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Van camping beta in Bridger-Teton National forest

Original Post
kmyee · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Hi All,

I'm planning a summer road trip and was looking at spending a couple of nights near Jackson in a rental camper van. Dispersed camping on national forest land seems to be the only cheap/free/legal option in the vicinity of Jackson and Grand Teton NP. I'm looking for good spots to park the van not too far from Jackson and GTNP. So far, I've found that there are some spots past curtis canyon campground off sheep creek rd, and some spots off shadow mtn rd. These seem to be the go-to places. I just want to make sure they're still kosher to stay at, or if you guys have any other suggestions?


DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Armchair Asshole · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 220

I’m sorry, but this question has already been answered. A simple MP website search would have pulled up a thread about this topic, which is on the same page you went to to start this question.

Yes, both of those places you mentioned are fine. Expect to be hanging out with 200 strangers who are all doing the sameness thing.

If the Forest Service or NPS doesn’t want you camping somewhere, there will be a clearly visible sign telling you to fuck off.

kmyee · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks Davis. Guilty as charged, I was too lazy to search. Thanks for pointing me to the other thread as well, good info there. 

Teton Climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1


Facts change over time so old answers to old questions aren't always the best beta. If you're lucky, someone may direct you to their backyard. Sometimes you get to town and meet the right people and your camping options are nicer than expected. Depends on how you present yourself.

It only recently became totally illegal to car camp overnight on a street or parking lot in the town of Jackson. People still get away with it, but it's illegal. If you're only here for a few days, I wouldn't worry about finding a camping spot. There are so many options especially if you don't mind a small camping fee.

You can always tent camp in the GTNP's 'backcountry' for 10 days ($35). The easy-to-reach South Jackson Lake camping sites (pay camping fee) are a little buggy at times but nice for a day or two. The site by Jackson Lake's Spalding Bay can be reached by most large vans. The site by the South Landing is a short hike from a dirt parking area. If you just want a place to van-sleep and not setup gear outside, you can often park at a trailhead overnight. Don't make it obvious or a habit.

It's often possible to pull off the main highway and onto one of the many unmarked dirt roads. The forest lands will have more options than the national park but you can get a free night from either. The closer you get to Jackson, the more you will compete with the 90-day summer help and tourists for camping spots. There are many places to hide a van for the night in Jackson Hole if you must stay for free. I will assume you have some experience picking good commonsense locations.

I once slept in the Jackson Lake Lodge parking lot on my way back to Jackson from a long day in Yellowstone. It was not a good spot because they have security patrols but none bothered me. People have slept in every nook and cranny in this valley for free outside of developed areas. During the winter, backcountry camping is free in GTNP.

One of the best options for free camping is along the Grassy Lake Road just to the south of the Yellowstone border if you're coming through there. Nice campsites, beautiful setting. It's first-come, first-served, though. Just south of Flagg Ranch are some forest service campgrounds.

lucander · · Stone Ridge, NY · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 257

Great response.

Teton Climber is why thebinternet remains useful despite the asses, trolls, and self righteous folks. 


Andrew Vinzant · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 532

Antelope Flats, east of the park was pretty nice when I was out there a few years ago.

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5
Andrew Vinzant wrote: Antelope Flats, east of the park was pretty nice when I was out there a few years ago.

Antelope Flats is within the park, and no camping is allowed.  East of Antelope Flats is National Forest land, where camping is allowed.

kmyee · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks Teton Climber and everyone else! I'm mostly a CA climber and haven't been to WY before so I appreciate all the info.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas
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