Grand Tetons trip cost

The 2017 De Anza Outdoor Club expedition to Grand Teton National Park is planned for about August 14 to September 2 (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.

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.

(2016 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 $18.50 / $20 an hour, some with a 2 hour minimum.)

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 will get fewer kayaking experiences. 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, and 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).


Compare our trip costs below to a few local outfitters who offer (2015 prices)

    a 2 day/1 night kayak trip for $479.

Two places offered a group five hour tour for $130 per person. (Plus the park entrance fee). A private full day tour was $300 each for up to 2 people. Another place said a full day group tour was $190 (not including park entrance fee, lunch or tour guide gratuity).


The 2017 trip cost will be updated closer to the trip. The 2016 trip cost paid to the club was: $175 club members and $195 other students, spent on:

One 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 2016). (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.) No refunds if you do not join us that day.

One brunch eaten together after early morning kayaking or after… (No refund if you do not get up and kayak/eat with the group that morning.)

For the Grand Teton park permits ($10 non-motorized, including canoes, kayaks, drift boats and SUPs, $40 motorized) and Wyoming annual Aquatic Invasive Species decals ($15 each for non-motorized boats owned by non-residents for our kayaks. (No refunds if you do not kayak with us, but if you won’t kayak with us, why are you going on this trip?)

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, the club will provide: kayaks, paddles, drybags, and lifejackets (which must be worn and strapped 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 need to rent craft.

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 these 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 day we choose to do the work, your share will go for a larger credit for someone else to do the work.

NO REFUNDS for no-shows or partial participation.

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 .

Bear spray is cheaper in town than in the park (previous years under $60) and the club owns some bear spray, but with a large group some people will need to buy their own.

Bear spray in 2012 was $49.99 at the Grand Teton park visitor center, $39.99 at the Ace hardware in town. In July 2014 the Kmart had the lowest cost bear spray, on sale at $35 but it was $65 at a store in the park.

People should budget for more breakfast buffets after very early morning sightseeing or kayaking, as these have been popular. 2016 at the low cost restaurant: $15 + tax/gratuity (an 18% gratuity is charged when we sit together in a big group). $28 + tax/gratuity at the nicest brunch.

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, (2016) $30 for seven days (only one week and most people go on this trip for more than one week) in Grand Teton and $50 for Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks) or $60 annual Grand Teton pass. OR better yet, find someone to carpool with who already has a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass or buy one (in 2016 expected to be $80 for a year) if you will go to both parks 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 $10.

(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.

Also budget for club equipment rental deposits (which take a while to get returned) and film developing and printing.

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 park. July 2014 found the Maverik in town with $3.75 for mid-grade 87 octane gas (2 cents cheaper with their card) and the stations near Colter Bay and at Jackson Lake Lodge at $4.30. Sept. 2016 found the Maverik at $2.39.9, minus 2 cents with your Maverik card. At Colter Bay $2.48.9 and at Dornan’s at Moose, $2.59.9.

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 on the kayak trailer or in the gear hauler 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: (2016) $25 per night (6 people, 2 vehicles or one motorhome, 2 tents max.) = $4.17 per person each night, ($13 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 (2016) $11 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, and depending on group size, allow fewer vehicles per the number of people (as per as phone conversation in April 2010; no details were available at either the park or the concessioneer webpages any recent year we have looked). At Colter Bay, for example, there are 11 group campsites that will hold 10 to as many as 100 people (but the reservations agent could not tell me how many of each kind). One she did find could hold minimum 10 to 25 people, and 5 vehicles. (2016) non-refundable booking fee $29 plus $7 per person per night. For one night of group camping for 12 people this equals $113. For two family campsites for the same 12 people it would be $50.

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 campground there is a beach with a much better view than the campsites have, parking, picnic tables, fire rings and restrooms.

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


Club members can rent tents, insulated sleeping pads, dining canopies, stoves, lanterns, backpacks, etc. with fully refundable cleaning and late fees.

Bring your own bike and/or fishing gear.

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

Budget $4.50 per shower (5 people same day/time $13) at the Colter Bay shower house/launderette (2015 price).

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 ($25-45?) and a few really nice buffet breakfasts ($28+).


Split the cost of a large cabin:

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.

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, trying out a climbing gym 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 June 2015, an August 2015 round trip from SF/SJ/Oakland to Salt Lake was going for $173 to $182 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 (2015 Delta as much as $1,042 first class) and rent a car.

Rent a Harley for $150 for 24 hours.

Eat out most of the time, including at least one exceptional dinner ($100 – 400?) and a few nice buffet breakfasts ($28 +).

Split the cost of a two bedroom one bath cabin between two people (2016 $249 plus taxes = $125+ 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.

White water rafting (8 miles…$60 +/-, 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) 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 $43-$75 (2016), Jackson Lake dinner cruise $65 (2016), 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, $950 to start.

A two day yoga / climbing lesson for $495.

A four day private Grand Teton ascent, no experience necessary $1780.

Do you think you can get by without guided fly fishing ($495 for a day)?

or a 4-5 hour evening boat ride with a ‘five star dinner and wine’ for two people starting at $700?


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 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 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