John D. Rockefeller was a champion for the iconic Teton range and adventurers today can pay him a solid for spearheading preservation efforts for what is now Grand Teton National Park. Home to some of the most easily recognizable peaks in America, this park is essentially a snow-dusted paradise for everyone from the hardcore mountaineers or the more mellow wildlife-watchers.
While there are plenty of camp sites inside the park, itself, we recommend ditching them in favor of a place so overcome by beauty it’s almost impossible to imagine until you’re standing right there: Shadow Mountain.
Located within the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Shadow Mountain offers a series of free camp sites overlooking the Tetons and the expansive Snake River Valley – some of the best views in the area, if you ask us. A winding (and relatively steep) gravel road will take you past the various camp spots. Just take your pick.
After a drive up through quaking aspens (punctuated by a wildlife sighting or two), the trees will thin revealing the jagged peaks that make the area so famous. The route crests Shadow Mountain about three-and-a-half miles up. If possible, stake your spot up here early, as these spots fill up the fastest.
Once you’ve arrived, light a fire (only in the camp rings provided), pour yourself a cold one, then sit back, relax and enjoy the views of the Tetons sitting almost in your lap.
Oh, and don’t forget to send a subtle thank you to good ol’ JD for making this experience possible.