Grand Tetons trip cost

The 2018 De Anza Outdoor Club expedition to Grand Teton National Park is planned for about August 14 to 29 (more or less). Participants can stay for a shorter, longer or much longer trip.

Grand Tetons is the main trip page. Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.

sunset Lunch Tree Hill 2005 560 pixels:

– – – – If you are fairly sure (or completely sure) you are going on the 2018 Grand Teton trip, please email the club advisor at to get on the trip email list.

Include how sure you are that you are going, how you will get to Grand Teton park, which days you think you will be there (or are sure you will be there).

The club advisor does not have the time to answer questions about the trip that you could have found the answers to by reading the trip webpages thoroughly and carefully.

(And you will have an adventure that is much more fun if you really understand everything before you sign up.)

If all goes as planned, the ten De Anza owned tandem (two or one person) kayaks, paddles, life jackets and dry bags will be transported to the park. Beginners please note that the kayaks De Anza owns are not the kind you get your legs stuck in, they are more like user friendly small canoes.

(2018 canoe rentals: one place quoted $248 a week, $49 a day or $42 each day for multiple days, another $75 per day, another said “full day (8 hours): $85”, Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake or Signal Mtn rentals are $21 / $25 an hour, ($20 hr, $75 day) some with a 2 hour minimum.) (“There will be a $50.00 fee for late returns after 6:30 pm.”)

If we only kayak part of our trip we can save $100 or $200 per boat, even with the permit fees.

photos below used with permission from Ron Niebrugge:

Grand Teton sunset by Ron Niebrugge: In the foreground, sagebrush, then a row of aspen, at the top clouds behind the teton range, photo used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge Grand teton sunrise by Ron Niebrugge: bright clouds behind the top of the Grand Teton peak, used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge Teton range at sunset by Ron Niebrugge: At the top of this picture, bright clouds, below that, Teton peaks, below that, forest and in the foreground, water. used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge grand teton with bright cloud by Ron Niebrugge: snowy grand teton peak a with bright cloud in the lower foreground, used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge

We will have three or four or … official kayaking days suitable for beginners. If we get a huge group, since only 20 can kayak at a time, each person might get fewer sunrise, etc. kayaking experiences (or we might decide to kayak more). We plan to do a short to quite long (your choice of distance, with or without a Ranger Naturalist), hike into Cascade Canyon, the premier Grand Teton National Park hike, and people usually do many other hikes together if they are on the trip for enough time. People usually sightsee both Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks and have some or many meals (cookout or restaurant) together. We know the best places to look for elk early in the morning, where a pair of bald eagles usually nest, and (some years) where to find and watch a beaver colony (and when we bring people to these locations we make certain they don’t disturb the animals). We go to a really great brunch after the early-morning-looking-for-animals excursion.


Compare Outdoor Club trip costs below, to a few local outfitters who offer (2017/2018 prices)

1/2 day paddle $79, A one day paddle for $175, a 2 day/1 night kayak trip for $599. A long weekend camping and kayaking for $1,099 – $1,249,

A half-day “wildlife” bus tour for $145, or all day for $275. Another place offers a 4 hour tour for $125, 5 day photographers bus tour $2,150.


The Outdoor Club pays substantial parts of the Grand Teton trip expenses, without charging trip participants. For the 2018 trip, the Outdoor Club will pay these expenses: the gas expense and bridge toll fees as needed to transport the kayaks to, during and back home from the trip, and the wilderness permit fees.

The 2018 trip cost paid to the club will be:

$170 club members and $190 other students

spent on:

$15 One round-trip ride on the hiker shuttle boat across Jenny Lake for the all day Cascade Canyon hike on a day picked by the group. ($15 per adult in 2018). (The boat shuttle takes four miles off the round trip hike, allowing people to hike farther into the mountains, or people can join a Ranger Naturalist for a shorter walk.) Day to be chosen once we are in the park. No refunds if you do not join us that day.

$25 There is also a kayak cleaning/loading/unloading fee. We need to clean all the kayaks between uses so we don’t risk spreading zebra mussels, etc. Everyone pays a $25 fee. If you help with all the kayak cleaning/loading/unloading chores you will get at least a $25 credit towards a club event within one year. If you don’t, as in you just don’t want to help, or you are not free on the days/times we choose to do the work, your share will go for a larger credit for someone else to do the work.

$27 per boat for the Grand Teton park permits ($12) and Wyoming annual Aquatic Invasive Species decals ($15). No refunds if you decide to not kayak with us or if weather/or . . . keeps us from going on any of the paddling.

