Camping in the Yellowstone Teton Territory is the ultimate adventure. Situated near Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, this part of Eastern Idaho is packed with opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors—and even sleep under the stars.
Yellowstone National Park camping is available at a number of campgrounds located throughout the park, including both Yellowstone RV camping and tent camping in Yellowstone. Reservations are recommended, and it may be challenging to find an available site without a reservation during peak visitation times. Grand Teton National Park also offers a number of reservable sites in the park, and both Yellowstone and Grand Teton offer backcountry camping opportunities for well-prepared visitors who obtain the necessary permits.
Outside of the national parks, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and the Bridger-Teton National Forest both offer a variety of campgrounds and dispersed camping opportunities, including campgrounds near Jackson, Wyoming.
Private campgrounds and RV parks are available in Island Park, West Yellowstone, and other gateway communities near the parks. Check out Island Park and other locations in the Yellowstone Teton Territory for some of the best RV parks near Yellowstone National Park.
When camping in the Yellowstone Teton Territory, always check the weather forecast and be prepared for rapidly changing conditions. In spring, snow can stay on the ground late into the season, so be prepared and consider bringing a snow shovel, which may come in handy. Know that it can snow any month of the year, so be sure to have what you need to stay warm and dry.
Summer thunderstorms are common, particularly in the afternoon, so be prepared and know what to do if you encounter a thunderstorm during your camping trip. Many thunderstorms are accompanied by frequent lightning, strong wind, rain, and hail, so have a plan to get to shelter if need be. Summer mornings and evenings are typically cool, and days can be hot and sunny, so be sure to bring clothing and equipment for variable conditions.
If the weather looks too inhospitable for camping, you may be able to find another option. In peak season, many hotels and other Yellowstone lodging options are often full, but you may be able to score a cancellation. It’s best to call around to properties in gateway communities (like Island Park, Idaho) to see what might be available.
Summer generally provides the best camping conditions, and most roads and services are open for exploration. Enjoy warm daytime temperatures, great wildlife viewing, and plenty of recreation opportunities. The downsides of a summer camping trip are hot weather, crowds, bugs like mosquitoes and biting flies, and thunderstorms with wind and hail.
Spring and fall can be beautiful times to camp, but be prepared for cold nights and the potential for snow. In spring especially, you may encounter snow on the ground, so consider bringing a snow shovel to dig out your campsite.
Winter campers should be well-prepared and extremely skilled in winter camping with top-notch gear and equipment. Winter camping in the Yellowstone Teton Territory isn’t for the inexperienced or unprepared since temperatures can plunge far below zero to -40°F and sometimes even colder. Be prepared for extreme conditions and have the skills, experience, and knowledge for a safe trip. Consider hiring an outfitter or guide if you’d like to try winter camping for the first time.
Some of the best RV parks near Yellowstone National Park are right in the Yellowstone Teton Territory. Check out some great RV parks near Yellowstone, including the parks conveniently located in Island Park, just about 30 minutes from the park’s western entrance.
The Yellowstone Teton Territory is bear country, and home to both grizzly and black bears. Be sure to properly prepare for any outdoor endeavor in the region by brushing up on your bear safety, including following best practices for hiking, camping, and other forms of recreation. Use caution around all wildlife and follow Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife safety practices including staying a minimum of 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from other wildlife. Be sure to also store food and scented items (such as sunscreen, toothpaste, and even empty coolers) properly to avoid issues.
The area is rich with opportunities for backpacking, from a quick one-night adventure to a much longer, in-depth mission. Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest all offer numerous opportunities for backpacking adventures. Be sure to obtain any necessary permits for your adventure, and always follow all rules and regulations. If you would rather have a professional show you the ropes and lead your adventure, consider hiring a guide.
FAQ Visiting YTT: The Basics
Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park? Be sure not to overlook the Yellowstone Teton Territory, just next door in Eastern Idaho.
