderful laundry mat. Had dump station on site. The adjacent area has a great gas station/C store with espresso and wi fi. Full sit down restaurant, and gift shop as well. We would probably not stay there again as we now have a 27 foot FC and don't think it would fit.

Flagg Ranch

We stayed at Flagg Ranch late July 2020. We would not stay here again. It was SO dusty that we had to keep our windows closed and could not be outside. It was not at all like a typical national park campground. There were very limited restrooms and it was very busy--as compared to Yellowstone where there are abundant restrooms and they were cleaned HOURLY during the day (covid). The only benefit was full hookups and the ability to make reservation. There was no real view, nothing much to do there (hot and dusty), and a real bummer after staying in Yellowstone.

It was so dusty because nothing there is paved. It's all dirt roads and normal traffic coming and going was like Pig Pen on the Peanuts cartoon. If you were there not during the hot dry part of the year it may be different. The river is fairly close and I did walk down there one evening--but there was not shade and it was hot.

Gros Ventre

As we were disappointed in Flagg Ranch we checked out Gros Ventre. It seems to get high ratings from social media. What we saw was a very long line (which was why we did not go in.) Rigs were lined up at the entrance, and when someone left their campsite, then the next rig in line went in. It looked like little to no shade, so would be pretty hot in summer. It was close to Jackson Hole and was pretty. It is technically outside the park.

Colter Bay

We also drove into Colter Bay. If we were to stay in Tetons again and needed reservations we would probably stay here. Sites are packed pretty close together and there is some shade. There is a "compound" with gift shop, food, etc.

We vastly prefer Yellowstone for camping to the Tetons. But if you want hookups then Colter Bay would be what I would recommend.

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Old 11-30-2020, 06:54 PM   #15
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No one has mentioned Jenny Lake in GT. We spent 14 days of our honeymoon (48 years ago) there and it was heaven. We didn't have a reservation and only half of the 40 or so campsites were occupied. Flash forward to 2017 when I went there solo on my motorcycle, on my way to Oregon. Didn't know the place. I took a picture and sent it to my wife to guess where I was. She replied, "Mall of America?" Soul-crushing. Ended up camping at Gros Ventre and it was fine but a bit of a drive away from the views and activity of the Park. Under the current circumstances, that is probably preferable. It seemed to be well run by courteous, friendly folks. That said, 2020 is yet another light year from 2017 and I expect that all our national parks will be overrun and over-used for the foreseeable future. I'm guessing that the nearby private properties offer the best opportunities. Good luck!
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:10 PM   #16
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We camped there this summer both at Coulter Bay village the full hookup reservable campground that was very dark and spaces were tightly packed for about $95 a night and also at Coulter bay, that was dry camping but sites were much nicer and much larger, but First come First served. If you don't mind dry camping I would plan to arrive mid week at the commercial Coulter Bay Village in order to fill your tanks and top up the batteries etc overnight and be at Coulter Bay at 8AM the next morning for a good shot at a FCFS spot. Both entrances are adjacent, and overnighting at the commercial site gives you easy access to the other one. I would not choose to stay at Coulter Bay Village again for more than one night - sites were just too packed for my liking.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:34 PM   #17
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I stayed at Colter Bay and at Gros Ventre. Colter Bay is great if you have a family or want to do park things conveniently. Ranger programs, a visitors center, many activities, a small park village and other conveniences like laundry groceries, and gas are within a 5 minute walk and more are within a short drive. Sites are nice and the campground is well run. Of all the campgrounds I think this is the hardest to get into; reservations for the week I was there filled up many months in advance. The FCFS spots for the week that I was there seemed to be allocated only in a no-show situation. So Colter Bay is either for extreme planners (which was me for that portion of the trip) or for people who feel lucky.

Gros Ventre is a nice campground as well if you’re looking to be a little more remote. I saw multiple bull moose daily and had a great view of the Tetons out the panoramic window of my Airstream—I believe it was loop C. That campground also has ranger programs and plenty of places to wander but for most people, there isn’t much to do that won’t require driving. I was traveling solo when I stayed there (full family was with me for Colter Bay) and enjoyed it.
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:12 AM   #18
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I think this year, and possibly next depending on how Covid shakes out for 2021, were and are going to be crazy for camping in general. Iíve been camping for several years with our airstream and this year was crazy everywhere we went. That said I think when people can do more traditional traveling and vacations that the campgrounds will get somewhat less crowded.

Our experience at the Tetons this year was similar to what others have posted. We ended up staying at a Forest Service campground and the road was not ideal to pull our 16FB. But the view made it worth it. What everyone is saying here is absolutely correct. Get there early if you donít have reservations like 6 AM early.

If you can find campgrounds to make reservations try and do that. However they are probably going to be sold out soon after they become available. That said if you check back often you will sometimes find cancellations. Or if you call the reservation number for the Tetons and Yellowstone youíll sometimes have luck with those in person reservations.

Both Yellowstone and GT NP are amazing and worth the effort to camp in and spend as much time as you can in. Good luck
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:17 AM   #19
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Start making reservations now. Can't stress this more!
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:51 PM   #20
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I'm well past the time to make reservations for a RV spot for this coming June. Looks like I'm relegated to first come first served status.
Judging from the comments, it sounds like Gros Ventre is my best option.
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