Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park
This is information for people going on the De Anza College Outdoor Club Grand Teton trip who prefer to not camp all of the time or only some of the time.
Where you stay in the Tetons is up to you but it can be difficult to coordinate timing of activities if we don’t all stay in the same area, so we’ve all stayed at Colter Bay, either in the cabins or campground for at least part of the time, if not all of the time on previous trips.
Below: an aerial photo with Colter Bay environs in the foreground and part of Jackson Lake. The cabins are towards the left of the visible buildings, the long stripe of buildings from the bay is the stores, laundromat/shower house and restaurants, and the campground area is towards the right. All are in walking distance of each other. There are short and long hiking trails.
There is a black and white aerial photo/map to go with this picture with details of where to find the museum, picnic area, showers, grocery/gift stores, laundromat, hiking trails, marina, Ranger talk/campfire amphitheater, etc. at Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park.
Colter Bay cabins have no lakeshore or lake/mountain view units.
All the cabins are non-smoking.
Some of the two bedroom, one bath cabins:
Some of the one bedroom, one bath cabins:
and below the view out a window, usually of parking spaces in front of cabins and/or of other cabins, and a photo of one of the interiors:
There is no WiFi in the cabins, but bring your laptop/mobile device, there is free WiFi available at the
Colter Bay laundromat,
the main Colter Bay restaurant,
the Moose Visitor Center
and in the Jackson Lake Lodge parlor
that anyone can use without a secret code, no matter if visiting for the day, camping or registered in a hotel, and some DVD rentals in the nearest large town, Jackson Hole, Wyoming .
In the Colter Bay cabin rental office, for Colter Bay guests, there is a couch to sit on and a couple of desks to work at with 24 hour (sometimes slooooow-speed) WiFi (and if you have no device, internet service at a computer).
There is a cell phone tower on Signal Mountain so the area at Jackson Lake Lodge has more consistent cell phone reception than at Colter Bay. Walking around outside the cabins people usually do find some bars of service with some providers. You can use the phone at the cabin rental office front desk to make dinner reservations at the Lodges if your cell phone is not getting service.
No cooking is allowed in or around the cabins, but there is a picnic area/ swim beach with great sunset views right down the road at lakeside with restrooms and plenty of picnic tables/firepits.
(Remember that water boils at a lower temperature at a higher altitude, so cooking times at sea level, where water boils at 212 degrees F, are shorter than at 7,000 feet, where water boils at just under 200 degrees F. You can make the water for the hard-boiled eggs or pasta start boiling sooner if you bring hot water from your cabin down to the beach.)
There are restaurants (only one open late season) in walking distance. Grand Tetons restaurants
In the cabin area, part of the reason why cooking is not allowed (this bear did not get a food reward this time because people were careful about their trash):
Recycling bins are conveniently located among the cabins, and there is one outside of the store for used propane tanks. Ask at a Visitor Center about recycling your bear spray canister. (The club brings ours on multiple trips until they actually expire then recycles them.)
A shuttle bus runs most years a few times a day between Colter Bay, Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Visitor Center, Moose Visitor Center and into town at the main town visitor center (free for cabins users, fee for others). There is a pay-for airport shuttle to the cabins/hotels in the park if your arrival can’t be coordinated for when a trip member can pick you up Grand Tetons trip transportation.
FAQ: Why should I pay for a cabin when I can camp for much less?
Because even when people are behaving courteously towards others, campgrounds are noisy until late at night and again fairly early in the morning. If you share a cabin with others who agree to the same schedule you can get to sleep early, be up before sunrise, (or take mid-day naps if you stayed up late and got up early). That’s the reason people on this trip have shared two bedroom, one bath cabins to some extent every year we have gone. (If you get a one bedroom, one bath cabin, with most cabins you have a shared wall with others that is not thick enough to keep you from missing seemingly inevitable arguments among the neighbors in the adjoining cabin.)
Plus, interesting, occasionally wet, fall weather is easier to deal with in a cabin.
We often share some of the two-bedroom, one-bath cabins at Colter Bay. The two-bedroom units have deadbolts on the bedroom doors. The two bedroom cabins are not all the same size, but here is a typical floorplan:
We have had various roommate combinations:
- a married couple in one bedroom and a single guy and two single girls in the other
- a married couple in one bedroom and three women in the other
- a married couple in one bedroom and four women in the other
- two single girls in one bedroom and four single guys in the other
- four guys and one couple
- one year a single guy and a single girl who were a bit richer each had their own bedroom of a two bedroom cabin.
