Colter Bay Tent Village, Grand Teton National Park

colter bay tent cabin: canvas walled cabin with wood sides showing the patio Colter Bay tent cabins have
“two permanent log walls and two weatherproof canvas walls with a weatherproof canvas roof” that extends out over about half of the concrete patio.

“Tent Cabins share a common log wall with an adjoining private cabin.” (See drawing of the floorplan of the duplex cabins below.)

Outside on the concrete patio there is a fire ring/grilling area, bear box and a movable picnic table.

The website said:” The Tent Cabin includes two sets pull-down bunk beds for a total of four beds with padding, an interior potbelly wood burning stove for heat, and lighting. While the bunks are padded, sleeping bags and pillows not included. Guests are encouraged to bring their own linens, however a limited quantity of sleeping bags, pillows and blankets are available on a first-come basis for a nightly fee. Our tent cabins do not offer electric outlets or private restrooms. Each private cabin includes a picnic table, a fire pit with metal fire grate, a bear-proof food storage locker, and access to nearby water spigots, flush toilets, and laundry and showers are available for an additional fee. . . Firewood and kindling can be purchased at the Tent Village office or the nearby grocery store.”

The interior wood stove is for heat – not cooking.

All sites have picnic tables and fire rings. “Campfires – must be contained within a metal fire grate . . . Visitors should never leave a fire unattended. The fine for an abandoned campfire is $225, but campers can also be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.”

The pads on the beds could be better insulating if you bring a insulating camping pad to put on top of them.

Tour a tent cabin.

“Nearby water spigots” means there is not a water source at each tent cabin. Shared bathroom facilities.

No showers at the tent cabins; pay-for showers are about three blocks away at the Colter Bay laundromat, (with free WiFi) next to the grocery. There are public showers (11 each men’s and women’s showers), sometimes there is a wait for these.

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.

 

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.”  Towel rental $3, at the Colter Bay shower house/launderette.

 

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.”

 

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

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.

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.

And sometimes there are unusual pedestrians in the grocery/laundromat area, like this mama bear and her two cubs in August 2023,
which were also seen in the tent village, campground and cabins areas:

three bears walking across parking lot

 

If you are not careful about food storage, you might find a bear got into your food (and you could pay a fine):

bear eating people's food

Please note that the pictures at the tent cabins website (and the photos above) do not show that they are next to each other in pairs. They do not share a wall, but they do have corners together and if people are not careful to talk quietly their next door neighbors will hear everything.
(The brown stripes in this drawing are log walls, the brown rectangle is the bear box, the circle with red and yellow is the fire ring):

drawing of floorplan

Here, tent units 37 on the left and 39 on the right:

two tent cabins next to each other

and you can also see the arrangements (look for the units not in the trees) in the NPS aerial photo below:

tent cabins in the woods aerial photo
If you have a big group, or just want to share a wall with another couple or family you know, these are the notes we had with the numbers of the adjoining tent cabins:

(Please note that cabin #107 had damage from a truck a guest was driving in 2021, and is not on the list at Recreation.gov as of early 2022, or is listed as FF first come, first served, no advanced reservations available. “You must go the facility in person to verify availability.”)

at the outside edge of the northern loop, from where the main road comes into the tent cabin village: 154/156, 152.150, 148/146, 142/144, 140/138, 136/134, 130/132, 126/128, 122/124, 120/118, 116/114, 110/112, 106/108, 102/104. In the center of the northern loop: 139/141, 143/145, 101/103 and 105/107.

Along the section of tent cabins that back up to the Colter Bay Stables Road, from where the main road comes into the tent cabin village, 4/2, 6/8, 12/10, 14/16, 18/20, 22/24, 26/28, 32/30, and across from them on the tent cabin office side of the road, 39/37, 35/33, 31/29, 27/25, the Tent Village Office, 9/11, 5/7, 1/3.

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Some tent cabins have very little vegetation & forest around them, others do have more greenery.

Here tent cabin number 39, at the end of a row, facing forest instead of another tent (but adjoins cabin # 37).

tent cabin patio facing towards forest

Here, tent cabins 101 and 103, and the forest to the side:

2 tent cabins
cabin with forest around

Here, tent cabin #5, looking down the road towards the Tent Village Office and main restroom:

tent cabin bear box and firering

and the Tent Village office building, center doors for the office, men’s restroom on the right, women’s on the left:

large building with sign that says Tent Village

The sign below the Tent Village sign said:
No RV, Boat, motorcycle or utility trailer parking available in tent village.
(Exception for commercial tours only.)
Overflow parking across from cabin office
.”

Here, the sink counter in the main restroom in the Tent Cabin office building:

5 sinks in a long counter

If you hang a hammock from a tree without putting padding under the rope where it goes around the tree trunk, you risk stripping bark off the tree and allowing insects in to do damage:

3 hammocks hanging from trees

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

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The tent cabins were previously reservable through Grand Teton Lodge Company, but now are at https://www.recreation.gov/

Go there and search for Grand Teton National park, then scroll down to Colter Bay Tent Village, where you will find a map of all 66 cabins (in 33 duplex units) to choose from.

