Grand Teton National Park is by far one of the most epic preserved wildlife areas in the country. It appears that many other vanners would agree; we had been on the road for almost two months visiting various national parks and had not encountered nearly as many people living out of their vans as we saw there. It almost felt like an unofficial van meet-up. But with views like this, I’m sure you can understand why so many people yearn to make a temporary home out of this place.
I can’t tell you how to do the Tetons the right way, because everyone has a different reason for visiting. Some go for the excellent mountain climbing opportunities, others for the hikes to pristine alpine lakes, while some are content with merely taking the scenic drive from one end of the park to the other. We personally are suckers for mountain lakes so we spent most of our time in the park day hiking.
First we visited Jenny Lake, the second largest body of water in the park. This wasn’t much of a hike as there are a couple of parking lots that lead to the perimeter of the lake where you’re almost guaranteed the chance to find a nice, secluded area. The water is crystal clear and super refreshing.
A trail that’s definitely worth checking out is the one to Leigh Lake. First you pass by the busier String Lake, which is a popular place for kayakers and paddle boarders. The water doesn’t get much deeper than two feet so it reflects this intense green color that you’ll have a hard time looking away from. You’ll soon arrive at Leigh Lake and there are several unofficial trails that you can take down to the water. This lake is more private (we only saw a few people the entire time we were there) and it gets deep enough to swim in. We spent a good portion of the day here soaking up the sun and the views. We also encountered a black bear along the trail eating berries!
Taggart Lake is another one of our favorites. It’s a lot colder than the other lakes but taking a dip feels really nice after the uphill hike to get there!
The free camp spot we found was honestly one of the best parts though. It’s called Upper Teton View and you can easily find it with a quick google search. The groundskeeper there let us in on a little secret: site #27 is the best one! It’s the furthest one so people hardly ever find it, but it has the most incredible, unobstructed views of the mountains and even a little bit of cell service.
We were lucky enough to catch two double rainbows two days in a row there! Maybe if you stay there you’ll get lucky too…
Location: Grand Teton National Park