$50 We fully expect to be able to bring all the kayaks, BUT if the club can’t transport the De Anza owned kayaks, $50 will go toward rental of canoes. We can expect canoe rental prices of at least $48 to $82 for 24 hours ($248 a week), so the trip fee won’t cover a lot of water adventures, and certainly not the wilderness overnight, if the De Anza owned kayaks can’t be transported. If we can transport the kayaks and do not need to rent anything, you can get a $50 refund if you give the club $50 worth of gas receipts from the trip by the deadline.

If they can be transported, (and we really do expect they will be), the club will provide: kayaks, paddles, drybags, and lifejackets (which must be worn and strapped/zipped securely). Again, all this is if the De Anza-owned kayaks can be transported, if not, we will rent canoes in the park. AND please note that if we have a really big group, the first signed up and paid will have priority for boat use, others will/might need to rent craft.

$12 towards the purchase of bear spray, which is required for everyone to carry. (Each trip member is required to attend a ranger program on safe bear spray use and watch an online video and read about bear spray before they go hiking, biking, kayaking or even walking away from developed areas. The ranger programs are offered every day at at least one Grand Teton National Park visitor center. (The material to read is at: and and the Yellowstone bear spray video is linked to at that page.) In a dozen years of club trips no one has had to use (spray) any bear spray. We expect that we will need to pay less than $50 per can. Since people will probably not actually use (spray) the bear spray (will only carry it), and might not return to the Rocky Mountains again soon, having each trip member pay for a can of bear spray seems too expensive, The club will buy the cans and charge people one fourth of the cost as a kind of rental (we expect to be able to find spray that does not expire for four years and can be carried again by future trip members). Trip participants will not “test” spray the spray, it should be returned unused (except in the incredibly rare instance it actually needs to be used on a bear). Bear spray will be returned promptly at the end of the trip or the student will be charged $50 for it.

$41 One brunch eaten together after early morning kayaking or after getting up early and looking for animals. Day/time to be chosen once we are in the park. (No refund if you do not get up and kayak/etc. eat with the group that morning.) Note that you can have any and/or all of the items mentioned on the menu, as well as seconds, thirds, fourths . . . of your favorites. (We sometimes aim to have each person start by ordering a different item, then pass plates around for a taste test, then people order what they want more of.)

NO REFUNDS for no-shows or partial participation.

People who have done at least 12 hours of volunteer work with the club this school year will not have to pay their share of bear spray ($12) or the $50 potential boat rentals and their total cost will be member $108, other students $128.

(Definition of volunteering will be at the discretion of the club advisor, but can include work as an officer at required ICC meetings, staffing the Welcome Week and Club Day tables, or the New Student Parent Open House.)

NPS photo Schwabacher landing: Schwabacher landing sunset 2010 120 pixels photo by Alan Ahlstrand: mostly clouds, some mountains and trees

Trip participants are responsible for all other arrangements and costs, including, but not limited to: food, park entrance fees, campsite, cabin or hotel cost, gas and other transportation costs, sleeping and eating gear and other personal gear. Grand Teton trip equipment is really worth reading about whether you camp or stay in a cabin or hotel.

Sometimes people do whitewater rafting, a horseback ride, try out a climbing gym or go to a rodeo or show in town, but these are not club-sponsored events and the club does not pay for them. More details of things to do are at: Grand Tetons .

People should budget for more breakfast buffets after very early morning sightseeing or kayaking, as these have been popular, especially the nicest one. 2018 at the low cost (hmmm, shall we say boring, obviously mass-produced food?) restaurant: $16 + tax/gratuity (note that an 18% gratuity is charged when we sit together in a big group). $42 (with tax and gratuity) at the nicest brunch that we most often go to.

Yup, this is all subject to change. For example, numbers I got from some websites in May 2014 changed by July 2014.

Each carload will pay their own park vehicle entrance fee. Effective June 1, 2018 the park entrance fee will be $35 per vehicle, $30 per motorcycle or $20 per person, and an annual park pass will cost $70. $35 is for for seven days (only one week and most people go on this trip for more than one week and want to see adjacent Yellowstone National Park as well, which has it’s own weekly fee). OR better yet, find someone to carpool with who already has a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass or buy one (in early 2018 $80 for a year) if you will go to both parks and/or see other National parks on the way to and from Grand Teton and/or stay more than a week and go on a Yosemite adventure with the club. OR find someone who is an active duty U.S. military member or dependent and has their ID Card (CAC card or form 1173) and can get a free national parks pass OR find someone who is 62 or over to get a lifetime seniors pass for $80.

