When most people consider exploring Wyoming’s natural wonders, they think of Yellowstone. But did you know Wyoming has so much more to explore, including some truly incredible national forests?
Here’s everything you need to know before heading out on a Bridger-Teton National Forest camping trip!
What to Expect in Bridger-Teton National Forest
Before your Bridger-Teton National Forest camping trip, you’ll want to make sure you gather the proper permits and licenses, such as:
- A hunting license
- A “floating” permit for groups larger than 15 planning to float down the Snake River
There are six ranger districts in the forest, each with access to different activities:
- Kemmerer Ranger District: This was once an incredibly popular area for fur trapping. Nowadays, it’s better known for its watersheds and, surprisingly, music festivals! You can attend either “Fossil Fest” or “Oyster Ridge Music Festival” if you brave the summer heat to visit in July!
- Big Piney: Hosts a good portion of Bridger-Teton National Forest’s mountains.
- Greys River: The most popular activity in Greys River is to float down the Snake River. You can view the stunning Snake River Canyon from unique blow-up boats!
- Jackson: If you’re a winter camper hoping to ski your heart out, Jackson is the ranger district for you. There’s an area in this district dubbed “Greater Snow King,” and it lives up to the name!
- Blackrock: If you want to consolidate your trip, make your way to Blackrock Ranger District! The edges of this district bump up against both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. If you stay here, you’ll be able to easily reach all three!
- Pinedale: Home to the Highline Trail, where those hoping to snatch a peek at the elusive moose will want to go. Keep your eyes peeled–many species call this area of the forest home, including moose…and bears!
Camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest
What To Consider Before Booking
One thing to keep in mind before your Bridger-Teton National Forest camping trip is that this forest is home to an abundance of grizzly and black bears. This population has resulted in certain rules and restrictions surrounding food storage in the national forest.
You must follow these restrictions, even if you’re camping in a developed campground. Because of this, you’ll want to invest in bear-proof storage containers for your food, as well as precautionary products such as bear spray.
Follow bear safety principles as well as “Leave No Trace” principles. Memorize them carefully to avoid ending up in any dangerous situations. The last thing you want is to wake up to a hungry bear trying to pay your tent a visit!
You’ll also want to check the status of fire restrictions in the forest before you visit. You are usually allowed to have campfires while camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest, but it’s best to stay apprised of the current rules.
Another important thing to note: none of the campgrounds in the forest accept reservations. The only sites that can be reserved are meant for group camping. All others operate under first-come, first-served rules!
Best Season to Visit
It’s best to plan your Bridger-Teton National Forest camping trip in the summer. Camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest in the winter—or even autumn—is not advised. The weather gets cold fast, and freezing temperatures hit early in Wyoming!
Even early spring and early autumn can be a bit risky unless you’re prepared for cold temperatures. It’s not recommended to plan your trip any later than September or any earlier than May.
Summer in Wyoming can get hot and humid, so come prepared to sweat. To avoid the hottest weather, June might be your best bet for a pleasant trip.
Best Spots for Camping
Turpin Meadow Campground in Blackrock Ranger District is the best place for RV camping. There are four pull-through sites available, but again, these are first come, first-served.
The best place for group camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest is the Cottonwood Lake Group Campground in Greys River Ranger District. This group campground only has room for up to 25 people.
Remote (often referred to as “dispersed”) camping is allowed only in certain parts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Blackrock, Jackson, and Kemmerer ranger districts all offer dispersed camping areas.
As mentioned above, if you choose to remote camp, you are required to obey food storage orders for bear safety.
Things to Do
This national forest is home to plenty of trails you can hike, whether you’re hiking for the very first time or are well on your way to expert status!
- Periodic Spring Trail
- Sink or Swim Loop
- Bailey Lake Trail
- Long Lake Trail
- Strawberry Creek Trail
- Rainbow Lakes Loop
- Cedar Basin Trail
- Breccia Peak
All routes are dog-friendly, though the majority of these trails require them to be leashed.
Long Lake Trail and Breccia Peak allow you to let your dogs off their leashes, but only on certain portions of the trails.
Horseback Riding and Mountain Biking
Prefer to take on the trails in alternative ways? There are trails you can explore on horseback or mountain bike in every ranger district!
Fishing and Hunting
Though you will need a license to hunt while camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest, you don’t need one to fish! You’re allowed to fish anywhere in the forest. Just make sure you bring the equipment you need!
If you plan to hunt big game on your Bridger-Teton National Forest camping trip, and you aren’t a resident of Wyoming, you’ll need a “resident guide” to accompany you. They will also need a special license.
If you choose to take on the challenge of winter camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest, good news! You’ll have plenty of activities to take part in. Though you may not be heading out to boat or fish, there are quite a few opportunities for winter recreation.
Bridger-Teton National Forest camping puts you in the vicinity of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling opportunities. You can ski and snowmobile in Big Piney, Jackson, Kemmerer, and Pinedale Ranger Districts; you can snowmobile in all six districts.
When camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest, you need to beware of bears!
As mentioned earlier, grizzlies and black bears wander this forest, and you don’t want to attract one of them to your campsite. Always carry bear spray with you while hiking, and keep all food stored safely. Do not discard food scraps or trash along the trail or around your campsite.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to approach a bear, even a cub that appears to be alone. Its mother is likely nearby. Bear mothers are extremely protective of their young. If you feel a cub is in danger, you can contact a ranger and let them know about the situation.
If you come face to face with a bear, you should speak calmly and evenly while moving your arms in steady, slow movements. Sudden moves or loud, shrill noises could trigger the bear’s hunting instinct. You should ease yourself away from the bear to the side, not forward or backward.
Approaching could cause aggression; retreating could cause it to start hunting. If you do find yourself under attack by a bear, you need to remember that grizzlies and black bears should be dealt with differently.
If you’re attacked by a grizzly, your best chance is to play dead. However, you should absolutely not play dead if a black bear attacks; instead, try your best to escape to shelter. Do not climb trees to escape a bear attack!
Though grizzlies aren’t as adept at climbing as black bears, both species are capable of pursuing you up a tree. If you climb a tree and are followed by the attacking bear, you’ll have nowhere to go.
Fishing enthusiasts can expect to see quite a few different fish on their lines, including several different types of trout. The Snake River is the best place to fish in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, so you can fish and float at the same location!
You Can’t Miss Bridger-Teton National Forest Camping!
Camping in Bridger-Teton National Forest is an adventure that can’t be missed! For more national forests to add to your camping bucket list, check out our national forest camping guides now!
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, and a writer for Apple Pie Media. Her bachelor’s in Creative Writing has fueled her love of storytelling in all its forms…including campfire stories!
With many years of both tent camping and RV camping under her belt, the ability to roll her ankle multiple times without actually spraining it while hiking, and a foolproof method for making the perfect s’more, Cassidy loves sharing different tips, tricks, and tools on Beyond the Tent to make your camping trip as simple and stress-free as possible.