Does your idea of camping in Grand Teton involve sleeping in your car?
Before you head out, though, you need to know if car camping is an option in the park.
Can you sleep in your car in Grand Teton National Park?
You can sleep in your car in Grand Teton National Park. However, roadsides, overlooks, and parking areas are not allowed for car camping. For you to sleep in your car in Grand Teton, it is required to stay at a campsite.
Nowadays, with a few tricks and ideas, you can make your car ideal for camping. For example, you can sleep more comfortably in your car with an Inflatable Car Air mattress.
In this article, I have covered everything you need to know about car camping in Grand Teton. I have given general information on the park’s campgrounds and details of each to help you narrow your choice. Also, I have highlighted some safety hazards for you to stay safe.
Related: A Complete US National Park List
Where to Sleep in Your Car in Grand Teton
You can sleep in your car in any of the seven campgrounds in Grand Teton. Camping is allowed in six out of the seven campgrounds, for up to 14 days. In Jenny Lake campground, however, you can only camp for a maximum of seven days.
The campgrounds in Grand Teton can suit any camper depending on your preferences. Before we look at what each campground has to offer, I have prepared some general information that you should be aware of:
- Campgrounds have Specific length limits for vehicles.
- The campgrounds close for winter at different dates.
- There are picnic tables, fire pits, bear boxes, and nearby restrooms in all campgrounds.
- Most of the campgrounds have specific ADA compliant sites. According to the United States Access Board, ADA Compliant means that sites are accessible by people with disabilities.
- Reservable campgrounds include Colter Bay RV Park and sites in Headwaters campground. You can also reserve group sites in Gros Ventre and Colter Bay.
- You can use open fire in all campgrounds except in Colter Bay RV Park.
- On public holidays, the campgrounds close except on Labor Day and Independence Day. Signal Mountain Campground operates even on Colombus Day.
- All campgrounds except Headwaters Campground and RV park have all-year-round cell phone reception.
- You will have access to flush toilets in any of the sites.
Campgrounds to Sleep in Your Car in Grand Teton
Each of the campgrounds comes with qualities that makes it stand out. Whether you are looking for a beautiful scenery, closeness to other outdoor activities, remoteness or a great environment, there’s a campground for you.
I have outlined the details of each campground. This will help you narrow down your most convenient car camping spot.
Gros Ventre Campground
Gros Ventre Campground is Grand Teton’s largest campground, and it is near the town of Jackson. From some sites in the campground, you will have clear views of the Grand Teton and the Blacktail Butte.
The campground is a great place to view wildlife such as bison, moose, and mule deer as they visit the area. Also, the Gros Ventre River is only a few minutes away.
- Most sites have a bear box
- 10 out of the 300 sites are ADA compliant
- Campsites with electricity hook up are available at a fee
- Five large campsites that can accommodate groups of more than ten people
- The maximum RV length is 45ft
- Trailers allowed
- Closed from October 9th to May 28th (winter)
Jenny Lake Campground
A short distance on the eastern shore of Jenny Lake, you will find the Jenny Lake campground. It is in the midst of a forest of pine and fir trees.
With its location, you can see the Teewinot Mountain, Cascade Canyon, and Mount St. John. Also, at the lake, you can enjoy some water activities such as boating and fishing.
- 3 out of 59 ADA-compliant sites
- RVs and trailers are not allowed
- Vehicles over 8ft high or 14ft long are not allowed
- Closed for winter – September 27th to June 14th
- Only one car, two tents, and a maximum of 6 guests per site
Signal Mountain Campground
This campground is near the Signal Mountain Lodge and the Jackson Lake. It is in a lodgepole pine forest. From here, you can see Mount Moran and the northern Teton Range.
The area around the Signal Mountain campground is developed. Hence, there are many more services compared to most other sites. Such services include lodging, restaurants, laundry, showers, and Wifi.
- Seasonal internet connectivity
- Restaurants, laundry, and showers
- RV maximum length is 30ft
- Trailers allowed
- No ADA-compliant sites
- Closed from October 18th to June 14th (winter)
- Electricity available at 25 sites
- Only one vehicle and a maximum of 6 people permitted per campsite
Colter Bay Campground
Colter Bay is one of the largest campgrounds in Grand Teton. As the name suggests, it is near Colter Bay Village. It offers spectacular views of Mount Moran and the northern Teton Range. At the Village, you can access a general store, a museum and, a visitor center.