(The passes can’t be transferred/shared so the person who gets the pass needs to be in the vehicle and show a photo ID.)

There is usually 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.

Budget for hotel rooms/campsites on the way if your vehicle doesn’t drive straight through, or if you have an emergency on the way.

Before you sign up the advisor must see and approve of your rain jacket/pants, tent, sleeping bag, NON-COTTON fleece jacket/pants and long johns. If you don’t have a proper rain jacket/pants, fleece jacket/pants and long johns during the trip you will not go kayaking. Please read: Snow or rain camp must-haves

Leigh lake overnight 2005: 2005 mist sunrise oxbow bend kayak:


Since different people will have different budgets:

drive or fly; some may camp, some may get a hotel room / suite, (most usually share a campsite or cheap cabin),

… the trip cost will vary.

Below you can find:

The cheap trip,

The not-so cheap trip

The slightly more costly trip, but less driving time also known as the I-can’t-get-much-time-off-work trip

and The Expensive Trip

Below, trumpeter swans and young moose photos courtesy of NPS:

trumpeter swans NPS photo: young moose NPS photo:


The cheap trip

See trip cost paid to the Outdoor Club, (above), and add:

Split the park vehicle entrance fee (see notes above)

Stuff six or more people into a car and split the gas, $143 or less each(?)

The Grand Tetons road trip drive can be as much as 3,000 miles round trip with lots of driving in the park(s). (The trip odometer for one vehicle ran up 1000.2 miles between the home driveway and the town limits of Jackson, Wyoming.) A van/SUV full of people with a current tune-up could be expected to get at least 15 miles per gallon. 3,000 miles divided by 15 = 200 gallons.

If gas were an average of $3.75 this would be $750. If it were $4 per gallon, this equals $800. Divide this by the number of people you expect you can cram into that van.

Remember that gas is often cheaper outside of our area. in August 2014, when gas could be found at $4.03 in Cupertino, gas in Jackson (the main town near the park) was as low as $3.73, Pocatello (Idaho) $3.66, Salt Lake as low as $3.55 and Reno at $3.79.) Wyoming enjoys the low gas prices due in part to lower gas taxes.

Plan to fill your tank whenever you are in Jackson, as the cheapest gas stations are in town and the gas prices get higher the further you go into Grand Teton National Park. Yipes, as much as 60 cents a gallon.

All these are 87 octane:

August 2018: in Jackson, gas at the Maverik was lowest (once you swipe your M’s card and lower the price two cents) $3.23. At Dornan’s’s at Moose (the park headquarters area) gas was $3.59, at Colter Bay $3.80 and Jackson Lake Lodge it was $3.82, Grant Village in Yellowstone $3.59.

August 2017: in Jackson, gas at the Maverik was lowest (once you swipe your M’s card and lower the price two cents). $2.59.9. At Dornan’s’s at Moose (the park headquarters area) gas was $2.79.9, at Colter Bay and Jackson Lake Lodge it was $2.80.9.

If no van/truck is available, we might go with the example of the 2000 trip. One rental car transported two kayaks and three people. At 28 mpg this came to 107 gallons or (if $3.75 per gallon) $401.25 divided by three people= $133.75 each.(if $4 per gallon) $428 divided by three people= $143 each.

(Depending on trip size, we might be able to transport some camping gear, say at least a dining canopy for shade or rain on the kayak trailer, but the club, drivers, officers, advisor, college, etc. can’t be responsible for your gear.)

Grand Tetons trip transportation has driving notes for the Tetons trip to SAVE MONEY ON GAS AND TIME ON THE ROAD by not taking the obvious exit to drive slowly through towns you don’t need to and to drive a bit past the major brand name gas station right at the freeway exit to find substantially lower gas costs along the route.

Don’t exceed the speed limit. According to the FTC, “The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph), rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent. Driving at 75 mph, rather than 65 mph, increases fuel consumption by another 25 percent…If you anticipate traffic conditions and don’t tailgate, you can avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, and improve your fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent.”

Another article said that when gas prices are at $4.50, “you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an extra 30 cents per gallon for gas.”

Properly inflate your tires and get up to 3% higher mileage (and a safer ride). Regular tuneups can save 10 to 20 percent.


