Visiting Grand Teton National Park should be on every RVers travel bucket list. This national park’s beauty will stun you and then sweep you off your feet. The second we arrived we were speechless. We had never seen mountains so striking or so breathtakingly beautiful. Add in the animals, the incredible camping, and hiking in the area and it’s easy to see why this National Park is a must-visit on an RV trip.
If you’re planning on visiting Grand Teton National Park in your RV this travel guide will help you understand your camping options, how to get around the park, the top places to visit, and the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park.
Quick facts about Grand Tetons National Park
Closest city: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Size: 310,000 acres or 485 sq miles
Ancestral Lands: Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla, Newe Sogobia (Eastern Shoshone), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), and Shoshone-Bannock tribes.
Annual Visitors: 2.8 million in 2022
- Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center (South)
- Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center (South)
- Jenny Lake Visitor Center (Center)
- Colter Bay Visitor Center (North)
Drive time through the park: 2 to 3 hours (with brief stops)
When to visit The Grand Tetons in an RV
Summer (mid-June through August) is the best time to visit the Grand Tetons in an RV. July and August bring the warmest weather making these months the most popular time for visitors. However, visitors to the park in June are rewarded with fewer crowds and striking snow on the mountains.
We visited in late May 2018. Many of the trails still had snow on them and the nights and mornings were super chilly. But the wildflowers and the views of the mountains were incredible!
Visiting the Grand Tetons in summer means you’ll have the best weather, but you’ll be met with the biggest crowds. Smoke from wildfires (common late July through August) can also impact your experience in the park in the summertime. It’s best to check the weather at the park before visiting. It’s definitely not fun visiting if the air quality isn’t good enough to hike or visibility for the mountains is low.
Fall (September to early October) is also a beautiful time to visit because you can witness the bright yellow color of the Aspen trees as the seasons change. However, nights and mornings will be very cold.
Getting around Grand Tetons
Despite its large size, the Grand Tetons can be easily traversed in a two to three-hour drive. Most scenic pull-offs can accommodate medium to small RVs. Although it’s likely much more comfortable to explore using a tow vehicle.
Most people chose to enter the park from the south (near Jackson, WY). However, there is an entrance to the east called Moran Junction. The third option is to enter Grand Teton National Park from the north.
The 6.5-mile-long John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway connects the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone National Park.
We highly recommend visiting Yellowstone after exploring the Grand Tetons (or visa-versa) and spending time watching nature along this highway. This highway is where we spotted nine grizzly bears! Just be aware, the parks charge separate entrance fees.
The big highlights of Grand Teton National Park can be visited on Teton Park Road. This 42-mile loop road has loads of scenic pull-offs to enjoy the breathtaking views and gives you the most bang for your buck while visiting.
Grand Teton can be seen in just one or two days. But visitors will get the most out of the park in a three to five-day trip. We stayed for five days and wish we had more time to enjoy its breathtaking scenery.
RV camping in Grand Teton National Park
There are six RV campgrounds within Grand Teton National Park. Most are dry camping but some offer amenities like bathrooms and electricity. All campgrounds operate on a reservation system with Recreation.gov and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
|RV Campground||RV size limit||Services||Location|
|Gros Ventre||45 ft.||Flush toilets|
Electric hookup (at some sites)
|South (near Elk Refuge)|
|Signal Mountain||30 ft.||Flush toilets|
Electric hookup (at some sites)
|South Jackson Lake|
|Colter Bay Campground||45 ft.||Flush toilets|
Cell tower (good cell connection)
Electric hookup (at some sites)
Generators allowed in loops H, J, K, M, O,
|Center Jackson Lake|
|Colter Bay RV Park||45 ft.||Full hook-up sites (water, electricity, and dump at sites)|
|Center Jackson Lake|
|Lizard Creek||25 ft.||No electricity|
No dump station
|North Jackson Lake|
|Headwaters||45 ft.||Full hook-up sites (water, electricity, and dump at sites)|
RV camping spots in the Grand Teton National Park fill up quickly. So, we highly recommend booking as far in advance as possible. If you aren’t able to score a spot at one of the official campgrounds in the park, don’t worry.
There are loads of free camping spots just outside of the park borders that allow you to explore Grand Tetons National Park comfortably. Campendium has a great list of free camping spots outside of the park with user-submitted reviews (and photos). We found an awesome free camping spot about 10 miles from the park entrance which had epic views of the mountain.
