Tent Cabin Camping in Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. During our visit in June, the weather was amazing- the skies were a gorgeous blue, the air was warm during the day and crisp at night, the stars were bright and the wind was gentle. Combined with some I the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, it was heaven on earth. We stayed for four days tent cabin camping in Grand Teton at Colter Bay and this was perfect for the way we visited. Grand Teton is a relatively small park and wasn’t crowded during our stay so we were able to see a great deal in a short amount of time. I hope to take a longer backpacking trip the next time we visit but during this time Dave was still in Cincinnati flying out to meet us in Yellowstone so for the next week it was just the kids and I. We arrived late in the evening just as the sun was setting after driving in from camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a trip that took about 8 hours.
Staying in a cottage room at beautiful Jackson Lake Lodge for our first night allowed us to have an easy night before setting up camp the next day in Colter Bay Village where we were tent camping in Grand Teton. I was so glad we splurged for this! After breaking down camp in the morning and a long day of driving with four kids I was glad to check in and be done. The views from the main lobby are jaw dropping of the large expanse of willow flats against the Teton mountains and we sat for a while just soaking it all in. Since we all were hungry, our next stop was dinner at the Pioneer Grill, a counter service soda fountain where we enjoyed sandwiches, fries and milk shakes. It was the perfect choice for us and the kids loved sitting on stools at the counter and chatting up the waiters.
Waking up early the next morning, we were ready to explore! We headed back to the main lodge for coffee, hot chocolate and pastries bought from the lobby cart and enjoyed the view before an easy one mile loop hike to Lunch Tree Hill. Fitting for our first hike in the beautiful park, the area is dedicated to John D. Rockefeller Jr. who after enjoying the view here was inspired to purchase the land and donate it to the United States Government so that all people could enjoy such a view. We spent a couple hours on the walk as we meandered along and searched for wildlife in the willow flats with our binoculars and we were able to see both pronghorn antelopes and a moose off in the distance.
Once the sun warmed up the day the kids also had a blast splashing around in the gorgeous clear water of Jackson Lake which was great for splashing but too cold for swimming. We also saw several artists painting and drawing the beautiful view of the lake against the mountains. Enjoying a picnic at one of the several lake side picnic tables, this was a pleasant and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away from beautiful Jackson Lake and headed over to Colter Bay Village to check into our reserved tent cabin. Tent cabin camping in Grand Teton is a great idea and these sites were a great place to stay! Basically a glorified tent with two wood walls and two canvas walls, each tent has four small bunks and also had a wood burning stove which we were glad we had when the temps dropped overnight. The porch area of each cabin had a picnic table and a bear box and there was a bathroom with running water nearby as well. I would definitely recommend these as a great place for families to stay! While the experience was very much like camping, set up was a breeze. One tip though for anyone with small children- the bunks are tiny and the concrete floor would hurt if a little one fell out of bed so I put an air mattress on the floor for Maya and Garrett which worked out great. We were lucky during our visit as well to meet several wonderful families that we got to know over s’mores by the fire.
The next three days were utterly relaxing while we were Tent Cabin Camping in Grand Teton and we filled our days with short hikes and other outdoor play. We especially liked taking the Jenny Lake Boat shuttle before hiking to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The boat captain was hilarious and let the kids take turns “captaining” the shuttle boat. He even gave them honorary captain certificates and the kids felt so proud.
I definitely recommend the Ranger Programs in Grand Teton! We attended several programs at the Colter Bay amphitheater while we were Tent Cabin Camping in Grand Teton and as always the programs were wonderful. The kids also worked on the Junior Ranger booklets and were proud when they earned their badges. Not only did they learn a lot, they had a blast doing it!. There is so much stunning beauty in Grand Teton and our visit was unhurried and relaxing. It is a wonderful place to spend time with kids outside.
Near our tent cabin was pay showers, laundry, a gift shop, a cafe and a grocery store with plenty to choose from to cook our meals. We also enjoyed exploring the nearby Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum. For our family, Tent Cabin Camping in Grand Teton at Colter Bay was the perfect base camp to explore this stunning National Park.
If You Go-
1. Pack clothes for all weather– It can be cold at any time of year so plan accordingly! During our visit in June we spent our days in shorts but needed pants and jackets in the evenings. Nights were cold and we used the wood burning stove while we were Tent Cabin Camping in Grand Teton each night when we went in to sleep.
2. Expect crowds on popular hikes– While the park didn’t seem crowded overall, popular hiking trails were packed with people. Our hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point was a single file line almost the entire way as was our short hike to Lunch Tree Hill. Oddly we spent many hours by Jackson Lake completely by ourselves and several less popular trails had hardly any people on them. If you like solitude ask a Park Ranger for advice on where to hike.
3. Respect the wilderness– Follow the rules that are made to protect you and the park! Keep food in provided bear boxes, teach your kids to stay near you on the trails and always carry bear spray. I carried Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray on every hike and I made sure to have it handy and not stuffed in my backpack. During out visit, a man out for a jog encountered a sow grizzly and her cubs and was attacked. He survived but needed to be hospitalized from his wounds. I also made sure to make plenty of noise when we were out hiking so as not to surprise protective mama bears!
4. Do the Junior Ranger Program– Junior Ranger programs are great! The kids learned a ton from completing their booklets and attending several Ranger led programs. National Park Rangers have a wealth of information and are a great resource for a successful visit to any National Park so take advantage of them.
5. Read up- I am a book lover and always read about the place I am visiting by people who have been there and can give advice. This has led to some pretty amazing experiences. Some of my favorites for Grand Teton were-
The kids really enjoyed The Great Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier Activity Book., Who Pooped in the Park? Grand Teton National Park: Scat and Tracks for Kids which is a great series about National Park wildlife and Windows into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks which is interesting for all ages. A few of other wonderful books for younger kids about Grand Teton to get your kids excited about their visit are Attu’s Adventures in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton Babies! and my absolute favorite- Born Wild in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
You can see our 4,000 mile road trip itinerary by clicking here. We spent about a month on the road during this adventure and I would do it again in a second!
Have you ever visited Grand Teton? Did you stay in the Tent Cabins?