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A Guide to Car Camping in Jackson Hole, WY

No hotel? No problem? Sleep under the stars!

Although many people choose to stay at one of the many hotel or motel options while they are in Jackson Hole, another great option is to car camp. There are established campgrounds throughout Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, but there are also many “secret” camp spots in Bridger-Teton National Forest, which is the eastern boundary to both parks. These spots offer less in terms of amenities (no water or bathrooms), but make up for it in seclusion and beauty.

Many of these spots are easily accessed by most 2 wheel drive cars, but having clearance and 4 wheel drive does help. Locations to some of these “secret” spots are easily given away by locals. Places like Curtis Canyon, which looks over the National Elk Refuge, are openly discussed and are willingly described to anyone who asks. Places that are more coveted or that might only see 1 to 2 camping groups a year are a little harder to find out about, but with enough persuasion the persistent camper might end up finding out about an amazing and off the beaten path spot.

The experience can be as rustic or luxurious as one chooses depending on how much will fit in the car. All that is really needed is a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, but the addition of pillows, camp chairs, gourmet cheese and a bottle of wine can make the night a 5 star experience. Bringing pre-chopped firewood might be easier than gathering your own, but both are an option in the National Forest, which has fewer regulations than the National Parks.  For this reason, it isn’t uncommon to notice large and loud parties, but fortunately the sites are spread out enough that even the largest groups don’t annoy their neighbors.

For more information about camping supplies and camp spots speak with the clerks at either Skinny Skis or Teton Mountaineering - the two local outdoor stores in Jackson Hole. More information about camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest can be found at

Picture is from a “secret” spot near the trail head to Sleeping Indian – Saturday night

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