On the 2000 trip friends slid the two double beds together and slept three or four across, but one girl found herself slipping down the crack during morning pillow fights.
below: sign we put outside one of our cabins, a cilantro plant on a sunny windowsill as an ingredient for fresh salsa, bedside table with large mouse-proof plastic containers of cookies and granola bars, 2006 cabin games, her first mousse (she called home and got permission first), 22nd birthday, decor:
Inexpensive lodgings frequently have inadequate electrical systems, and since it takes quite awhile to get housekeeping to get the electricity turned back on when a breaker trips, we advise using fused power strips (with circuit breakers built in) at each and every outlet instead of trying to remember to turn off heaters when hair dryers are used, etc. If you stuff a number of people in a cabin the power strips are also wise because people can charge more than one cellphone/camera/laptop, etc. at once. (Maybe you can let the people on our trip who are camping charge their gear overnight in your cabin.)
Electric ice chests should not run all night if it’s a cold year or they will overchill and freeze the lettuce.
Some of the wall heaters in the bedrooms are noisy so some of us have done without the heater and sleep in long johns (if you sleep cold bring a sleeping bag to supplement the blankets provided). Plus, if the bedroom isn’t overheated, then each person can dress according to the warmth they require and nobody will need to complain they are too hot.
There were no heaters in the Colter Bay cabins bathrooms the last times we were there. Even if you really heat the bedroom(s) the heat doesn’t make it into the bathroom to warm it up enough for showers. Someone in each cabin group should bring a portable electric heater (and extension cord and a fused power strip) and keep it running in the bathroom all night.
On cold days we run the bathroom heater not just at night, but whenever we are in the cabins and the bathroom stays toasty warm. With the bathroom door open, the heat from the bathroom makes it out to the bedrooms as well and we noted a inside the cabin bedroom morning temperature of 66 on an alarm clock thermometer when the car thermometer said it was 54 degrees outside.
If you bring a folding laundry rack you can hand wash a few things and let them dry overnight with your bathroom heater pointed at the rack, or just hang them in the shower with the heater pointed there. You will need to bring a few extra hangers since the ones in the closets don’t come off the pole.
your face here photo below by Wendy Sato
We advise negotiations in advance as to when / who uses the shower if you have a large group sharing a two room, one bath cabin. And remember there is only one hot water heater so relatively short showers or long times between showers, or frequent end-of-the-day swims/water polo practice at the Jackson Lake Lodge pool and shower after at the pool, are advised (if the pool is still open).
(The walls are relatively thin so singing in the shower can be heard clearly.)
During a thunderstorm, don’t take a shower or use a sink, including washing dishes. Don’t talk on a land line phone. Don’t use your I pod. Please read Thunderstorm and lightning safety
They never have enough towels at inexpensive lodgings so you want to bring extras for potential swimming, especially since things don’t dry fast when it’s cold overnight.
We had better radio reception while driving, but in the cabins (bring your own radio) we were able to get Wyoming public radio with the usual Morning Edition, All Things Considered, BBC Newshour, Fresh Air and late evening classical music or jazz at 90.3 (Jackson) and 91.3 (Dubois). (Dubois is pronounced DUE-boyss.)
Colter Bay cabins prices, (these prices reflect taxes, but don’t include the $2.43 per night utility fee) according to the website in February 2016:
$95.04 One Room (semi-private bath)
$189 – 232.20 One Room (private bath, 1-2 persons (sleeps to 3 or even 6 guests with rollaway bed, $10 each extra adult over the double occupancy)
$249 Two Rooms (connecting bath, 1-4 persons, four double beds, (sleeps up to eight … ten? with rollaway beds, $10 plus tax each extra adult over the four person occupancy)
Add another $11 plus tax (2016) per extra rollaway bed you want.
2016: a $15 fee for cancellations up to 3 days in advance, lose the whole deposit if cancelled within three days.
and please see: Grand Tetons trip cost.
If you want to get a better room, or even a suite with fabulous view, fireplace, fridge, etc, read more at: Grand Tetons hotels, cabins, lodging
If you want a campsite, look at: map of Colter Bay campground Grand Teton National park
For details about our next club trip to Grand Teton National Park, go to: Grand Tetons.
Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.
(Yes, we had too much fun with the following.)
