Grand Teton National Park Backpacking, Backcountry Camping

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Backcountry Camping

Grand Teton National Park offers a truly wonderful backcountry camping experience that excels any other you may find, with the wilderness trails through the mountains topping the adventure.

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  • Obtain a $25 permit for backcountry camping at the Grand Teton National Park Permits Office
  • Camp in the Alaska Basin without a permit
  • Stay alert for bears at all times
  • Observe the Leave No Trace Program rules

Backcountry camping is an experience in Grand Teton National Park that should not be missed. With the beautiful mountains, rivers, valleys and beautiful forests, there are numerous camping zones from which to choose.

Backcountry Camping Areas

Grand Teton backpacking offers some spectacular scenery and adventures. There are 16 areas. Some of the popular ones are:

  • Berry Creek
    Hikers must be in good physical condition and ready for difficult and potentially dangerous stream crossings where there are no bridges.
  • Upper Paintbrush Canyon
    Trekking the Upper Paintbrush Canyon zone takes you from the lower Holly Lake Trail Junction along the main canyon trail. From the upper Holly Lake Trail Junction to the Paintbrush Divide headwall, you can camp on either side of the trail.
  • Holly Lake
    Take the trail marked “Holly Lake Campsites” to reach the designated camping area with three campsites.
  • North Fork Cascade
    Although you can’t camp at Lake Solitude, you will find this a wonderful wilderness camping experience. There’s a group site here too.
  • Alaska Basin (US Forest Service)
    You’ll find some excellent campsites in the areas of Sunset Lake and Basin Lake. You can camp in the Alaska Basin without a permit. You’ll need a permit once you pass the park boundary signs on the north or south end of the Basin.
  • Marion Lake
    Here you’ll find a spur trail going east from the lake. There are three sites.

Backcountry Permits

You will need a permit for any overnight trip. The numbers are limited, thus it’s best to reserve in advance. Reservations need to be made from January 5th through May 15th. If you haven’t made reservations, you can try to get them on a first-come, first-served basis from the park permit offices. There is a $25 fee for each trip into the backcountry. (Put your social security number on your check.)

To make reservations with Grand Teton National Park, you can write to the Permits Office at PO Box Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012. You can also send a fax to 307-739-3438. Call 307-739-3309 or 739-3397 for more information.

Bear Safety

  • Black bears and grizzlies live in Grand Teton National Park, and you must observe bear safety when traveling the backcountry.
  • Don’t feed the bears. This can mean their death, as when they get human food even once they often become aggressive and will need to be removed or killed.
  • Be alert for bears when hiking and try not to surprise one. Make noise as you move along by talking or singing.
  • If you meet a bear, don’t run. If they don’t see you, detour quietly away in another direction. If the bear is aware of your presence, back away slowly while waving your arms and talking in an even tone. Don’t make eye contact.
  • When camping, don’t store any odorous foods or items in your sleeping bag or tent. Don’t cook in your tent and keep any food storage at least 100 feet from where you sleep. Use any bearproof containers provided at the campsite.

Rules & Regulations

  • Camping isn’t permitted within 200 feet of lakes or streams.
  • Fires are not allowed, except at designated lakeshore sites, and confined to metal fire grates.
  • Pets aren’t allowed in the backcountry.
  • You must have a Wyoming State fishing license in your possession if you are going to fish.
  • Do not wash dishes or bathe in or near lakes or streams.
  • Never bury trash or burn aluminum. Trash must be carried out of the backcountry.
  • Human waste must be buried at least 100 feet from water and at least 6 inches below the ground.
  • Remain on designated trails

Leave No Trace

Remember to abide by the Leave No Trace program:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Other Backcountry Camping Resources

Moab Campground

Find camping accommodations in Moab Utah, near Canyonlands and Arches National Park.