Colter Bay RV Park, Grand Teton National Park, including maps

At Recreation.gov it says:

“The vast Colter Bay R.V. Park at Colter Bay Village is set amidst towering lodgepole pines just a short, picturesque stroll away from Jackson Lake. The RV Park includes 112 full hookup RV sites including sewer, water, and 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electric outlets. The RV Park is open from early-May to early-October. As with all campgrounds in the park, the Colter Bay RV Park is very popular and tends to fill up quickly. Visitors are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and book early. . . ”

To find the entrance to the Colter Bay R.V. park in Grand Teton National Park (the trailer park with full hookups), and to find the “dry” RV camping at the Colter Bay campground,

when on Teton Park Road (also known as North Park Road, or highways 89, 191, 287 on many maps) you can recognize the intersection you turn on into Colter Bay, by the gas station on the corner, shown on the map below with a purple dot:

simple map with an X at a intersection

go towards Colter bay and when you get to a four-way stop intersection, just past the Blue X on the map above, turn right towards the the campground(s) from the main road

and before you get to the Colter Bay Campground entrance station kiosk, turn left.

campground directional sign

simple map

The red X on the map above is where the office shown below is

small building with rvs driving by

When you make your reservation, you choose a site number, but you should not head directly to it,
you need to stop at the RV park office and check in.

– someone may have had engine trouble and can’t move their vehicle

– someone unfamiliar with that rental RV may have not understood how to use the sewer hookup and the RV park is trying to clean up a small pond of sewage at your site

– someone forgot to take down the awning that just barely could be opened between the trees closest to the site parking space and in the process of swerving to miss taking the awning off their rig, took down a tree branch that is now blocking access for you

– someone borrowed a rig from inlaws and forgot the shade awning was open and drove off without retracting it and are stuck in the site until they can get the shade awning mangled by that tree somehow dealt with

– someone is just being inconsiderate and moving out late

stones in a row on a wall

At Recreation.gov it says:

“. . .Colter Bay RV Park offers 112 full-hookup pull-through and back-in sites which include sewer, water, and 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electric outlets. Each pull-through RV site has a gravel parking space for one RV and one tow vehicle, with a maximum total length of 45 feet.* Each back-in site has a gravel parking space for one RV and one tow vehicle, with a maximum total length of 30 feet.* All sites include a picnic table, access to nearby water spigots, flush toilets, and laundry and showers available for an additional fee. Propane is available for purchase.

*Site sizes vary, please check individual site specifications before booking to confirm site accommodations.

ADA Access: There are 6 ADA-compliant RV sites that have been widened to accommodate wheelchairs, with accessible picnic tables and leveled sites. The campground loop roads are paved and mostly level, with considerable sloping inclines and declines. Restroom facilities are partially accessible, with accessible showers available at the nearby launderette. Routes to the amphitheater are paved but on a sloping incline/decline.

NO tents permitted in the RV Park.

Complimentary WiFi/internet service is available at the restaurants, marina, activities desk, launderette, and stores. . . Firewood, food, ice, camping supplies and more can be purchased at the grocery store and adjacent gift shop.”

But note that although there is firewood for sale, no wood fires are allowed in the RV park.

 

Grand Teton National park has an announcement that some park visitors seem to not have learned about:
Be thoughtful of how music may affect others. Operating an audio device, such as a stereo, Bluetooth speaker, radio, or musical instrument in a manner which is unreasonable and impacts park users is prohibited by law.”

 

At Recreation.gov it has said:

“Cellular coverage varies, and may be available depending on location within the campground and service provider.”

Fireworks and drones (unmanned aircraft) are banned at all times in the park.

thin line of various colors of rocks
In late summer 2021, a cell phone tower was put in the Colter Bay campground (not in the Colter Bay RV Park) 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 we 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

The maximum stay permitted at the Colter Bay RV park is 14 nights, and the maximum cumulative stay between all Grand Teton National Park campgrounds is 30 nights.

Cost (2023)

There are 94 Pull-through sites (RVs up to 45 feet, but there are only 23 that size) at $112.00 per night.

There are 9 Back-in sites (30ft RV or smaller) cost $102 per night.

RVs in campsites

The cost includes standard hookups of water, sewer, and electricity (20, 30, & 50 amp), but showers cost extra. And you will need to pay the entrance fee for Grand Teton National Park.

There are no campfire rings in the Colter Bay RV Park. Only camp stoves are allowed.
“Wood fires are not permitted. Fire pits and picnic tables are available along the lake shore within a 5-10 minute walk of your site. Gas and charcoal grills are permitted, however must be cleaned and stored after use.”

A handout given campers has said: “Charcoal grills are permitted.
Please dispose of embers in red ash cans.
NO tents, clotheslines or vehicle washing.
Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.”