You can call that piece of furniture an executive work desk if you want. There are on/off switches on the walls, not panels of LED readouts to program to turn on one or more of an array of light functions (bring a flashlight for your bedside reading lamp so you won’t have to turn on a wall light and keep others awake).
No incense will be burnt, nor will a conch shell be blown to cleanse your surroundings. No wandering mistrel will play the recorder or violin, sing, recite poetry or perform bird calls outside your window.
No tuxedos, exotic beaded midriff gowns or black pumps will be required or even appropriate.
No one will unpack your bags for you and place your extensive wardrobe in the eeensy-weensey bedroom closet that won’t fit your stylish apparel, much less just the outerwear of all those people you are stuffing into the room.
No one will turn down the covers and put a chocolate/orchid/caviar tidbit on your pillow every night (and if they did a deer mouse would eat it before you found it). No one will peel grapes for you, nor will they arrange the pillows on the bed into a fort.
The wakeup service will be your own alarm clock or perhaps another trip member knocking,
or if necessary, vigorously pounding on your door if you are late.
Colter bay cabins with a bathroom have stall showers but no bath tubs. They have NO Jacuzzi or hydrotherapy pools, with or without bubble loungers; plunge or cold water plunge pool; alfresco, rain, rain-forest, computerized steam, aromatherapy, Swiss Pressure Point, multisensory or power showers; mineral baths; five fixture bathrooms; stylish polished quartz dual-sink vanities with white marble cladding; eco-luxe open air hot tub with co-ed roof top sun deck; infinity edge hot tub; candlelight soaks in an oversized copper tub or clawfoot soaking tub; bidets; sauna; finely appointed his and her vanities; monogrammed cozy signature microfiber robes lined with cotton terrycloth and slippers or heated towel racks.
Colter Bay cabins have no air conditioning; phone; radio or surround sound system; microwave; coffee maker; Nespresso machine; morning newspaper(s); TV (flat screen, plasma, LCD, HDTV, DVR, DTV, 4K, direct view, cable, satellite, interactive, in the bathroom, in the bathroom mirror or otherwise); dress code beyond the minimum in restaurants; high speed WiFi; data port; voicemail; iPod docking station; Bose SoundDocks; CD/DVD players; advanced telecom cabling; international direct dialing; video games; first-run Hollywood movies; CNN; continuously piped-in, hip music; non-negotiable resort fees for programs/options you don’t want; hard copy or digital Compendium Books; floor to ceiling windows illuminating a peaceful setting; french doors; private elevators; vaulted or soaring curved ceilings; over-height mahogany doors; limestone thresholds; oak paneled entryways; architectural details carefully considered to create a warm yet understated modernistic feel of rustic elegance with a balance between the modern and the eclectic yet featuring contemporary styling and relaxed sophistication; ceiling fans; meticulously restored Venetian plaster; Tuscan influenced molding; custom wallpapers, reclaimed wood millwork or indigenous fabric / leather-covered walls; art work, frescos, murals or portraits of previous famous guests; archival fine art prints; floor-to-ceiling crystal chandeliers; antler chandeliers, opulent stained glass windows; intricately tiled mosiacs; granite countertops; wall textures in glistening yet muted, organic hues; four poster beds with billowy draping; hand made quilts; down pillows; deep duvets; extra plush bedding, fine Italian linens, cashmere throws, 300-thread-count or organic Eqyptian combed cotton sheets; record-setting thread-count bedsheets; organic mattresses; king-sized daybeds; heated mosaic or stone tile lounge chairs; ornate gilt furniture or reverentially restored antique period furnishings; eco-friendly custom designed recycled peroba wood or natural kirei wood or color dyed eco-plywood furniture, eco-resin twig or recycled driftwood doors, cowhide ottomans, custom-loomed carpets of color and texture that capture the senses; private entrances, patios, decks, verandas, hammocks, wrap around terraces or balconies; inner court water feature; dramatic, iconic porte-cochere designed to create a real sense of arrival; intimate yet spacious gathering rooms, each a triumph of wit, style and comfort; thoughtfully-proportioned walk-in closets with Poliform closet systems; biometric digital safes; state-of-the-art yet not technical one-touch dimmer switches; coved lighting; hydronically heated recycled stone floors; electrically operated or otherwise motorized draperies or shades; custom dry stacked stone firepit; fireplace with a Pinon fire laid out for you daily by an attentive staff; private roof-top garden terrace with plunge pool and fireplace where you can comfortably host a reception for up to fifty guests; unrivaled, distinctive gathering places with a timeless atmosphere that imparts both grace and prestige to your executive conferees, complemented with natural light and a full array of conference technology; ergonomic chairs; bed aligned to the parallel physiological mechanisms of your body; florist; DJ; room service; private chef who can create globally inspired dishes with reimagined presentations; sommelier; butler service; discreet IP-based concierge service that accommodates real-time updates and daily specials; personalized calendar of events from an attentive, innovative staff; valet parking; chauffeurs; courtesy car service within a five mile radius based on availability; bellmen; backpack valet; tailors; dry-cleaning service; shoeshine service; honor bar including select complimentary items; toxin eliminating holistic afternoon tea; mouthwatering breakfast basket with a selection of fine coffee and tea and your choice of newspaper delivered daily; spiritual sunset champagne toasts; a relaxed, urban oasis atmosphere; private underground parking; personal two-lane bowling alley; private putting green; heliport; state of the art skeet or trap shooting range; billiard coaching; customer-focused fashion consultations; team building scavenger hunts or motivational personal development seminars.
