Boondocking at the Grand Teton View
What is Boondocking?
If you’re not familiar with the term Boondocking, it’s to camp without hookups. To be totally reliant on your RV to provide everything you need on its own. It’s also commonly called dry camping.
It’s total modern-day freedom to many people. There’s a great feeling of adventure when you’re heading off the grid to live for a week in some remote location that you’ve never been. Odds are good you’ll run into some type of challenge and have to navigate through it in a super scenic location. That’s healthy for our minds and more importantly for our spirit.
Most RVs are equipped with everything you need to enjoy a comfortable experience while you’re in the middle of nowhere. Which means you can enjoy all the benefits of being in nature and hiking through the forest, but still be able to Netflix movies and relax at the end of the day.
In our opinion Boondocking is one of the greatest things of RVing.
Challenges of Boondocking
It’s all relative to where you’re circumstances but if you’re going to be off the grid there are a few things we’ve learned about making sure we’re prepared to maximize our enjoyment.
Load Up On Supplies
We have a large pantry in our RV (I mean LARGE). We make sure the pantry and the fridge are stocked up as many of the boondocking areas are going to be remote. That means prices may be inflated, selection and freshness are limited and most important is that you’re spending less time grocery shopping instead of hiking!
Danielle makes an amazing home made pizza in the RV!
Our 5th wheel is a beast. It consumes a lot more energy to keep things running and regulated than most RVs on the market. Plus we have a baby so it’s much more important to regulate the temperature. That doesn’t limit us, it just means we need to have enough fuel to run the generator.
It uses regular gas and when we are boondocking we fill the generator tank AND we have our own fuel filling station built into the Toy Hauler! That means if you’re taking your 4 wheeler out deep into the wilderness you can just pull up and refuel it. In our case, we use the fuel station to refill the generator fuel.
With the information readily available on the internet not only can you find out about amazing boondocking locations on great websites like freecampsites.net and Campendium, but often you can get very detailed information.
This won’t be an issue for everyone but with a rig our size we need to make sure that we’ll fit. We also need to make sure we have cell phone service to be able to get wifi and work.
We needed a backup plan in case we arrived at this boondocking location and it was full or for whatever reason, it didn’t work out for us. We’re not a simple Class B Van and we have a baby, gotta be prepared to set the trip up for success.
Our biggest factor controlling how long we can stay in one spot off the grid is our water usage. We have a large freshwater tank but there are a few things we do to conserve water while we’re boondocking.
We drinks a lot of water in our family. While we Boondock rather than using the water from our fresh tank we’ll buy gallons or water bottles to reserve the water in our tank.
Avoid Dirty Dishes
Paper plates and red cups are what we use when we’re boondocking to avoid having to wash dishes. We also will often have pre-cooked meals in the freezer that we can pull out to use vs cooking while we’re boondocking. Although we do cook off the grid, we limit it strictly to avoid washing dishes as often as we normally do.
When we bought our Road Warrior we had the water heater ripped out and had an instant hot water unit put in. It allows Danielle to take 45-minute showers (I’m not kidding). When we’re boondocking, however, we take very quick showers. Water off when lathering on soap type of showers.
The Drive to The Tetons
We left the absolutely stunning Alabama Hills to head north towards the Tetons. We were flexible with our schedule but ended up staying for a week or so in the Sierra’s. Primarily we stayed at world famous Mono Lake.
This is another area that you’re able to Boondock at for I believe 7 or 14 days. We had the ENTIRE place to ourselves during our stay. There are already established Boondocking areas and we were easily able to fit our 44ft 5th wheel. Check out this view we had of MONO LAKE!!! Bucket List Location for sure!
I enjoyed getting up early and hiking the Tufas. This is such a special and unique place.
Danielle really enjoyed us taking trips just down the road to beautiful June Lake. There is a campground here that we’ve stayed at in the past, but this time since we wanted to stay at Mono Lake we just took day trips here.
Once we were on the road towards the Tetons we were excited, but I knew it was going to be big mountain driving and that always is on the back of my mind when pulling this massive rig down the road. It turns out the mountain pass coming in was the wildest we’ve been on so far.
The road coming into Jackson Wyoming was at a 9% grade coming down this mountain!
We were in 1st and 2nd gear the entire time trying to keep this monster from lurching forward down the steep slope. Luckily, the truck and the RV handled it with ease. One thing is for sure, I’m glad I just had my brakes on the truck replaced a few weeks earlier after Death Valley…
The Campsite – Grand Teton View
This has to be one of the top Boondocking spots in the world. You have a chance to live temporarily inside of a National Park. There’s a pocket of National Forest land which allows Boondocking for up to 14 days FOR FREE!
Seriously if you’re looking to be in perfect position to explore The Tetons, a quick day trip to Yellowstone, AND be in a convenient yet stunning site; this is for you!
Plan the Time of Year Carefully
You’re most likely not going to want to camp here in the winter. I’m sure the fall foliage is incredible but in the spring while we were here the flowers were popping out everywhere.
Some of the locals have talked about how there has been so much snow in the mountain passes to get into Jackson Hole and The Tetons that the entire town has been trapped for almost a week. Might not be a good idea to try to Boondock here in the winter, although maybe it is… If you’ve done it let us know in the comments.
Wildlife is Plentiful Here
There are A LOT of Elk running around in the Tetons. We saw multiple large herds all over, even near the RV. It’s astounding to me how fast they move. They are so powerful.
Always fun to watch, the Bison were plentiful in this area also. I’m not sure what’s more exciting; watching these creatures OR watching the tourists who never go into nature and think these beasts are calm and gentle when you get close to them. I watch them creep closer and closer just waiting for an attack…
Directly up the mountain on the forest road is a very rough yet rewarding road. Only come up here if you have high ground clearance as there are many large rocks. Once you get to the top it opens up to your own outdoor paradise.
At the top, you’ll find a few truck camper sites. I would NOT recommend tent camping out here. Not only are there warnings posted but I spoke with a ranger one day and he said there are so many Bear up there that he wouldn’t even go walking through that area.
The roads up top were a blast to explore this beautiful scenery on and I had the entire area for miles all by myself. This Chevy has been on a lot of backroads over the past few years. There were quite a few Antelope frolicking around in the field the kept an eye on me.
RV Roadside Assistance for a Flat Tire
We arrived at the Boondocking area after dark. Out of respect for other campers and also just good camping etiquette we waited till the morning to set up. I also like to verify that this is the site we’re going to be staying in, gotta keep my eye open for a better site…
So I woke up early and headed outside to scope out the scene in the light when I noticed that WE HAD A FLAT! I hoped it wasn’t a big deal, this was our first time dealing with a flat tire on our RV. Turns out, the roadside assistance worked out perfectly. They sent someone from Jackson WY and he was there within the hour. Swapped it out, free out of pocket and BAM we’re good to go.
We ended up staying in the same site because just LOOK AT THAT VIEW! Although when you’re camping at high elevation the view can change in a moments notice up in the mountains and we frequently would have snow storms come in, dump on us and then it would warm right up the next day and look like summer again.
Visiting National Park Lodges
Lodges are great places to stop in at while traveling in a National Park. They often have excursions for you to take, tours, restaurants, and great information about the park. It’s also often a great way to meet and spend time with like minded people in front of the fire with a warm or cold beverage.
The lodge also has a few restaurants for you to eat at. There is a cafe style large area to eat and a more restaurant style. No matter what you do at the lodge, you’ll enjoy the view!
Walking Around at Mormon Row
This is a must visit if you’re going to be visiting the Grand Tetons and Jackson, WY.
Settlers came here and set up shop in the late 1800s. It gives a beautiful perspective of the mountains, lets you soak up some history, and odds are good while you’re out here you’ll see some bison!
This spot is extremely scenic. In fact, many people consider it as one of the most scenic spots in the world. I’d have to agree and my photo does NOT do this place justice.
There was a group of photographers and a few other random people but for the most part, I was alone with my thoughts and the animals that were around me. I ran into a herd of Elk on the trail as the mist was coming off the water and the sun was lighting up the peak of Grand Teton.
Scenic Date in the National Park
Looking to spice up your relationship? Nothing sets the tone of a great and romantic evening like relaxing with a view like this one with your significant other!
Oxbow Bend is one of the most photographed spots in the Tetons. It’s beautiful and VERY convenient to pull off on your way to Yellowstone.
A Day Trip to Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is super close and super amazing. Just a few hours drive away and you’re sitting on a bench having a snack while watching Bison hangout near geysers. We had an incredible day exploring some of the hot spots of the park. We’ve done a good job over the years of avoiding crowds by both going in the offseason and also utilizing slow times, like Sunrise.
Make sure you check out the conditions at higher elevations. We hit a few areas that were fairly sketchy with the snow coming down. In fact, while we were eating at one of the Lodges they warned us that there is a chance they could shut that road down until it’s cleared, so we headed back. It was getting close to sunset anyways and time to head back to the comfort of our Heartland Road Warrior.