From the campground, you can start your Grand Teton hiking adventure at nearby trails. You might also spot mule deer, elk, and moose that visit the area from time to time.
Do you love fishing? Jackson Lake is a few minutes away.
- Seasonal internet connection
- Coin-operated showers
- Closed from September 27th to June 4th (winter)
- 11 sites reservable for groups of 10 or more
- RVs and trailers up to 45ft allowed
- 13 out of 346 sites are ADA-compliant and have electricity
Colter Bay RV Park
Like its name, this is an RV-only park. It is in the same location as Colter Bay Campground and gives you the same scenery. Still, it comes with its features away from the other Colter Bay Campgrounds.
- Electricity hook up in all sites
- No campfire, only stoves are allowed
- RVs and trailers up to 45ft in length
- 4 out of 112 sites are ADA-compliant
- Closed from October 4th to June 4th (winter)
Lizard Creek Campground
Lizard Creek is the campground to visit when you are looking to car camp in the remote part of Grand Teton. This location makes it more likely to see wildlife like moose, elk, and grizzlies.
In Lizard Creek Campground, you will be 8 miles from Colter Village and 11 miles from Yellowstone. Did you know that you can also sleep in your car in Yellowstone National Park? Again, the campground is on the shores of Jackson Lake. Webb Canyon, Owl, and Ranger peaks are only 1 mile across the lake.
- Closed from September 7th to June 11th (winter)
- No ADA-compliant sites
- RVs up to 30ft
- Trailers up to 20ft allowed
- No electricity
Headwaters Campground and RV Park
Are you hiking in Yellowstone and Grand Teton at the same time? The Headwaters Campground is the perfect place to sleep in your car in Grand Teton. It is located in Flagg Ranch, within John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
From the campground, Yellowstone National Park is only 2 miles away.
The campground is in the midst of the wilderness where you have perfect views of the Snake River and the Huckleberry Mountain.
- Electricity in all the 97 RV sites
- Most sites are ADA-compliant
- RVs up to 45ft in length, trailer allowed
- Closed for winter from September 29th to June 4th
How to be Safe when you Sleep in your car in Grand Teton
Like every outdoor environment, Grand Teton National Park comes with several safety hazards and has done a lot to keep you safe. But you also play a significant role in following safety guidelines and practicing self-care.
Below are the main safety concerns for campers in the park:
Grand Teton is home to many animals. These include Grizzly and black bears, elk, bison, moose, and pronghorn, among others.
Most wildlife will keep off humans and the campgrounds. Nevertheless, bears will follow the smell of food even into the campgrounds, thanks to their keen sense of smell. Again, bears may get aggressive if you encounter them getting food from your unlocked car or campsite.
For this reason, the park has provided bear-proof boxes for you to store food.
If you keep food or food scented items in your car, make sure you lockup and roll up the windows.
And always have a can of bear spray close by if you ever need to use it.
The YouTube video below is a step by step guide on how to use bear spray. Watch to know how to react in the event of a bear experience.
Wildfires can result from unattended or abandoned campfires. To keep yourself and everyone safe, light fires in designated areas. Afterward, put it out completely.
You may also use a camping stove instead, to avoid uncontrollable fire.
If you smoke, use an ashtray in your car and don’t empty it on the ground. When outside, grind out any cigarette butts and dispose of them.
The weather in Grand Teton can vary from time to time. Sudden weather changes are also common. Yet, extreme weather conditions come with the winter season (Mid-November-early March).
This is when most parts of Grand Teton have heaps of snow.
When it comes to camping, though, you don’t have to worry about winter since all campgrounds remain closed during the season. They open gradually starting from late May and stay open during summer (June-August) and part of fall (September- November).
In summer, however, thunderstorms are common. They usually present heavy rain, wind, and lightning. You should, therefore, pack for rainy weather. Additionally, rainfall is highest during June in Grand Teton.
Nevertheless, be aware of the afternoon thunderstorms that occur in summer. Rain is also highest in June.
Is your car ready to host you for a few days of camping? Nothing should stop you from heading over to Grand Teton for a car camping adventure. While at it, ensure that you pack everything you need and make your car as convenient as possible.