Eat food from home or the local grocery, including peanut butter/bananna sandwiches. In 2016 I wanted to do a food price comparison so I started with the cost, in the Albertson’s in Jackson, of a gallon of milk $2, a head of iceberg $1.99 and a rotisserie chicken $6.99. At Dornans at Moose the gallon of milk was $5.09, no chicken and no iceberg, but the typical bag of salad ‘kit’ was $2.99 to $3.99. At Colter Bay milk was $5.39, iceberg $1.69 and no chicken.


Get a Colter Bay campsite instead of a cabin: (2018) $31 per night (6 people, 2 vehicles or one motorhome, 2 tents max.) = $5.17 per person each night, ($15.50 for the site with a Golden Age Passport). map of Colter Bay campground Grand Teton National park

Your club advisor knows where there are eight campsites (not at all near Colter Bay, not open every year and not advised for our group) with no potable water, that are free.

If there are less than 3 people who want to camp the hikers/cyclists walk-in site at Colter Bay is (2018) $12 per person per night and would be cheaper than a campsite for one or two people. This walk-in site would work for people who don’t have a vehicle or can park it (if it will fit) with the rest of the group at the cabins.

If we have a big group of campers they should probably get family campsites, since group campsites are much more expensive per person, and depending on group size and allow fewer vehicles per the number of people.

If we have a big group and everyone wanted to have dinner together, it would not be fair to nearby campers for everyone camping to meet and cook/dine at one of the family campsites, as it is impossible to control noise even with courteous people. We can still have the group dinner experience, as just down the road from the Colter Bay campground there is a beach with a much better view than the campsites have, parking, picnic tables, fire rings and restrooms. Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park has a map and pictures, as well as where campers can find free WIFI, take a (fee for) shower, etc.

(On our fall trips, the Colter Bay campground has rarely filled.)


Bring your own bike and/or fishing gear.

Budget for ice to refill ice chests, unexpected emergencies, unexpected souvenir shopping.

Budget $5 (?) per shower (5 people same day/time $13 2017) at the Colter Bay shower house/launderette (2018 price not yet known).

The not-so cheap trip

See trip cost paid to the Outdoor Club, (above), and add:

Split the park vehicle entrance fee (see notes above)

Split the cost of a rental car and gas.

Make your own food but eat out a few meals besides that, including possibly
one really nice dinner ($29-49+?) and a few really nice buffet breakfasts ($42+).


Split the cost of a large cabin:

Colter Bay cabins prices, (these prices reflect taxes, but don’t include the $2.43 per night, subject to change, utility fee) according to the website in April 2017:

(2017) $ 204.23 – $ 270 ish One Room (private bath, 1-2 persons (sleeps to 3 or rarely fits 6 guests with rollaway bed, $10 each extra adult over the double occupancy)

(2017) $269.50 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. (2016) $95.04 One Room (semi-private bath)

bearoutsidecabinatColterbay160ixels: black bear walking just outside a log cabinFAQ: 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, you have a shared wall with others that is not thick enough to keep you from missing seemingly inevitable family arguments.)

Plus, interesting fall weather is easier to deal with in a cabin.

photos and details about Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


T-shirts, postcards, more film you need to buy, maybe a laundromat charge. Budget for ice to refill ice chests, unexpected emergencies, unexpected souvenir shopping. Bring your own bike and/or fishing gear.

Budget for whitewater rafting, a horseback ride, or going to a rodeo or show in town.

I-can’t-get-much-time-off-work trip

is the above The not-so cheap trip, but fly into Salt Lake City, Utah (two hour flight plus one hour time change), rent a car and drive the last six hours.

When we looked online at various cheap ticket websites in May 2017, an August 2017 round trip from SF/SJ/Oakland to Salt Lake was going for $176 to $199 and people spotted an occasional much lower price. (Salt Lake City is a Delta hub.)

In 2007 a guy who wanted to ride in a carpool one way and fly home at the end of the trip found that the round trip ticket was less than the one-way, so guess which he bought.

If you look online for tickets, the airport code for San Jose is SJC, Oakland is OAK, for Salt Lake it’s SLC and for Jackson, Wyoming it’s JAC.

Grand Tetons trip transportation has flight info, driving distances and guesses at gas cost, previous trip examples, etc.

photo below courtesy of

Rick Konrad Images mtn lions: Rick Konrad Images mountain lion family

The Expensive Trip

also known as …Grand Teton National Park on $2,000+ a day…

See trip cost paid to the Outdoor Club, (at the top, above), and add:

Fly into Jackson Hole (2017 Delta as much as $1,637 first class) and rent a car.

