Dispersed camping near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is a magical experience.
Although dispersed camping isn’t allowed in the national park itself, the surrounding national forests are home to some of the most scenic free dispersed campsites in the country.
Unfortunately, the best (i.e. the most scenic) campsites fill up extremely quickly, especially during the summer. It’s wise to arrive as early as possible, give yourself plenty of time to explore, and have a list of backup camping locations just in case your top picks are already full.
Boondocking in RVs and trailers is possible here (albeit tricky). Finding an empty campsite is much, much easier in a passenger vehicle (especially one with 4WD and high-clearance) as rough roads tend to somewhat thin out the crowds.
Here’s where to go dispersed camping near Grand Teton National Park on your next trip.
Related Post: The Best Dispersed Campsites in Wyoming
Please always follow the Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, especially packing out all of your trash, including human waste.
Best Free Campsites Near Grand Teton
Jump to the free campsite you want to learn more about:
Or, use our Grand Teton dispersed camping map to browse the area’s best free campsites.
Grand Teton is bear country, including grizzly bears. It’s extremely important to store your food correctly and always practice proper bear safety.
My Favorite Free Dispersed Campsites Near Grand Teton
Dispersed camping isn’t allowed within Grand Teton itself. But there are a ton of awesome free campsites just outside the national park. Here are 5 of my favorites.
Spread Creek is one of the most popular spots for free camping near Grand Teton.
Although actual dispersed camping was allowed once upon a time, the area’s popularity means it’s now a “restricted camping area.” You must now camp in one of 40 designated dispersed campsites (which are still free) rather than anywhere you please.
Spread Creek is a decent option for RV and trailer boondocking since the gravel access road is well-maintained. Several campsites are large and level. There are even a handful of group campsites which can accommodate a couple RVs or trailers each.
Many of the campsites here have views of the Teton Range in the distance. But even those that don’t are very pleasant. Several sites sit right next to the creek while others are tucked away into the privacy of the woods.
Because of its closeness to Grand Teton National Park, Spread Creek fills up extremely quickly in the summer. It’s also common for people to park alongside the access roads to sleep in their vehicles overnight (although this is prohibited).
Shadow Mountain is hands down the most scenic place for dispersed camping near Grand Teton National Park.
Unfortunately, like most other nearby dispersed campsites, camping is now restricted to designated dispersed campsites (about 45 in total) – you can no longer set up camp anywhere you want.
The roads here are much rougher than those at Spread Creek. Although small RVs and trailers might make it to the campsites at the base of Shadow Mountain, only passenger vehicles (high-clearance is all but essential and 4WD is helpful) should attempt to climb the mountain.
But those willing to brave the rough drive are in for a real treat. Whether you camp at the base of the mountain or along its flank, you’re in for absolutely incredible views of the Teton Range far across Antelope Flats (I highly recommend waking up for sunrise).
Get here as early as possible to snag a campsite. In the peak summer months, I recommend arriving in the late morning (when the previous night’s campers are packing up), ideally on a weekday, for the best chance of snagging a spot.
After staying at hundreds of free campsites across the country, Shadow Mountain remains one of my all-time favorites (although my last stay was before designated campsites were implemented).
Teton Canyon Road
Dispersed camping along Teton Canyon Road offers a unique perspective on Grand Teton.
Although it’s quite a drive (about an hour and a half) to the national park itself, many of the campsites here boast impressive views of the backside of the Teton Range – and those that don’t are just a short walk away from such views.
Better yet, these campsites are typically much less busy than those on the other side of the mountains such as Spread Creek and Shadow Mountain. That said, this is a popular dispersed camping destination, so arrive early to secure a spot, especially on summer weekends.
As an unpaved forest service road, the condition of Teton Canyon Road varies wildly depending on when you visit. It’s always quite rough with regular washouts, but should be passable by most passenger vehicles (high-clearance or 4WD aren’t necessary).
Several campsites can accommodate smaller RVs and trailers. Avoid this area in big rigs though. And scout ahead on foot before pulling into your spot as many of the roads into the campsites are much rougher than the access road.
Grassy Lake Road
Setting up camp on Grassy Lake Road makes an excellent home base for exploring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone.
