Last day in the Tetons + free camping on Grassy Lake Rd

On our last day in the Tetons we took a boat ride across Jenny Lake and did a bit of hiking. Jenny Lake is a popular destination in the park due to its proximity to hiking trails and deep, deep glacial waters that attract boaters and fishermen alike. We took a short trip across on a small ferry boat.

Grassy Lake Rd, WY
The return ferry passing us on the lake

On the other side we made the short 1/2 mile journey to hidden falls. We’ve noticed that in the national parks short hikes like this tend to be very crowded. So crowded that sometimes I get immersed in people watching and forget to look at the scenery. This time  I was intrigued by the wide variety of footwear and clothing different people chose for a walk in the woods. Among the many, many families with hiking boots and walking sticks, I spotted a couple with leather vests and cowboy boots (she was slipping all over the place with those boots), a woman dressed for the country club complete with a tailored vest and knotted scarf, and a girl with a sundress and high heels- no joke. Eventually I stopped gawking at the people long enough to view the falls.

Grassy Lake Rd, WY
Hidden Falls

Next we traversed another 1/2 mile or so up to Inspiration Point where we had a view of the lake below and mountains in the distance.

Grassy Lake Rd, wy
Jenny Lake from above

We also trekked back into the woods aways in search of a view of Grand Teton, the highest mountain in the range. If you remember from the last post, the air was smoky from forest fires off in the west, but you can still see through the smoke just how tall this mountain is. Look at all the snow still up there in mid-August!

grassy lake rd, wy
The summit of Grand Teton Mtn

Instead of riding the ferry back across, we took the trail back down to the shore and hiked five miles around the lake. It was relatively flat and much less crowded than the previous trails. We hoped for some animal sightings, but no such luck.

Speaking of animals, the day before on our drive back from Jackson we spotted two moose. A big male with huge antlers munching on a bush in front of someone’s house near Teton Village, and a female enjoying a small road side lake. Neither picture is great, but I had to share.

grassy lake rd, wy
Munching moose

Our other wildlife sighting occurred right in our own campsite. When we checked into the campground I noticed a sign warning of a mule deer with a fawn that had been spotted in the campground and was known for showing aggressiveness against dogs. We never saw the fawn, but the mama showed up at our campsite one morning and hung around for a few hours. We were inside and Phin was out lounging on his bed (on his rope of course). I heard him bark and looked out to see a deer with funny large ears standing less than 10 feet from our door. Phin started to head in her direction and I quickly opened the door and pulled him inside. She was about twice his size and I wasn’t taking any chances. She wandered over to the campsite across the road and sniffed around for about an hour while people came from all over the campground to photograph her. A bit later she showed up in our backyard again and Tim got a good shot of her. Not sure if the fawn was nearby or what, but she certainly was not afraid of humans.

grassy lake rd, wy
Mule deer- look at those ears!

I promised last time to share a shot of our site at the Signal Mountain campground. Here I’m standing on the tent platform (where the deer was in the previous shot) and looking towards the road. As you can see the site is quite large with lots of trees for privacy between the sites.

grassy lake rd, wy
Large site at Signal Mtn Campground

The only issue was that an unusually tall concrete divider prevented us from backing into our site any farther. This meant there was just enough room to squeeze the truck sideways in front. That left only a very narrow path between the truck and hitch as the only way in and out of the site. It did provide us with lots of privacy though, since you couldn’t see into our site at all with the truck parked like this.

grassy lake rd, wy
The only way in & out of our site

Phineas’ dogginess once again prohibited him from coming on the hike with us, so later in the afternoon we took him for one last swim in Jackson Lake. I’ve already shared some photos of him in this lake with the mountains behind, but couldn’t resist posting a few more.

grassy lake rd, wy
Cute dog + beautiful water
grassy lake rd, wy
Happppppy!

Jackson Lake is a popular boating spot. We saw lots of motor boats and just a few sailboats.

grassy lake rd, wy
Wish that was us on that boat!

Our stay in the Tetons was amazing, but with so much more to see we had to move on. Sunday morning we packed up and headed north to a free camping spot on the shores of the Snake River. Between Teton National Park and Yellowstone there’s a roughly 10 mile stretch of road called the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. If you turn on Grassy Lake Rd and go past the Flagg Ranch village (where the camping is $64 a night!) there are a few clusters of sites on the river and in the woods. We snagged an awesome spot at the first area near the river. Although these are free sites, each one has it’s own picnic table, fire ring, and bear box. There was also a vault toilet and bear proof garbage cans. I saw a park service vehicle drive through a couple times, so I’m assuming this is who maintains these sites, but why they’re free I have no idea.

grassy lake rd, wy
Our site at Grassy Lake. We parked facing the river so our fire pit & picnic table our behind us, neither of which we used anyway.
grassy lake rd, wy
The Snake river with a smoky view of the Tetons in the distance

Phineas greatly enjoyed this river with it’s many rocks – no surprise here. In this pic he’s trying to convince Tim to throw yet another rock in the river for him.

grassy lake rd, wy
It’s a stand off
grassy lake rd, wy
Strolling on the shore- rock in mouth

We stayed at Grassy lake for two nights. One day we hung around the area all day while Tim got some work done, and the next day we left the airstream and drove up to Yellowstone to explore the park a bit. I have a ton of pictures to share from that day so instead of making this a ridiculously long post I am going to end now. A separate post with lots of pictures of geysers and other cool stuff will be coming very soon.

UPDATE May 2013 – Due to sequestration budget cuts, the National Park Service has closed the campsites on Grassy Lake Road to overnight use. PDF of nps closure notice

Camco Exterior Water Filter

A simple to install, affordable exterior water filter. We use it every time we fill our fresh water tank or hook-up to campground water. Removes sediments, odors, and bad taste.

$23.79

Every purchase helps support this blog

6 Responses to “Last day in the Tetons + free camping on Grassy Lake Rd”

Comments

  1. Leigh

    We’re planning to go through there next summer. How’s the cell/data service at your free campsite?

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Unfortunately, there was no internet or cell service. We have a Verizon data card and AT&T service on our phones- neither worked at all. We drove to the parking lot of nearby Flagg Ranch and found some WiFi but couldn’t access it. It’s too bad because we loved our spot, but only stayed two nights due to the lack of connectivity. A good stop though if you’re just looking for an overnight.

      Reply
  2. Ciera

    Amazing pictures. I was there in 2013 and I loved it. Especially no cell service. People were actually enjoying themselves and spending quality time with their families. WONDERFUL TIME.

    Reply
  3. Cooper

    Signal mountain lodge/campground is so nice! Fell in love with the place!

    Reply
  4. Barbara Rush

    Will going in the last days August and 1st. days of September for 6 days. Do you know if the campsites on Grassy Lake Road will be open during that time frame? Would you know anything about what the temperature might be at that time frame? I’ve been in the parks 6 times but not during that time of year.

    Reply
    • Amanda

      As far as I know, the sites on Grassy Lake Road have been re-opened. You might want to check with the forest service first though just to be sure. I believe the area is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. We haven’t visited that time of year, so I’m not sure about the weather.

      Reply

Leave a Reply