Rent a Harley for $155 to $195 for 24 hours.

$395 for an airplane sightseeing tour, $750 for one at sunset.

Eat out most of the time, including at least one exceptional dinner ($100 – 400?) and a few nice buffet breakfasts ($38 +).

Split the cost of a two bedroom one bath cabin between two people (2017 $269.50 plus taxes = $135+ plus each per night), or get a great hotel room with a kitchen, TV, fireplace, (or a suite) for $559 – $850+ per night. Grand Tetons hotels, cabins, lodging

Sign up late after twenty other people have first claim on the ten De Anza kayaks, so you get to pay for canoe rentals $300 + for a week.

‘Executive’ private one day tour to Yellowstone $700+ for up to four passengers.

Private stargazing $500 for up to 4 people

White water rafting (8 miles…$80 +/-, more with meals) and the poster of you rafting they would like to sell you, see info at: Grand Tetons whitewater rafting,

bike rental (Bike rentals in Moose: (from the website in April 2016, no new prices as of May 2017) hour $15 to $25, half day $34 to $55, 24 hours $40 to 65, week $210 to 400 — depending on the quality of the bike) see also Grand Tetons biking,

horseback riding $45-$80 (2017), Jackson Lake dinner cruise $70 (2017), unexpected emergencies.

Head into Jackson and spend $1,000 to $10,000 or $100,000+ on a painting or sculpture. There are a dozen stores in Jackson ready to dress you to the part of the matriarch of a wealthy ranching family.

A ten mile private balloon ride can set you back $1,200.

Paragliding per session $225 +, or work towards a pilot rating, $1,950 to start.

A 4-5 hour evening boat ride with a ‘five star dinner and wine’ for two people starting at $800.

A two day yoga / climbing lesson retreat for $550.

A four day private Grand Teton ascent, no experience necessary $2,100.

Guided fly fishing ($495 or more for a day).

Private coaching and video analysis of your fly-casting (no price given, by appointment only).


If you fly or stuff a lot of people in a car, you will be limited in what you can bring. If we can transport the kayaks we will also bring your lifejacket, paddle and dry bag(s). We might also have room on the trailer for a dining canopy (or more gear, depending on how may people sign up). The club and/or the drivers, advisor, college, etc. will not be responsible for the safety of items we transport for you.

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 cabins or campground for at least part of the time on previous trips.

If you will be staying in a Colter bay cabin, go directly to Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park for details about the cabins and the logistics of sharing one.

If you want a better room, Grand Tetons hotels, cabins, lodging has details about all the properties in the park, including a description of which rooms on the grounds of Jackson Lake Lodge have the best/worst views.

Grand Tetons trip transportation has flight info, driving distances and guesses at gas cost, previous trip examples, AND trip notes with where to find some mega-cheaper gas stations and ways to keep from driving the slow route through towns we need to go through by not taking the obvious freeway exit.

The trip is open only to De Anza students/staff. Answers to most questions about how the club works are at: Outdoor Club Basic Info.

For details about club events and on how to find us to pay for a membership, sign up for events or volunteer, go to:

Outdoor Club Coming Attractions

We can expect sunny days and rain/thunderstorms, or possibly even a little overnight snow. Interesting weather does not cancel club events. Club activity areas, and all park restrooms or other buildings are non-smoking. Even though there is smoking allowed in Wyoming restaurants, all National Park restaurants, etc. are non-smoking. No alcohol or drug use is allowed before/during club activities. This is not just a rule written to make the College happy, it is a trip rule.

The trip will only be an official club event while we are kayaking (or canoeing), and possibly a hike or some other sightseeing or a group meal at a restaurant or an overnight canoe/kayak trip.

How you get to Grand Teton National Park, where you stay overnight, most meals, most sightseeing, any bike riding, whitewater rafting or horseback riding, going to a movie in town, etc. will not be official club business.

The faculty advisor must be along for all kayak/canoe use, and all safety recommendations by the advisor, park and De Anza rules must be followed.


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.

Grand Tetons kayaking

Grand Tetons sightseeing

Back to:
The cheap trip,

The not-so cheap trip

The slightly more costly trip, but less driving time also known as the I-can’t-get-much-time-off-work trip

and The Expensive Trip.

black bear climbing tree nps photo: black bear climbing tree, one arm reaching up to a branch