Colter Bay cabin bath ‘amenities’ are towels, washcloths and dispensers of shampoo and soap.
Bring some sunscreen, chapstick and dry skin lotion and whatever other goodies you want, (remembering that scented can attract mosquitoes), as unless you bring your own you will have to do without brow and lash tinting; microdermabrasion; dermal wrinkle fillers; fractional laser resurfacing; harmonious, delightful signature amenities featuring maximum hydration, refined yet rustic deep cleansing botanicals to meet or exceed your personal healthy living needs; chic glycolic acid mud wraps; fruit and spice body peel and wrap; rose, huckleberry, lavender & peppermint, sea mineral, or volcanic clay mud wraps; highly customized fango wraps or nourishing seaweed wraps; unprecedented elemental stress release or brightening anti-aging facials to help your mind, body and spirit achieve a state of blissful harmony; salt, glycolic or exfoliating green tea enzyme peels; Collagen skin polishes; French pariffin treatment with vitamin C; pure, aromatic ginger peppermint manicure; mineral-rich serum exfoliating pedicure; eye brightening treatments; natural galvanic current spa treatments; sea salt body scrub; shellac/gel polish nail enhancements; cellulite treatments; ultimate European glycerin body masque; therapeutic anti-aging facials that leave your skin hydrated, refreshed and toned; Nouveau bath accessories fusing heirloom elegance with modern styling; botox; bikini wax; laser vein removal; non-invasive laserdermatology designed to dramatically increase toning results; the latest in non-surgical clinical treatments supported by phytohormones; detox footbath with enzyme based nutrients and vitamins; next step esthetic approach from a more active facial; handmade organic ayurvedic herbal products, scrubs or baths; oil anti-oxidant scalp treatments; invigorating scalp massage & hydration serum treatment; adobe body masks; chocolate or wine mask (masque); miraculous non-invasive facelifts; purifying grapeseed antioxidant body treatment; metabolic detox body treatment with yam and pumpkin enzymes, brown algae and extra folmadehyde; non-sticky airbrush tanning solution; results-focused cellulite boot camp; sweet grass body treatment to to dispel negative energy and elicit emotional strength, makeup kit created with your own personal pallette of colors or Lodgepole Pine & Aspen based skincare customized to your specific element.
Bring (or make) a friend to trade backrubs with and encourage you to stretch your calves regularly, hike farther and get a little more exercise in general on the trip because you can’t expect a personal trainer; state of the art fitness center; personalized validation, clarification and wellness or expanded consciousness life coaching based on your DNA; Swedish, sports, reflexology, neuromuscular, energy, deep tissue, deep heat or pressure point therapies; private in-room yoga or yogalates or Pilates instruction, with or without ujjayi breathing to calm your mind; tranquil yet enticing footbaths; Reiki treatments (hands on or from a distance); meditation solarium; Finnish, nordic, infrared or hot rock sauna; masseurs; certified massage therapists; patented lymph drainage therapy; juniper-sage hot rock massages; sunburn treatment massage; escape foot massage with reflexology; altitude adjustment massage; aromatherapy massage; warm oil face and scalp massage; transportative scalp massage; five-step guided water ritual; stimulating, centering acupressure treatments of unequaled indulgence to create a sense of inner calm and relaxation and work with your dormant spiritual energy; mini-Shirodhara with your choice of buttermilk or coconut water; new millennia hyperbaric oxygen treatments or candlelit life force spiritual exploration fasting sanctuary.