You can also find several RV campgrounds and resorts just outside of the park. A lot of people prefer to camp in the RV parks near the city of Jackson, Wyoming because it allows you to explore the charming town center too. These RV campgrounds are better suited for larger RVs, too. However, parking in one of the official National Park campgrounds will cut down on drive time as you explore the park.
What to bring to Grand Teton
Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee for Grand Teton as it’s part of the National Parks system. At the time of this writing, the daily entrance fee was $35 per vehicle per day. If you plan to visit the park for three days or more it will be more cost-effective to buy the National Parks Pass for $80.
This pass will gain you entry to any National Park for one year. You can buy your entry pass before your trip or if preferred you can buy it at the entrance of the park.
As previously mentioned, Grand Tetons National Park can be cold in the early mornings and evenings. Dress in layers and always have a breathable but warm jacket with you. We love wearing merino wool clothing from Woollys. Their clothes are made to keep you cool or insulated depending on the weather and don’t retain odors like other materials.
Hiking is a big activity here. We highly recommend bringing your favorite hiking gear with you. We personally never hike without a quality backpack that can carry water like this Camelback. We also love these merino wool socks, hiking boots, and this hat from REI. Grand Teton National Park has high bear activity and requires you to carry Bear Spray with you at all times on the trails. Don’t forget to grab yours before arriving!
There are several stores in Grand Teton National Park to stock up on last-minute items. But it’s a good idea to go shopping for food and snacks before arriving. Jackson, Wyoming is at the south entrance of the park and has several grocery stores to choose from. However, the prices are more expensive than in most other cities due to the remoteness of the area. If you can provision before arriving in this region you’ll likely save money.
Wildlife is another huge draw for visiting Grand Teton National Park. Bring a good pair of binoculars with you to see wildlife from afar. Of course, if you have a good camera you’ll want a proper long lens to capture the animals you’ll see. We saw the most insane camera setups at the park. Some were owned, but many were rented specifically for this trip.
You can rent professional camera equipment including lenses from Lensrentals. Prices are super affordable and they have a wide range of inventory to choose from.
Top things to do on an RV trip to Grand Tetons
There’s no shortage of amazing things to do on an RV trip to the Grand Tetons. A lot of campers choose to take in the sights, relax at their camping spot, and go on scenic drives. But if you’re looking for more adventure or exercise there are plenty of great hikes and excursions you can do too.
Below are a few of the popular tours you can take in the area.
If you’re looking for free activities to do in the park though, here are some of the top things to do.
Scenic drives and vistas in Grand Teton
If you never hike a trail in Grand Teton National Park, your trip will still have been well worth it. Simply driving the park will take your breath away! There are several spots throughout the park that are great for scenic vistas or perfect pictures. Here are a few you should add to your list when visiting Grand Teton.
If you’re looking for beautiful flat waters that reflect a snow-covered peak you’ve come to the right place. It’s a small parking lot, so if you have to wait your turn, do it. The view is the reward here and it’s well worth it. You will definitely see birds, but if you’re really lucky you may even spot a moose or beaver.
Visit Jackson Lake dam
Jackson Lake is enormous. It spans the majority of this national park and has several beautiful viewing points and even a few beaches to swim. Most people opt for a photo at the dam. On a clear day, you can see the crystal blue water sparkle under the Teton range. There are also migrating white pelicans at the dam.
See wildlife on 191 northbound
The best wildlife sightings are often on the road headed north on 191 (as if you’re going into Yellowstone). We drove on this road every day in hopes to see more wildlife. On our first day down 191, we saw nine Grizzly bears. It was incredible!
We also saw a Great Gray Owl which is a rare sighting this far south in the lower 48 states. You typically have to go further north like Canada or Alaska to see these beautiful big birds in all their glory. If you want to see a moose it’s suggested you stay toward the southern part of the Tetons near Jenny Lake or Taggart and Bradley Lake.
Drive Mormon Row
Mormon Row is in the southern part of the park. If you’re visiting Grand Teton, this is a must.
There are beautiful wildflowers on your drive out to the old Mormon settlement that was established in 1890. You’ll want to snag a photo of the most photographed barn in the United States. If you’re really lucky, the photograph gods will help you get a perfect picture of Buffalo in front of the barn as the sun sets.
