Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park

Colter Bay: aerial photo of Colter Bay with Teton range in background

simple map
You can download a Grand Teton National Park map at:

As you turn of first turn off highway 191/89,
(coming north from the edge of Jackson, Wyoming it is 41 miles, coming south from the Yellowstone National Park border it is 13 miles)
go past the gas station and drive into Colter Bay,
the buildings set back from the Colter Bay road on the right (north) are an NPS Operations area, and NPS/ Concessionaire housing.

simple map


On the Colter Bay road, after you go through the four-way stop at the intersection of the roads to the campground, RV campground and the road to the cabins / tent cabins / stable,

if you go straight ahead,
(Google maps view here)

the road turns into a long one-way loop that goes past to store/laundromat and on to the Visitor Center.

Be prepared for people pulling out of parking spaces and not paying attention to oncoming traffic. (We once watched 2 cars almost back into each other as they exited their parking spaces at opposite sides of the road through the parking lot.)

road with parking at the sides

There are parking spaces along parts of this one way loop specifically for oversized vehicles and people towing boats or trailers:

pavement has words RV boat parking onlycar pulling a trailer parked at side of parking lot

And sometimes there are unusual pedestrians like this mama bear and her two cubs in August 2023:

three bears walking across parking lot



Colter Bay with locators:

A= amphitheater for early evening Ranger talks, later evening campfire programs

Ranger talking to people

Cabins see details about the logistics of sharing a Colter Bay Village cabin

Campground = see map and details

CRO = cabin rental office

one story building

G = gas station with tiny gift shop / a few food items

gas station

GG = large grocery (postage stamps) and gift shop (sometimes less food selection in the off season), coffee bar.

recycling bins Grand teton park: five various recycling binsRecycling bins are located outside of the store, including one specifically for used propane tanks, the brown center one in the photo.

H = highway 191/89, edge of the town of Jackson 41 miles, border of Yellowstone National Park 13 miles

L = coin-op launderette (22 dryers and 21 washers) & public showers (11 each men’s and women’s showers), sometimes there is a wait for these.

Free WiFi available at the laundromat:

man working at a laptop in a laundromat

M = marina, free boat launch ramp, canoe and boat rentals, fishing equipment and licenses, cruises with meals, boat fuel and dump services.

Colter Bay launch ramp (the wide driveway almost in the center) photo taken from a dock at the Marina is at this Google maps 360 degree photo.

people and canoes

marina and docks

On many of our fall trips the ‘bay’ at Colter Bay is a mud flat due to irrigation water being drained from Jackson Lake.

launch ramp leading to almost dry lake


P = lakeside picnic area & swim beach with restrooms, picnic tables

that can be accessed by paths from the outside loops of the RV park or by the road that goes past the Visitor Center.

one picnic table in shade, others in full sun

picnic tables

The restroom is at the end of the swim beach road / parking area:
restroom building

and bring your binoculars:
Man standing with binoculars, picnic table full of dinner and gear at Colter Bay lakeside picnic area

View of the swim beach from out on the lake:
colter bay swim beach: a long beach as seen from the lake

Below is a park service photo of the road past and to the swim beach, with the edge of the RV park to the right, which has pathways out to the swim beach road.

aerial photo of road and long beach


R = restaurant(s) free WiFi available. Ranch House open all season, Cafe closed early and late season (Coffee bar in the Colter Bay grocery.)
Tour the Ranch House and Cafe Court

Grand Tetons restaurants

We once saw a mink running up the outside wall of a restaurant, but did not get a picture. We saw a fox (with a beautiful long tail) in the middle of the day, running from the marina area towards the Colter Bay cabins/restaurants:

fox and parked cars

Here, the difference in size between a fox (in the front) coyote (in the middle) and a wolf:
drawing of a fox, coyote and wolf standing next to each other


Tent Village, see tent cabins colter bay tent cabin: canvas walled cabin with wood sides showing the patio

Trailer Park ( R.V. park) next to the Colter Bay campground, with full hookups

small building with rvs driving by

V = Visitor Center with films, talks, info, postcards, books and Indian Arts museum. Public restrooms in the building are at the left hand end of the building as it shows in this photo.


a narrow band of sunset clouds

On the map below of the lakeshore trail, the red letter A is the amphitheater, V is the Visitor Center and C is the cabins area:

simple map of lake and shoreline trail

On the map below you can see campground loops F and G, about half of the RV park, and the brown rectangle is the store, the brown square to the side of/below it is the laundromat / shower house, and at the bottom of the map, part of the cabins area:

simple map

This map has the tent village on the right. The store is the brown rectangle at the middle left, with the showers/laundromat to the side/below it.
The bottom left hand corner is the restaurants.

simple map


There is no swimming pool at Colter Bay, but there is a swimming pool at Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Cabins guests can swim there.