Although it’s not exactly dispersed camping (you must camp in one of 20 marked campsites in one of 8 camping areas), the campsites here are completely free. They’re also well spread apart for plenty of privacy.
Reach these free campsites by turning onto Grassy Lake Road (Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road) from John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. After about a mile, where the road passes over the Snake River, the paved road turns to gravel and the first free campsites appear.
Although the road never gets terribly rough, I recommend RVs and trailers stick to the first couple of campsites near the Snake River as these are the largest and most level. Even still, only small rigs should attempt to camp here (big rigs should look elsewhere).
Of course, Grassy Lake Road’s convenient location means it fills up quickly. You’ll be hard-pressed to snag one of the 20 free campsites in the summer unless you arrive by early afternoon at the latest.
Luckily, driving in for about 8 miles towards Grassy Lake Reservoir brings you into Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Actual dispersed camping is still allowed here. If all the spots near the lake are full (they often are), continue even farther down the road and you’re certain to find a site to hunker down for the night.
The first 20 designated dispersed campsites are managed by the National Park Service.
Designated dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.
Call Grand Teton National Park: (307) 739-3300
The dispersed campsites past Grassy Lake Reservoir are part of Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.
Call the Ashton Ranger District: (208) 652-7442
Last but certainly not least is Granite Creek.
Although it’s an hour to an hour and a half away from the national park (depending on how far up the road you drive), the sheer loveliness of the creek and surrounding mountains makes it a very worthwhile destination.
Set your sights on Granite Creek Campground (a peaceful, wooded campground with 51 first, come, first served campsites at $15 per night) at the end of the long and winding Granite Creek Road about 15 minutes east of Hoback Junction.
Free campsites appear almost immediately alongside the relatively smooth gravel road (expect moderate washboarding and a whole lot of dust), including many right on the creek.
The first few miles of dispersed campsites are the best for RVs and trailers. Look for the large dirt parking areas in the grassy meadows – many with enough space for several rigs.
Dispersed camping is allowed for about 8 miles until you reach a sign which clearly states that you must camp in designated campsites beyond that point (the campground is just up the road from this sign).
Wherever you happen to set up camp, make sure to check out the Granite Hot Springs Pool, a developed hot springs swimming pool, at the end of the road.
There’s also a natural hot spring just under the waterfall on Granite Creek. However, reaching it involves fording the creek (a somewhat risky task depending on the time of year).
Is Dispersed Camping Allowed in Grand Teton National Park?
Dispersed camping is not allowed in Grand Teton National Park itself.
Like most national parks, Grand Teton requires campers to stay in marked campsites at developed campgrounds.
Luckily, the surrounding national forests offer countless options for dispersed camping and boondocking with many campsites between a half hour to an hour from the park.
Bridger-Teton National Forest, especially the Jackson Ranger District, offers the most central dispersed camping for visiting Grand Teton National Park, including free campsites with views of the Teton Range.
Here is a useful USFS map (the same as is shown above) that clearly shows where dispersed camping is allowed/prohibited within the Jackson Ranger District.
Although you’ll likely see others roadside camping (i.e. stealth camping) in pull-outs and parking lots both inside and outside of the national park, I strongly encourage you not to do this yourself.
If you can’t find a dispersed campsite near Jackson (and don’t have reservations at a developed campground), it’s best to drive a little further away from town (such as down to the Palisades Reservoir) rather than risk a hefty fine.
Furthermore, because of the area’s popularity, many Grand Teton dispersed camping areas now require you to camp in designated campsites to curb overuse (see the Jackson Hole News & Guide for more on these changes).
Check out our guide to dispersed camping in national parks for more information.
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Let Me Know If You Have Any Questions!
Remember not to limit yourself solely to my favorite Grand Teton dispersed campsites outlined above.
Bridger-Teton National Forest and the surrounding area has a ton of additional dispersed camping opportunities to explore, including Pacific Creek, Curtis Canyon, Flat Creek, Toppings Lake, Ditch Creek, and countless others.
Use my recommendations as a foundation for your search. With a little extra research and a little looking around in the field (with the help of these dispersed camping apps), you’re sure to find awesome free campsites of your very own.
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