There are many pathways from the Colter Bay R V Park down to the swim beach / picnic area with picnic tables and restrooms:

Unfortunately, people have created de-facto trails by walking through the woods, (wearing out plants including stepping on wildflowers). The park service has installed many signs along the edge of the roadway to encourage people to use the pathways.

sign says please use walks

The pathways shown above go from the RV Park loop road down to Cottonwood Way and then to the swim beach / picnic area (see on map below).

map wth roads and RV sites

There is sufficient distance from the RV sites to Cottonwood Way, (a side road off the main Colter Bay Road that goes to the swim beach) for privacy from vehicles on that road and enough forested space between the Campground sites, for example loop G on the map above, and RV sites.

Row “P” is at the north (top) end, with sites 510, 511 and 512, with more forest behind them than other sites and a very short walk to the swim beach. (Please note that when the reservations moved to Recreation.gov, the site numbers were changed and that map you kept from a previous stay no longer has correct site numbers.)

The shortest walk to the Lake Shore trail head (see map below of this trail) and amphitheater for Ranger programs, is from loops / rows A, B, C, D at the right hand side of the map above. They are also a short walk across a back service road to the laundromat/showers, general store, gift shop and activities booth. (The brown rectangles shown along Colter Bay Rd. on the map above.)

See a Google map street view you can rotate 360 degrees, taken at the southern-most end of the R.V. Park Loop.

Go to https://www.recreation.gov/ for reservations and a map of Colter Bay RV park that identifies each site by number, has the maximum total length of the up to 2 vehicles per site allowed (you should include that 20-foot-long truck you towed your rig with in your length calculation) and has a photo of each site. The photos were taken when the campground was vacant, so each looks much more spacious, with more forest surrounding the sites than actually exists.

Here is a row of sites when the RV park was occupied, looking quite different than at recreation.gov:
road in RV park

thin line of various colors of rocks

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 is the stores and restaurants, and the campground and RV park area is towards the right. There is a black and white aerial photo/map to go with this picture at Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park.

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

 

On the Colter Bay road from the highway, after you go through the four-way stop at the intersection of the roads to the campground / RV park and the road to the cabins, 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 in the store/laundromat area, like this mama bear and her two cubs in August 2023,
which were also seen in the RV park:

three bears walking across parking lot

 

 

Colter Bay has

An amphitheater for early evening Ranger talks, later evening campfire programs

Ranger talking to people

It is faster from almost every RV park loop to walk to the amphitheater for the evening ranger program/ campfire program than to drive and try to find parking.

There is a gas station with tiny gift shop / a few food items

gas station

Colter Bay grocery has grab and go meals, salads, sandwiches (postage stamps) and gift shop (summer hours usually 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM daily. Hours often shorter May-early June and after Labor Day.)
360 degree tour of the Colter grocery can give you an idea of the food available.

store

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.

The 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, is next to the General Store.

Showers (2023) “$5 and there is no time limit on that. If you have a group of five or less, you can pay the family shower rate of $15 and each additional person after the first 5 will be $3.00 extra.” at the Colter Bay shower house/launderette.

 

The laundromat is in the row of the store and gift shops. If you have a roll of quarters you will not have to depend on the change machine being operable. (We found that we only needed one or two quarters for a small dryer load to get things dry.) They sell laundry products but if you want unscented (scented can attract mosquitos) or hypo-allergic, or a specific brand of detergent or stain remover, it would be wise to bring small containers from home.sign says please remove your laundry as soon as machine finishesThere are lots of machines, but if they are all taken and you notice that someone left their machine and it is finished running, you can ask the laundromat attendant to remove the clothes so you can use the machine.

 

Free WiFi available at the laundromat:

man working at a laptop in a laundromat

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

people and canoes

marina and docks

On many 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

 

The lakeside picnic area & swim beach with restrooms, picnic tables, can be accessed by paths from the outside loops of the RV park.

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

 

Restaurant(s) free WiFi available, are within walking distance. 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 Teton National park restaurants has links to menus and links to info about restaurants in Jackson, Wyoming.

 

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

Visitor Center with films, talks, info, postcards, books and Indian Arts museum
https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/cbvc.htm

building

There are bears that frequent the Colter Bay RV campground, keep your food, toiletries in arms reach or locked up. Your safety in Grizzly bear territory

sign be bear aware tetons:
a narrow band of sunset clouds

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
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.

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

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

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

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::
https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/Hermitage_Point_topo.pdf

 

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).

https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/management/wildlife-closures.htm

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

at:
https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=2326181
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: http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/maps.htm

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

http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/Lakeshore12.pdf

 

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Grand Teton National Park birds has photos and details about the most common ones
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
https://www.audubon.org/climate/national-parks/grand-teton-national-park

hawk flying

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

at: http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/park_histories.htm#g

scroll down to Grand Teton

See also: Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake aerial photo

NASA aerial photo of Teton Range

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View as you exit Colter Bay towards Jackson Lake:

view across water of Mount Moran

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Was that shaking an earthquake? Intermountain west earthquakes, including
Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, are monitored, with a map of recent earthquakes in the last 2 hours, last 2 days, last week, with locations, magnitude, times of occurrence, at
https://quake.utah.edu/earthquake-center/quake-map

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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