More info about choices for overnight accommodations in Grand Teton National Park is at:
Grand Tetons hotels, cabins, lodging


There is a medical clinic on the grounds of Jackson Lake Lodge, ten miles from Colter Bay, near the gas station, open 7 days a week in the summer, usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (307-543-2514, 307-733-8002 after hours). No appointment needed. See the map at: Jackson Lake Lodge vicinity medical clinic building

St John’s Medical Center hospital (24 hour emergency room) is at 625 E. Broadway at Redmond, in Jackson

thin line of various colors of rocks
In late summer 2021, a cell phone tower was put in the Colter Bay campground and you can expect to be able to use your cell phone as a hotspot to get wi-fi on your laptop. (At Colter Bay got 3-4 bars on Verizon and AT&T. Elsewhere in the park we found some places with 3 bars on Verizon and 0-1 on AT&T.)

Here are views of Colter Bay campground loop F, on the right, campsite number F132 with the cell phone tower:

and the view of the towers from the road leading from the Colter Bay cabins to the campground:

thin line of various colors of rocks

stones forming a wall

Trails from Colter Bay

At the north end of Colter Bay there is a 1.5 mile trail with a small causeway out to and around an island visible in almost the center of the photo at the top of this page. One of the views from this Lakeshore Trail:
mountians seen from across lake

A self-guiding nature trail goes around the island. The Lakeshore Trail starts behind the visitor center or at the day use area or even from the marina.
boats in marine and sign

Showing again, the map below of the lakeshore trail, the red letter A is the amphitheater, V is the Visitor Center and C is the cabins area:

simple map of lake and shoreline trail

simple map

The Hermitage Point Trail goes out to Heron Pond and Swan lake mountains rise above pond with lilies

lake with mountains farther away

mountains seen from across large pond

For a full day hike, you can follow the Hermitage Point trail along Third Creek, out to a peninsula on the lake and follow the shoreline of Jackson Lake back to the marina
(easy – moderate, 9.7 mile / 15.6 kilometer round-trip loop trail).

map with trails, islands

A hiking map of the Hermitage Point area that the map above was copied from is at::


Since it is not safe to hike by yourself, if you have no companions to hike with, you can join a Ranger for this hike, for example, from 2019:

“Swan Lake Hike

Join a ranger to hike through the forest and learn about the park’s natural history. A classic national park experience. Bring food, water, binoculars, rain gear, and insect repellent.

3 hours * Meet at flagpole in front of Colter Bay Visitor Center

3 miles * Moderate hike

Daily 4 pm, June 5-Sept 3, 2019”



The Swan lake Trail can be “temporarily closed for the safety of visitors and wildlife”
(for nesting birds to have peace and quiet).

simple map



You can find a larger size copy of the NPS photo trail map below, with the Colter Bay Campground, Colter Bay Cabins and Colter Bay village streets in the lower right corner, as well as Donoho Point, Hermitage Point, Half Moon Bay, Colter Bay, Little Mackinaw Bay, Willow Flats, Pilgrim Creek, Elk Island, Heron Pond, Swan Lake and Cygnet Pond

NPS photo map with lake, trails, roads

(The trail map above is oriented the usual way with north at the top, the photo map above is not.)

You can download a Grand Teton National Park map at:

and a map of most lakeside trails in the park at:



Grand Teton National Park birds has photos and details about the most common ones we can hope to see
including Bald Eagle, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Geese, Clark’s Nutcracker, Golden Eagle, Great Blue Heron. Great Gray Owl, Harlequin duck, Loon, Magpie, Merganser, Northern Flicker (woodpecker), Osprey, Ouzel, Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Ptarmigan, Raven, Sandhill Cranes, Steller’s Jays, Trumpeter Swan , Western Meadowlark, and Western Tanager, with links to calls / songs from most of them to listen to.

and you can Download photos of over a hundred birds of Grand Teton National Park

hawk flying



You can read about John Colter, Jackson Hole and more stories at:


scroll down to Grand Teton

See also: Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake aerial photo

NASA aerial photo of Teton Range


View from your boat as you exit Colter Bay towards Jackson Lake:

view across water of Mount Moran

Colter Bay marina sunset courtesy of Tom Ingram Photography, all rights reserved

lake and mountains at sunset

Colter Bay driving distances:

Colter Bay – Old Faithful, Yellowstone 58.4 miles

Colter Bay – West Thumb, Yellowstone 39 miles

Colter Bay – Signal Mountain Lodge 9.4 miles

Colter Bay – Leek’s marina 2.4 miles

Colter Bay – Jackson Lake Lodge 5.9 miles (one source says 5.4 miles, 9 minutes)

Colter Bay – String Lake 18.1 miles (and often an hour long drive)

Colter Bay – Jenny Lake 19.6 miles

Colter Bay – Jackson airport 30.7 miles

Colter Bay – Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, North Cache Street, Jackson 39.3 miles

Colter Bay – Jackson Visitor Center 39.9 miles

Colter Bay – Albertsons, Buffalo Way, Jackson 42 miles (and often an hour long drive)

Colter Bay – Whole Foods Market, U.S. 89, Jackson, 42.7 miles