The Yellowstone Teton Territory is conveniently located in Eastern Idaho by Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Year-round fun awaits in the Yellowstone Teton Territory. In summer, check out the region’s farmers markets, including the Idaho Falls Farmers Market. Hit the hiking trails in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Harriman State Park, and nearby Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Make time to swing over Teton Pass for a peek at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Enjoy the region’s rivers and lakes, go camping, take a mountain bike ride, and explore everything the area has to offer.
In winter, ski or snowboard at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort or Grand Targhee Resort. Great cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, sledding, and other fun awaits. Afterwards, be sure to make time for a relaxing soak in Heise Hot Springs or Green Canyon Hot Springs.
Enjoy museums and historical enrichment all year round. Explore the Idaho Potato Museum in nearby Blackfoot, or soak up the plethora of local museums catering to a range of interests, including art, history, and the humanities.
Summer, winter, spring, and fall are all great times to visit Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Teton Territory. Every season offers a unique experience. Summer is a very popular season, and a great time for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, rafting, kayaking, and more. Yellowstone National Park is busiest in July and August.
Winter offers many outdoor activities, but keep in mind most roads in Yellowstone National Park are closed in winter. However, you can still snowmobile, cross-country ski, snowshoe, view wildlife, or even take a snowcoach tour to see some of the park’s highlights.
The spring and fall “shoulder seasons” are also quickly gaining popularity. Be prepared for variable conditions, but visiting during the shoulder seasons is a way to see fewer crowds and still enjoy the beauty of the region.
One of the best options for Yellowstone lodging is just outside the national park in Island Park, Idaho. Island Park is part of Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory and is located just 29 miles (a 35 minute drive) from the park’s West Yellowstone entrance. You’ll find a variety of options to choose from in Island Park, including lodges, cabins, hotels, and more.
Yellowstone camping options include camping in the park’s developed campgrounds, obtaining a permit and venturing into the backcountry, or camping in the Yellowstone Teton Territory. Enjoy a number of established Forest Service sites for camping near Yellowstone or private campgrounds and RV parks, especially by Island Park.
Driving a car is one of the most popular ways to get around, and it offers the most flexibility. Public transportation options are limited, though shuttles connect some hubs. Other options include taxis and rideshares. You can join a guided tour of Yellowstone National Park, and some outfitters can provide transportation.
Believe it or not, the Yellowstone Teton Territory is home to Spencer Opal Mine, where people can hunt for their own opal treasures during the summer. Be sure to check hours of operation and come equipped with all that you’ll need, including closed-toe shoes, eye protection, and tools like a hammer, garden claw, and spray bottle.
FAQ: How Do I Pack for a Summer Trip?
Once you have your travel plans and your departure date approaches, it’s time to start preparing for your summer trip to the Yellowstone Teton Territory. Keep in mind that the Yellowstone Teton Territory covers a wide area in Eastern Idaho—near Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole—so what you’ll need largely depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. The weather can vary widely throughout the region, and conditions will be quite different strolling around downtown Idaho Falls versus ascending a 10,000-foot peak.
Yellowstone Teton Territory’s weather can vary widely, from record-setting heat waves that top 100°F to bitterly cold winter temperatures that plunge far below zero. The best way to prepare is to check the forecast in the areas where you’ll be going.
Keep in mind that the local weather can change rapidly—especially in the mountains. A frigid morning could blossom into a T-shirt afternoon, or a hot summer day could turn into a cold storm with sleet. It’s best to be prepared for any kind of weather conditions when visiting the Yellowstone Teton Territory in the summer, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
To pack for an active summer trip where you’ll be spending time outdoors—whether you’ll be hiking big peaks or simply spending time with your spotting scope looking for animals—you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable. Here are a few items to make sure you include, but keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, just a starting point:
- Layers of clothing for hot and cold weather. Bring a warm hat, gloves, and a jacket.
- Rain gear, including a rain jacket and rain pants
- Backpack for day hikes and essentials. Consider a waterproof pack cover if you’ll be spending extended time outdoors.
- Sun protection: Sunscreen, sun hat, and sunglasses. The sun can be very strong at altitude, so you may also want to consider clothing with a UPF rating.
