If you've ever road-tripped with your four legged friends, you may be aware that National Parks are usually quite restrictive on dog-friendly activities. Due to hazardous and delicate wildlife, it's understandable why they have strict rules. While Yellowstone and Grand Teton are a dream to visit and hike, dogs aren't allowed on any hiking trails or in back-country areas. That means you're limited to driving through, hopping out for photo ops, and maybe camping (if you can get a spot).
A little extra planning and prep will teach you that where there's a national park, there's often also a nation forest nearby, which are much less restrictive for canines AND camping. Our first night we stayed in between Yellowstone and the Tetons in a US Forest Service camping area, but as you can expect with well-known spots practically within the national parks, it was PACKED. We drove around for probably an hour trying to find a spot where there weren't campers full of families watching movies on their outdoor big screens. So that one was NOT our favorite camping spot in Northwest Wyoming.
We found this dreamy spot via the Campendium app. It's been our favorite spot so far... total silent, right on the river, in the mountains and there's a HOT SPRING within hiking distance. It's called Granite Creek Hot Springs, and there's dispersed camping all along the road to get to the spring, which means it's first come, first served with a 14 day limit in the National Forest. There are hiking trails all through the mountains here, one of which leads you straight to Granite Falls and the beloved hot spring.
(If you're trying to access the area, just Google for Granite Hot Springs. It took us about an hour and a half from the middle of Grand Teton National Park to reach the general destination and it's just outside of the Jackson Hole area near the Hoback River.)
Isn't it amazing?! When we first got there during the day there were a few groups of people in each spring tub and it was like a giant dog park.
So much fun. If it wasn't for the lingering threat of Covid, it would've been the perfect place to stay and play.
We wanted to hit the springs when it was mostly likely that no one else would be there, so we got up before dawn and hiked the 1.5 miles to be there right at sunrise. We had the whole place to ourselves until we left around 8:00am.
The hottest spring will make sure you're nice and toasty even in the chilly Wyoming dawn air. There are also a few pools that mingle with the river water to give you a more mild soaking experience.
Let me know if you stop by and what you think of the area!