Due to its stunning landscape and genuinely unforgettable sights that it offers, the Spread Creek dispersed camping area in Wyoming has become one of the most popular camping destinations in this part of the United States.
Whether you want to RV camp, car camp, or pitch, Spread Creek has you covered. And no matter which one of these camping styles you prefer, you’ll be able to do it for free.
It is of the best boondocking locations in the Mountain West region of the United States. In this article, I will provide you with all the essential information you’ll need in order to have a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable dispersed camping experience in Spread Creek.
This detailed guide will help you find your way to Spread Creek, learn more about the road conditions, and assist you in getting familiar with this spectacular area. Let’s dive right into it!
What is Dispersed Camping?
Dispersed camping means to camp pretty much anywhere you want in an undeveloped camping area located on public land for free. It can be done with an RV, a car, or a tent.
A good example of a dispersed camping area is a forest. Unlike in the eastern United States, where forests are mostly private, most of the forests located in the western United States are owned by the federal government. They are rarely controlled by states and counties.
In most of these national forests, dispersed camping is allowed unless noted otherwise. That’s why it’s very important to always do your research beforehand – parking your RV just anywhere and spending a few nights there could easily result in a fine.
Reservations are rarely required for dispersed camping. Most designated campings areas are first come first served. Those who get there early often get the best spots.
One very important thing to note about dispersed camping areas is that these places rarely have amenities and facilities.
If you can’t imagine a backcountry adventure without trash receptacles, fire pits, showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and electrical/water hookups, then dispersed camping is not for you.
One of the best dispersed camping locations in the Mountain West region of the US can be found in the state of Wyoming, and its name is Spread Creek. Let’s take a closer look at this area and see what makes it so great:
Where is Free Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area Located?
- Teton County, Wyoming
- Bridger-Teton National Forest
- Elevation: 7020 feet / 2139 meters
This fabulous region can be found in the west of Wyoming, not far from the state’s border with Idaho. Its exact location is in the Bridger-Teton forest, which itself is just to the east of the National Park.
Situated in Wyoming’s Teton County, Spread Creek is actually a collection of small brooks that run through this region. These small streams originate from the Snake River, which is located to the west of the area, right next to the famous Jackson Lake.
Before turning into the North Fork Spread Creek (north of the Grouse Mountain), Spread Creek stretches for thousands of miles throughout the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Map
Is Spread Creek Public Land?
Yes – the Spread Creek dispersed camping area in Wyoming is public land, and, as such, it is open to all tent, RV, and car campers. However, I should point out that dispersed camping is strictly forbidden in some areas of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
This is why it’s very important to look for any kind of signposts as you’re entering this area. Also, before you head there, don’t forget to check for any fire restrictions online.
Are There Designed Campsites in Spread Creek?
In the Spread Creek dispersed camping area, one can find 14 designated campsites. These are located next to a 4-mile gravel road, which makes getting to them easy.
An important thing to mention about these designated campsites is that all of them have a stay limit. You cannot stay in any of these places for more than 5 days.
Now, you may be wondering – what’s the point of these designated campsites if this is a dispersed camping area? Teton County created them in order to reduce the campers’ impact on the environment.
One of the best things about these designated campsites is that they’re quite roomy – there’s enough driving space for most cars and RVs. Moreover, the campsites are spaced far apart, which is always a big plus in my book.
Another great thing about Spread Creek designated campsites is the fact that they’re not far from the main road. In other words, they’re quite easy to access.
Each campsite’s parking space can easily accommodate about 4 big recreational vehicles. And what’s really great here is that you don’t have to pay to park your RV, unlike many other RV parks, which often demand around $100 for a night.
What to Expect at Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area
There’s a good reason why so many people flock to this area every summer – it’s one of the most beautiful places in this part of the US. Here’s what you can expect from it in terms of nature, activities, weather, and wildlife:
In terms of landscape, the Spread Creek dispersed camping area provides its visitors with remote alpine scenery.
One of the best things to see here are the creeks themselves – they are lovely and run throughout the entire region. In springtime, the amount of water in these streams increases significantly.
If you decide to do some day hiking from your campsite, crossing these creeks can be somewhat tricky. I would recommend using a wooden stick or a trekking pole – these should help you cross the creeks more easily.
Most of the streams can be heard from a distance, which undoubtedly gives the whole area a very special vibe. Children love splashing in these, and they also provide fishing enthusiasts with an opportunity to fish.
I consider the overall peacefulness of the Spread Creek dispersed camping area to be its greatest asset. There’s no doubt that you’re going to enjoy completely immersing yourself in this place’s beautiful nature.
Walking along the streams is calm, peaceful, and refreshing while finding cool new spots in the neverending forest provides campers with an unmatched sense of discovery. Also, it goes without saying that moonless nights at Spread Creek look absolutely breathtaking.
Apart from hiking, one can also enjoy simple activities such as book reading and meditation – after all, Spread Creek is a very peaceful place. You can also cook! Cooking delicious camping meals is a great way to keep everyone’s spirits high.
You will, however, have to follow all the regulations concerning cooking and storage. You’ll also have to take care of your trash – make sure to leave the camping spot in the same state you found it. By keeping everything clean and tidy, you’ll make it possible for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy this place as well.
In Spread Creek, rain is common. It can get cloudy quite quickly, even when you’re not expecting it. So, make sure to prepare yourself accordingly and pack some waterproofs that will keep you dry in case it rains. You may also want to check out our guide to camping in the rain.
