This is the 2nd time we landed in this specific area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. A convenient dispersed camping area near Grand Tetons National Park.
All the forest camping near the park is in designated sites only. At Toppings Lake there are 27 sites and a few of them having 2 or more sites marked; i.e., 18A and 18B.
There’s a lower section that is completely flat and you share the space with up to a dozen other campers. This is also where a newer pit toilet has been installed. The road up is narrow and curvy and it is posted that rigs longer than 25′ should not proceed.
However, if there’s no opposing traffic, large 5th wheels can be towed up to the north/left of the fork just past the pit toilet area. We saw more than 1 class A and one 5th wheels up in the 2nd section of flat camping.
Our Site #20
Is about the 4th turnout and is setup back a ways from the main forest road. It was a nice spot and mostly quiet. Each site is for 1 party. However, there are a few large sites such as this one, giving a party of multiple campers/trailers space together.
- GPS: 43.76402, -110.54316 (site #20)
- Easy to locate: Yes; Toppings Lake Road is marked off of HWY 191
- Public Land: Yes
- Cell: Varies – We had no cell or LTE router coverage at an earlier site, but this site had T-Mobile Phone/SMS & AT&T LTE Data (using our router/antenna). A camper just a little further up, had Verizon working well.
- Crowded: In mid June we found this not crowded. In fact many sites emptied out daily and some nights they all were occupied by dark.
- Stay Limits: 5 days max which is the same for all the dispersed areas near the park
- Buggy: mid June and the bugs were just surfacing
- Clean: yes, pretty clean clean
- Amenities: Pit Toilet only at the entrance
- Would we stay here again: Yes
June was Great Time to Stay
The weather was a mix of cold rainy days and pleasant sunny days. It wasn’t ideal most of our stay but we found weather breaks for hiking.
This time of year also helped with the bugs. We did start to see mosquitos in the evening which kept us indoors more than I wished. Our previous stay, 3 years ago was later in the summer and very buggy. Flies as bad as mosquitos. I’ll trade the bugs, especially the biting ones, for weather anytime.
New Forest Service Volunteers
The area is also now monitored by volunteers who are camping down at the entrance. Our interaction with them was a little strained. They drove in a quad making rounds to check up on the campsites. Perhaps it’s a daily check; we saw them circle us twice. They drove right up to the truck, circling the camper right past the open hatch and front door. The first time, we had no idea who they were and why someone would be rude enough to drive an ATV so close to us. The second time, they stopped when we approached and identified themselves.
On one hand, having someone care and patrol the sites is nice. There are way too many busy camp areas that are being trashed and this is definitely not one of those. I felt the other campers we met were all respectful of each other and the area. On the otherhand, we (especially me) was not comfortable with their close-to-the-truck drive by. That left me feeling the volunteers were overbearing on top of caring and showed little respect for your privacy or space just because we are in a public space.
I thanked them for volunteering and attempted to ease the strain, but they were not happy. I suspect they’ll have a tough summer. I know we’re one of the good guys out there, taking care of the areas we visit but. There’s many folks that don’t know how to shovel their waste, don’t know burning pallets for camp fires is destructive/dangerous, leave broken glass and metal bottle tops around. I hope they continue to do good and find a way to engage hospitibly. Everyone will win.
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