- Good hiking boots that are already broken in
- Water. Whether you prefer water bottles or a hydration pack, make sure you have plenty of water to drink.
- Lunch and Snacks: You can stock up on food in the Yellowstone Teton Territory, but be sure to bring lunch and plenty of snacks when heading out for an adventure.
- Binoculars or spotting scopes for wildlife viewing
- Bug spray
- Headlamp or flashlight (with fresh batteries or bring spare batteries along)
- Trekking or hiking poles
- Paper maps: Don’t count solely on GPS. Sometimes GPS devices can lead people astray, so be sure to have a paper map with you as well.
- Bear spray: Be sure you know how to use it and always keep it accessible (such as clipped to your belt) when you’re hiking in bear country. It won’t do you any good buried in your backpack. You can’t bring bear spray on a plane, but you’ll find plenty of local places to purchase it once you arrive.
- Other hiking essentials: Make sure you have the 10 Essentials, including a first aid kit, when setting out for an outdoor adventure.
If you’re hiking, you’ll likely find sturdy rain gear (including a rain jacket, rain pants, and potentially a backpack cover) will keep you much drier than an umbrella. Make sure you have waterproof hiking boots and consider adding gaiters if it’s really pouring. While an umbrella will work fine for strolling around town if it’s not too windy out, true outdoor adventure is best enjoyed when outfitted with proper rain gear.
If you forget something, have no fear. There are plenty of shopping options within the region. Idaho Falls is full of stores to meet just about any need, and most other local hubs have all the basics and beyond.
It’s always a good idea to bring bear spray with you when you’re in bear country. You can’t bring bear spray on a plane, so be sure to pick some up at one of the local outdoor shops. Many grocery stores and even convenience stores sell bear spray, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find, especially when you’re near Island Park or Teton Valley.
FAQ: Visiting in Winter
Yes! Both Yellowstone National Park and Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory offer plenty to do in winter. Bundle up, be prepared, and get ready to embark on an incredible adventure. Whether you plan on viewing wildlife, snapping incredible photos, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking, or even taking a Yellowstone winter tour in a snowcoach, you will find plenty to do in Yellowstone National Park and beyond in the winter.
Whether you’re looking for a sightseeing visit or a more active adventure, you will find plenty of things to do in Yellowstone National Park and Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory in the winter. Start with a few of these favorite activities:
- Enjoy the area with fewer crowds.
- View wildlife.
- Take a Yellowstone snowcoach tour.
- Go on a snowmobiling adventure.
- Go snowshoeing.
- Glide along on cross-country skis.
- Take incredible winter photographs.
Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory is right next door to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, and it offers incredible winter recreation opportunities. Bring the whole family, and prepare for winter fun. Here are a sampling of the activities you can enjoy:
- Go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or fat biking with incredible scenery.
- Visit Harriman State Park to explore the trails and view wildlife.
- Go to Tetonia’s Snow Plane Rally.
- Watch a sled dog race.
- Explore over, 1800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails.
- Go sledding, ice skating, or play hockey with the kids.
- Ski at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort or Grand Targhee Resort.
- Soak in hot springs at Heise Hot Springs or Green Canyon Hot Springs.
- Learn about the area’s history and heritage at a variety of museums.
The weather can be quite variable in the Yellowstone Teton Territory and Yellowstone National Park, but on a winter visit, you should be prepared for cold, snow, and ice. Be sure to check the forecast in the particular area you plan on visiting since weather can vary widely throughout the region. Temperatures can plunge far below zero, and winter storms are not to be underestimated.
Yellowstone winter temperatures typically range from 0° F to 20° F during the day, and plunge even lower at night. The record low is -66°F. Yellowstone National Park’s average snowfall is around 150 inches per year, but nearby areas (such as Grand Targhee Ski Resort) receive far more snow. Grand Targhee receives an average of 500 inches (that’s over 41 feet) of the fluffy white stuff each year. So it’s best to be prepared for cold weather, snow, and ice on any winter adventure in the Yellowstone Teton Territory.