Those planning to visit Spread Creek in October can expect heavy snow. And while cold-weather camping certainly has its charms, I would recommend coming here during summertime: that’s when Spread Creek’s nature is at its best.
You can expect to see quite a lot of animals: pronghorns, moose, deer, grizzlies, and bears. After all, you’ll be camping in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, so it’s only natural to expect to see a lot of animals all over the place. They are used to people coming to this area throughout the year.
You’ll have to pay special attention to bears, though. Make sure to pack bear spray and be very careful with your food containers and food leftovers. I recommend using heavy-duty bear canisters or suspending your food at least 10 feet off the ground in some kind of bag.
Finally, don’t forget to pack a bug spray – this is an absolutely essential item for all those staying in the Spread Creek dispersed camping area. Don’t allow mosquitoes and other pests to ruin your whole experience.
If you are interested in other camping areas in Wyoming, see check out our list of the best dispersed camping spots in Grand Teton National Park.
Spread Creek Campsites – What to Expect?
As I mentioned above, there are 14 designated campsites in this area in total. Here’s what you can expect at these places in terms of campfires, crowds, views, cellular signal, as well as amenities:
Lighting a Fire
With trees and bushes being everywhere, firewood is ample at Spread Creek. You will find tons of branches and logs along the creeks, which will allow you to easily make a fire in one of the existing fire rings.
You should never bring your own firewood to dispersed camping areas, and the same applies to Spread Creek. By moving firewood from one region to another, campers can easily introduce damaging invasive species and a wide variety of pests. So, if you need firewood, just try to find some around Spread Creek itself.
The most important thing to point out here is that building new campfires is not allowed. Campers can create fires only inside the fire rings.
With this dispersed camping area becoming more and more popular each year, Spread Creek’s campsites are often highly crowded during summertime.
So, one thing you can expect is that you’re going to share the campsite with other people (if you decide to camp at one of the 14 designated campsites, that is). Fortunately, however, all of these are roomy enough for group camping.
All of these campsites operate on a first come – first served basis. In other words, early arrival is the only way to get to the desired spot. Coming to these campsites late in the day is not recommended, as it might force you to camp in the wild due to the lack of free space.
The Spread Creek dispersed camping area offers striking views of Teton mountain. The view is the best from the front gravel patch, as well as from campsites 13, 10, and 4.
The sunset, on the other hand, looks spectacular from pretty much anywhere in this area.
When you’re camping for a long time in a region that’s as remote as this one, staying connected with the outer world – particularly with your family – is very important.
Unfortunately, cellular signals aren’t that great in Spread Creek, with T-Mobile’s being the worst and Verizon’s being the best (especially at campsites 4, 10, 11, 12, and 13).
With this being a dispersed camping area, one cannot expect any facilities or amenities. The nearest water and dump station is about half an hour away, but that’s pretty much it – you’ll have to bring your own equipment to the field, including clothes, a water filter, camping chairs, as well as portable power.
To make preparation for dispersed camping in Spread Creek a bit easier for you, I’ve put together a list of all the necessary equipment you’ll have to bring there for a safe and comfortable camping experience.
For more camping options in the area, check out our guide to dispersed camping Near Yellowstone National Park.
Essential Gear for Spread Creek Dispersed Camping
- Camping tent – Obviously, you won’t need this if you’re planning to spend your time at Spread Creek in an RV.
- Sleeping bag – Once again, this is something you won’t need if you intend to sleep in your recreational vehicle. But for tent camping, a good sleeping bag is an absolutely essential piece of camping gear.
- Camping chairs – The best way to relax at Spread Creek is by sitting on comfortable camping chairs, together with your family and/or friends.
- Camping stove – If you’re planning to do some cooking while staying in this dispersed camping area, make sure to pack a camping stove. It will allow you to prepare delicious meals and heat water for your favorite hot beverages.
- Cooking equipment – Obviously, you will also need to pack some cooking equipment: your utensils & pans. Bring some plastic cutlery as well.
- Torches & lanterns – These are absolutely vital when it comes to any kind of backcountry escapades. Don’t forget to pack some extra batteries.
- Portable power station – As I said above, there are no electrical hookups at Spread Creek campsites, so it might be a good idea to bring one of these.
- Insect repellent – The last thing you want is to have your vacation ruined by mosquitoes. Keep those pesky insects at bay with a quality bug spray.
- Bear spray – As mentioned above, there are grizzlies and bears in Spread Creek. If things go south, you’ll be able to use this non-lethal deterrent to stop aggressive behavior in these animals.
- Bear Canisters – If you don’t want to keep suspending your food off the ground every time you’re about to go to sleep, make sure to pack a couple of heavy-duty bear canisters.
Other Items You Should Pack
- First-aid kit
- Waterproof clothes
- Water bottles
- Water filter
- Tent footprint
- Toilet paper
- Small shovel
- Hand sanitizer
- Prescription medications
- Camp rug
- Saw or ax
- Work gloves
- Sharp knife
- Sunburn lotion
- Sun hat
- Trash bags
- Pet gear
- Games & toys
Spread Creek Roads – What to Expect?
Although pretty well-maintained for the first mile, Spread Creek Road is still a dirt road and one that becomes quite bumpy further down.
Past the gravel patch, the road becomes too narrow for the big RVs – you won’t be able to get to the campsites if you have a very large rig. You can expect quite a bit of traffic here in the summer.
<This dusty and bumpy path is perfect for off-road vehicles. