Camping at "The Observatory"

Wyoming The Observatory (Bridger-Teton National Forest)

Added by Christina Adele Warburg

  • Scenic views of the Tetons and the Snake River Valley
  • Free camping
  • Secluded campsites

Ah...the Observatory. This is not its actual name, but the nickname it has earned over many years of use by the seasonal employees. This is an amazing site to camp at, just on the edge of the Bridger-Teton forest right outside of the park. This area overlooks the entire valley and Teton range. There are also plenty of spots within the immediate vicinity to either hike, mountain bike, or run.

To get there you turn on the forest road directly across from Cunningham Cabin. When the road forks, choose the left one and from there, pick a site. Many offer amazing views. Since it is in the national forest, it's free to camp here, but you want to check to see if there are any current fire restrictions before you start a fire. Also, although there are no bear boxes, make sure to properly store your food as they are definitely still present.

The sunsets from here are spectacular, the stargazing unmatched, and sunrises like no other. Also, there is a wolf den near here, but you can often hear them howling into the night. It is a sound you aren't likely to hear elsewhere. With amazing views and unique wildlife experiences, you will not regret camping here.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleep Pad
  • Water
  • Food
  • Camp Cooking Supplies
  • Warm Clothing
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn




Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

2 days ago

Unbeatable Views

This is, without a doubt, the best place I have ever camped. You get incredible panoramic views of the Tetons, and it is free. It's a good place to watch sunrise and sunset. The dirt road up is easily doable; we made it up with no problem in a little Toyota Corolla despite the road being a little muddy.

2 days ago

about 2 months ago

One of the best places I've ever camped.

Not only was the view stunning, but the people I met here were amazing. They fed me hamburgers and hot dogs and even gave me a Keurig Machine. So kind. I made it up to this road in my Honda Insight, so if I can do it, you can do it. Word of warning: Read the fire warnings!!! They have planes that fly around in high fire season and spot fires. The forest service came up while we were there to make sure we weren't burning anything.

about 2 months ago

2 months ago

Best Campite Ever!

We used this campsite for about 5 days. We could get our minivan most of the way up to the site. The last bit of the road is insanely steep and insanely washboarded. There is a flat part where we parked and just carried our gear up to the site. AMAZING VIEW.

2 months ago

about 1 year ago

One of the best in WY

I have been going to this site for nearly 10 years, and it truly is one of the best in all of WY! It's frequently occupied, but if you can snag it, you won't be sorry. the views are unparalleled and it's free!

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

This place saved us. We got into The Grand Teton Park late and needed a place to set up camp. We found this little gem just outside of the park. When we woke up in the morning, we were amazed at the views that we weren't able to see on our night drive in. It gets the name "The Observatory" for a good reason. With views of the Tetons and several hiking trails this spot is a must.

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

This was such an awesome campground!! Incredible views, away from the crowds, so much fun. Only problem we had was the mosquitos were insane since we've had all this rain, but once we made a fire they almost completely disappeared. So thankful that this was on here!

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

This place is incredible. The only problem with it is that it has completely spoiled me - nothing can compare to the views from this perfect spot overlooking the valley with a full panamoric view of the Tetons. Thanks so much for the tip!

over 1 year ago

Added by Christina Adele Warburg

Grand Teton and Yosemite Park Ranger. Lover of Hot Cheetos and Dresses. Also, mountains.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to Lake of the Crags

Wyoming / Jenny Lake Trailhead

The unmarked trek up to Lake of the Crags is a hidden gem in Grand Teton National Park, unknown or untried by many.

Elias King
3 Saves

Backpack the Medicine Bow Peak Trail in the Snowy Range Mountains

Wyoming / Lake Marie Trailhead

Take the Snowy Range Scenic Byway to Lake Marie trail head. Lake Marie trail head is the farthest west trailhead and parking area in the immediate Snowy Range Area.  Parking in the lot there.

Grant Whitty
18 Saves

Camp on Leigh Lake

Wyoming / String Lake Trailhead, WY

Because it's only accessible by canoe, kayak, or foot, the 8 Leigh Lake campsites have a solitary backcountry feel to them while providing all the necessities for an enjoyable night under Mt.

Clare Healy
14 Saves