Rates from the website in early 2024: $104
“Displayed rates do not reflect discounts, taxes, or incremental charges.”
Reserved through recreation.gov, not through gtlc.com

The 66 tent cabins (in 33 duplex units) usually close shortly after Labor Day weekend
(May 24, 2024 – September 01, 2024)

At Recreation.gov, we read this about the Colter Bay tent cabins:

“. . . Parking for one vehicle is available at each cabin, however, oversized vehicles are not permitted. Parking for oversized vehicles is available within a 5-10 minute walk.

Quiet hours are 10pm – 7am.

Camping accommodations are pet-friendly. . .”

Latitude
43° 54′ 15.0228″ N
Longitude
110° 38′ 5.8596″ W

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From the National Park Service Morning Report of August 08, 2003

“Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Structural Fire at Colter Bay

 

David Al___, his wife, and two teenage daughters were staying at the concession-owned Colter Bay Tent Cabins on the night of July 15th. Although area temperatures had been unseasonably high, Al___ decided to light a fire in the tent’s potbellied stove before the family went to bed at 11:30 p.m. After several unsuccessful attempts to light the fire with wood and paper, Al___ removed a lid on the top of the stove and poured Coleman fuel into the opening. The smoldering fire immediately burst into flames and quickly spread to the tent walls and ceiling. The family evacuated the burning structure and the North District Fire Brigade was summoned. Nearby campers assisted by dousing the fire with extinguishers; fire brigade members put out the fire and conducted the investigation. Fortunately, Al___ suffered only minor injuries, but the family clothing, camping gear and bicycles were destroyed. The tent-cabin is constructed of a combination of log and canvas walls with a canvas roof. The canvas was treated with a flame resistant coating that ensured the complete structure did not ignite and burn, but significant damage was incurred.
[Submitted by Bill Holda, Acting Chief Ranger]”

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thin line of various colors of rocks
In late summer 2021, a cell phone tower was put in the nearby 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 and tent village to the campground:

thin line of various colors of rocks

LOGISTICS:

When you get there, or at least before you go to sleep, stand on the road by your tent cabin and figure out where the nearest restroom is. In the dark, even with a flashlight or headlamp, finding your way there could leave you lost or at least a bit frustrated.

The restroom is between which other tents / buildings?

Which side of the street as you approach it from your tent cabin?

Which end is the men’s restroom and which end the women’s?

Which part of the side / end is the entrance?

What route should you take to miss the large puddles that could need wading through if it rains much more?

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You could bring pages from an old calendar with pictures you like to put up over the rules lists on the tent cabin wall so you don’t have to find yourself reading the rules again and again. Or maybe just hang a t-shirt with a logo you like over the you-should-not-remove-these rules mini-posters.

The tent cabins are not carpeted. An old towel or two to spread on the floor or a small rug could make putting your feet on the floor when you wake up more comfortable.

The tent cabins do not provide any towels, or even washcloths. If you need a washcloth and/or a big, thick, fluffy towel or two or three, bring them.

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There are few street lights and your cell phone will not function as a flashlight long enough or bright enough after dark, so you must have a flashlight (electric torch) and/or head lamp. See advice on choosing one.

If you decide to bring a lantern for out on the picnic table, your lantern mantle may have disintegrated during transport to the park. It’s easier to put on a lantern mantle in the daylight. At least find your lantern and flashlight before it gets dark.

In the evening, plan ahead for the next morning. Pack your day pack the night before (or a large backpack that will fit everything you’ll need to bring). (Except put the last of the food-scented trash you have collected, the lunch and trail snacks, sunscreen/chapstick, etc. in the bearbox overnight.) A list of what you might want to pack is at the For A Hike section of the summer Camping equipment checklist

Take out down-filled sleeping bags and fluff them up preferably at least a half hour before bedtime.
Be certain down-filled sleeping bags, vests, jackets, etc. never get wet –wet down is useless.

Take the hair brush or comb and mirror out of the toiletries / shower kit and leave your shower kit in the bear box, not the tent or the car. The mint toothpaste and Caribbean sunscreen really smell like food to the animals.

At bedtime double check your daypack and jacket/pants pockets and get the candybars and snacks into the bearbox:

snow bearbox 2005 two: snow bearbox 2005 five: snow 2005 bearbox one:

Is your inner layer of clothes really sweaty? If so, put a dry set in your sleeping bag to change into, especially socks.

If it has been raining you will also want a cloth to wipe moisture off rain jackets, and maybe a brand new sponge with no scent to it or one of those small super-towels that soak up a lot of water to mop up water from the tent cabin floor.