We however were there on a rainy overcast day and were determined to get a picture even if we had to stand in the rain.
Visit Jenny Lake
While we suggest hiking some part of Jenny Lake to really take in her beauty, stopping there for a quick photo and a picnic could suffice if time is short. Jenny Lake was created by glaciers thousands of years ago. It is still fed by some glaciers so the color is a bright blue. We feel there really is no prettier picture for you to get if you’re visiting Grand Tetons. The water and those peaks just create a masterpiece.
There are tons of fantastic hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park to enjoy. Many are difficult hikes with steep elevation changes and last from 10 to 25 miles or more. However, there are plenty of moderate to easy hikes to enjoy in the area too. Just remember to be bear-aware on all trails. Always have your bear spray with you and hike in groups of 2 or more if possible.
One of our favorite hikes was Jenny Lake Trail. This 7.7-mile round-trip loop takes you around Jenny Lake, one of the most picturesque and popular places to visit in the park. Parts of Jenny Lake Trail were paved (near the Jenny Lake Visitor Center) and can get very busy. If you do the entire trail there is less traffic overall and only some parts that you’ll run into other people.
If you don’t feel like hiking the entire loop you can take a boat across. The boat drops you off near, Hidden Falls which is a 1.4-mile roundtrip hike rating easy to moderate. Hidden Falls are absolutely beautiful. There are several smaller falls and a rocky area that fakes you into thinking you made it to the falls, don’t stop there. Continue further up the hill and rocks next to the running river and you’ll reach the real “Hidden Falls” shortly thereafter.
We also did a short hike around the Taggart Lake area. The parking lot is small for the amount of traffic this trail gets. If you want a parking spot, come early. We arrived around 10 am and were able to park on the street just off the parking lot. You have two choices when you get to this trailhead, go toward Taggart Lake or Bradley Lake.
Both are great hikes to see wildflowers, beautiful lakes, scenic vistas, and wildlife like bears, moose, or beavers. Taggart Lake Trail is only 3.8 miles roundtrip and has a small elevation gain of 413 ft. After you reach the lake it loops back to the parking lot passing through the lush green meadows, hills, and shaded forest. Bradley Lake is the longest hike of the two and is considered a moderate hike. A total of 5.1 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 646 ft.
Other hikes in Grand Tetons by intensity
While we didn’t personally go on these hikes during our stay, they come highly rated and will be on our bucket list for when we return.
- Hidden Falls 1.3 miles RT, ⬆️ 230 ft.
- Inspiration Point 2.2 miles RT, ⬆️ 450 ft. (continuation of Hidden Falls trail, then if desired you can do to Cascade Canyon Trail)
- Cascade Canyon Trail 4.5 miles RT, ⬆️ 992 ft. (initially difficult, then becomes easy the rest of the way. Starts at Inspiration Point)
- Leigh Lake Trail 3.7 miles RT, ⬆️ 50 ft.
- Bradley Lake 5.5 miles RT, ⬆️ 585 ft.
- Phelps Lake Loop 7.2 miles RT, ⬆️ 475 ft.
Strenuous or Longer Hikes
- Lake Solitude 14.2 miles RT, ⬆️ 2,246 ft.
- Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes 8.9 miles RT, ⬆️ 2,942 ft.
Visit the Elk Refuge
Just outside of Jackson Hole, WY you will find the National Elk Refuge. This area of nearly 25,000 acres of land is there to protect and rehabilitate the Elk population in the greater Yellowstone area. Visitors can admire the beautiful Elk roaming the pastures during winter and early spring. Don’t expect as many Elk sightings in summer though. The Elk move to higher pastures during the warm weather.
Hang out in Jackson Hole
No trip to the Grand Tetons is complete without spending a few hours (or more) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This charming and historic town has loads of fantastic shops, restaurants, parks, and even a brewery to visit. Many of the old buildings are restored originals from the late 1800s and early 1900s when Jackson Hole was first founded.
Grand Tetons National Park is such a breathtaking place. It’s sure to be a highlight of any RV trip. We hope this RV guide for visiting the Grand Tetons helps you make the most of your vacation. If you’ve visited recently, we’d love to hear about your trip in the comments below.