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A guide to sleeping under the stars in developed campgrounds, dispersed camping areas, or the backcountry of the BTNF.

The opportunities to camp in the Bridger-Teton are almost limitless and range from spending the night in an RV complete with a shower and toilet to setting up a tent after carrying all of your gear 15 miles to the middle of nowhere.

Developed Camping

Developed campgrounds on the BTNF accommodate RVs, vans, and tent campers and can be reserved in advance at The amenities offered vary by campground and can range from hookups, bathrooms with flush toilets and running water, and dump stations to pit toilets and picnic tables.

Dispersed Camping

There are two types of dispersed camping on the BTNF: general dispersed camping and designated dispersed camping. Both of these are free, happen outside of a developed campground, offer no services or facilities (this means no bathrooms or running water), and require that you be entirely self-sufficient and pack out everything that you arrive with. The only “amenity” dispersed camping comes with is the road you drive on to your campsite.

General dispersed camping happens on hardened, previously used areas. This is the type of camping found off forest service roads like Fall Creek Road, Buffalo Valley Road, and Greys River Road, among other FS roads. When doing this type of camping, please do not create a new campsite by driving into pristine areas. General dispersed camping is free.

Designated dispersed camping is a new-ish thing on the BTNF and came about as a result of over use and—not mincing words—bad behavior at the most popular dispersed camping areas in the Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts. In these areas, which are monitored by on-site Camping Ambassadors, park-where-you-want-and-crash-for-the-night is no longer allowed; campsites are clearly designated, and they are first-come/first-served. Designated dispersed camping is free.

In order of how quickly they fill up, designated dispersed camping areas include Shadow Mountain (usually full by late morning), Curtis Canyon (full by early afternoon), Toppings Lake and Spread Creek, (full by late afternoon) and Pacific Creek (full by late afternoon).

If you arrive in Jackson Hole after 6 p.m. don’t plan on getting a spot at any of these designated dispersed camping areas. If you’re set on staying in the valley, instead consider Moran Vista or Blackrock Meadows. These undeveloped campgrounds in the northern part of the valley are first-come/first-served, often don’t fill up, offer space for large recreational vehicles and porta-potties and are $10/night.

For more information about dispersed camping, stay limits, and other regulations visit the USDA Forest Service website.

Backcountry Camping

The most primitive camping experience on the BTNF is backcountry camping. Backcountry camping, aka backpacking or horsepacking, involves carrying all of your gear into the forest (in a backpack or on a horse) and setting up camp. Backpacking and horsepacking in the BTNF does not require reservations or permits, and there are no designated backcountry campgrounds or campsites. There are rules to follow:

  1. Camp at least 200 feet from any lakes, trails, and streams.
  2. Camp on hardened surfaces.

Read more about selecting a backcountry campsite here.

We acknowledge with respect that our facilities are situated on the aboriginal land of the Shoshone Bannock. Eastern Shoshone. Northern Arapaho. Crow. Assiniboine. Sioux. Gros Ventre. Nez Perce.

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