(Don’t sit on your sleeping bag or even the edge of the bed with wet clothes on.)

! ! ! ! Tent walls are thin. You can wake up everybody in the vicinity ! ! ! ! when you want to get into your car and you use the keyless (remote) door opener and the car makes the usual loud beep. People don’t think to just use the key to open the door or don’t know that if you look in the owner’s manual you can find a way to disable the beep. On De Anza Outdoor Club trips you are required to either disable the beep or not use the remote (remove it from your key chain during the trip)

Some vehicles have a beep activated whenever you open the trunk, that can’t be easily disabled. Every time the trunk is opened it beeps and it will wake up people. If your vehicle has this function, either look in the owner’s manual for info on how to disable the beep or take it to the dealer and get it done.

Grand Teton all-year resident Ravens are bigger than a Crow you might see at home. Ravens are 24 inches long and have a wingspan of 53 inches, Crows are 17.5 inches long and have a wingspan of 39 inches).

raven

Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of Crows and Ravens

Not just bears, but also Ravens want to get into your gear, and some have figured out how to get into day packs (they can unzip or unfasten many different kinds of buckles and latches) or . . . a bag tied onto a motorcycle:

raven pecking at a bag on a motorcycle

I suggest you stay with gear you tied on to your vehicle or in an open truck bed until it can get stored properly from animals / birds.
Ravens will take any food you leave unattended on a picnic table. Keeping food within arm’s reach is a wise idea at each of the picnic areas, hotels and campgrounds.

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There is a picnic area/ swim beach
with great sunset views right down the road at lakeside with restrooms and plenty of picnic tables.

picnic tables

one picnic table in shade, others in full sun

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.

aerial photo of road and long beach

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See more about Colter Bay, which has maps of locations various facilities and their descriptions.

map with facilities marked on it

Take a look at
Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park.

Colter Bay campground.

or other Grand Teton National park overnight accommodations.

 

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cell phone with app showing
An app for Grand Teton National Park info (best downloaded before you get there when you can find reliable internet) with info about visitor centers, historic places, natural features, and services throughout the park.
“Even without cellular service, the app will be able to share your location on the map and bring up all site content.”
https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/nps-grand-teton-app.htm

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We tell people on our college trips to Grand Teton National Park to fill their gas tank whenever they are in Jackson, Wyoming, as the lowest cost gas stations are in town and the prices almost always get higher the further you go into Grand Teton park. See a map of gas stations in Grand Teton National Park and gas costs at some of them over the years.

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When you are about to leave, check your cabin area for microtrash
—look for bandages, twist ties, fruit peels, bits of wrappers, stray potato chips, torn corners of candy bar wrappers and power bars, plastic bottle caps, bits of G.O.R.P. etc.

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nps drawing bears: drawing of a black bear and a grizzly for comparisonWas that a black bear or a grizzly, a coyote or a wolf or a fox we just saw?

NPS photo Yellowstone wildlife montage Robert Hynes 560 pxls: Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons has photos and comparisons of beavers, squirrels, pika, marmot, elk, moose, bison, fox, coyote, wolf, golden-mantled ground squirrel, chipmunk, Red Squirrel (also known as) Chickaree, Unita Ground squirrels, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion (cougar), pine marten, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, grizzly and black bears, tundra swan, trumpeter swan, adult and juvenile Bald Eagles.

 

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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
https://www.audubon.org/climate/national-parks/grand-teton-national-park

hawk flying

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NPS photo biking multi-use path: various cyclists on pathway with mountains in backgroundnps photo bike path and peaks: cyclist approaching on paved bike path with peaks in backgroundIt is safer to enjoy a bike ride on a designated bike/roller blade/walk path than on the road with drivers looking at scenery instead of you on your bike, and there is am 8 mile long pathway from the Moose Visitor Center (please walk your bike in the parking lot) to South Jenny Lake. Pets (except guide dogs) are prohibited and the pathway is closed from dusk to dawn for wildlife and public safety. Grand Tetons biking

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Grand Teton National Park boat launch access has maps and answers to questions:

When do Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Lake boat ramps open and close?
Where and how long can I park my boat trailer in Grand Teton National Park?
Can I bring my dog on my boat in Grand Teton National park?

and photos, details & maps about marinas and/or free boat launch ramps at Leeks Marina, Colter Bay, Jackson Lake Dam, Snake River Launch to Pacific Creek Landing, Snake River Launch and take out, Signal Mountain Lodge, and a String Lake launch ramp for non-motorized, hand carried boats

as well as details and maps of boat-in camping on Jackson Lake.
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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
Grand Teton National park restaurants has links to menus and links to info about restaurants in Jackson, Wyoming.

Grand Teton National Park
al fresco dining:

 

 


Trails from the Colter Bay tent cabins area
:

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

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

Download a Colter Bay Lakeshore trail map at:
https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/colterlakeshore.htm

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

 

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