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Questions about long term free/cheap camping near Jackson, WY


Original Post
Ryan Strickland · · Idyllwild, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 131

I am wondering about free/cheap camping near Jackson from June-August 2018. I was offered a pretty cool part time job there, but I don't want to pay for housing because it would just negate the money a make working. As I understand it, you cannot stay in dispersed camping areas in Jackson Ranger District for longer than 5 days. 

Does anybody know of a place less than 1 hour away from Jackson where I can legally camp for 14-21 days at a time or longer that is free or cheap? I'm willing to pay up to $15/day, but preferably less. I don't need electricity or running water. The area needs to be accessible to a 2wd truck. The AAC Campground is a no-go, since my wife will be with me and $30/day is too much to spend for that amount of time. I know there are numerous forest service campgrounds in the area, but do they often get booked up and unavailable for long periods?

I'm open to other suggestions if you have them. If somebody owned land in the area and wouldn't mind me camping on it, I would pay a fair price. The key for me is that the location must be reliable. I don't want to find myself stuck camping illegally or at Walmart all summer. 

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Hoback Canyon would be your best bet.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

What about Curtis Canyon?

I'd also keep an eye on what Jackson is doing this year about in-town car camping.  Last year they had a pilot program.  I think, however, that it is the businesses that purchase  (parking) sites for employees.

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 95

+1 for Curtis. You do have to drive through Jackson to get to and from GTNP, but the views are pretty sick.

Ryan Strickland · · Idyllwild, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 131

Thank you all for your responses. You guys think I can count on getting sites at Curtis and Hoback all summer? I assume they have a 14 day limit, which is okay so long as I can get a new site! I was looking at reservations for other forest service campgrounds and they seem completely booked from July-August. I don't want to find myself in a jam part way through the summer. 

I can camp in my truck when needed, but I'd prefer to setup a tent and leave it up for 2 weeks or so at a time.

Sorry if these questions are foolish, I've never been to the area. I know I can find long term free/cheap camping all over California without too much effort. Since I'm trying to hold a job and climb while in Jackson, I don't want to be stressing about where I'm going to camp. 

Curtis Baird · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 161

Curtis Canyon, I am referring to the primitive areas past the developed campground.  I do not know about leaving a tent long term.  Probably closest camping to Jackson you'll get.  Plus it has some of the best sunsets.  

Terrible Terry · · Pinedale,Wy · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0

Shadow Mountain 

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 95

there is primitive camping in Curtis Canyon that's free, but strangely within eyesight of the FS campground. I wouldn't leave a tent there, but there always seemed to be plenty of room, even on a busy July weekend. 

Ryan Strickland · · Idyllwild, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 131

From what I've researched, you cannot stay in dispersed camping areas in Jackson Ranger District for longer than 5 days from May-September. Is this not enforced at all? They claim you cannot return to camp in the same area for 30 days after reaching your 5 day limit. I don't want to be fleeing the rangers all summer!

Here's the forest service flyer where I'm getting this information. That information was linked to directly from this website

Thank you all again for your help. I've emailed my potential employer to see if he has any alternative suggestions. It just doesn't make sense for me to lose money in this venture, since it's just a part-time job (albeit a very cool one) and I'm employed full-time during the school year. 

Jonathan Foster-Moore · · Boston, MA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 70

Definitely check out Shadow Mountain!

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Realize that if you decide to poach up on Shadow, there’s gonna be about 200 other “locals” doing the same exact thing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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