After Yellowstone we continued south into Grand Teton National Park. The easiest way from West Yellowstone was actually driving through the park again. The roads are easily navigated by even the largest rig thankfully. We had originally planned to stay in a campground for a night near Jackson since we had already been boondocking the past five days and needed to dump, fill up, and shower. However the first park we called charged $110 a night! We checked several other and the cheapest was $80 a night. Even the National Park was $40 a night for no hookups and $70 with water. I don’t care where your campground is, we’re not paying that. We ended up paying $4 each to shower in Yellowstone and paid $10 to dump and fill up on water at a campground in town.
Luckily someone on the Boondocking & Free Camping USA Facebook group had a spot they recommended that was down Antelope Flats Rd just across the border of the National Park into Bridger-Teton National Forest. I also spoke with the district ranger and there are spots along Gros Ventre Rd, both dispersed and a large boondocking National Forest Campground. Both spots were listed in The Days End Directory and it mentioned that the view from antelope flats was an amazing, clear view of the Tetons. That clinched it for us.
They were right, the view was simply amazing. By far the best view of any campground we’ve stayed at. There were around seven sites, half of them would fit large units. There were also several dispersed spots if you continued past the campground. Unfortunately we didn’t see those until after we’d already setup camp and it wasn’t worth it to me to move for a slightly better spot. It was very easy to get to, the road is paved for the first four miles or so and then a well maintained gravel road for the last mile. Just be sure to stay on Antelope Flats Rd as you have to turn to stay on it. We were there for labor day weekend and even then there were spots available every night. We were literally feet from the National Park and 15 miles north of Jackson, which has a real grocery store.
After we got setup we went for a walk past the dispersed spots and then up a trail to a peak for a fantastic sunset. The next day we went for a hike to Taggart Lake which was also simply amazing and then went and stocked up on groceries($200+++!). The next day we hiked into Cascade Canyon which was so beautiful I would put it right up there with the hike into the Grand Canyon. What makes the Tetons so scenic is that there are no foothills to block your view. These huge 13,000 ft + tall mountains rise straight up from the Jackson Valley floor at 7,000 ft. They are famous for their steepness but none of the trails we were on were actually that steep, but then we weren’t trying to summit either, lol, just walk into the valley between these monsters.
The last day we decided to go for a kayak trip down the Snake River to take in the beautiful Tetons from another perspective. We were able to do the same as before and left our bikes at the takeout and then road back to the truck so we didn’t need a shuttle. However it still cost us $25 as the permit to boat in the National Park was $10 and they required a $15 AIS sticker which you could purchase online. They checked for all of this as you come through the gate and they will check your boat for invasive species. It was still well worth it if you consider what going with a raft company would cost. Although there are no real rapids within the Park the river can still be quite tricky as it will split into multiple channels and only one will be deep enough for even a kayak. This has the potential to be pretty dangerous as even with the water being very low we had about a 6 mph.
We also drove to Granite Creek which was an hour and a half ride from where we were camping. It was worth it though. It’s a natural hot spring high up in the mountains. They actually built a pool on the hot spring with a deck and everything. It was $3 a person to get in but man did the water feel good. It’s in the 90’s in the summer and varies a bit with the snow melt. People also come out here on their snowmobiles in the winter and since there is no runoff in the winter it gets up 112! There were a ton of boondocking spots all along the 10 mile gravel road to the hot spring. I would recommend simply pulling up for a day or three rather than drive like we did.
Yellowstone may have the more unique environment with all of it’s volcanic features but Grand Teton beats it on shear beauty. Especially if you can stay in the same campground we did. The hiking and kayaking is fantastic, if a bit crowded. We were there for Labor Day so that certainly doesn’t help. Even with the crowds it was well worth it and we will certainly be back. Enjoy the pictures!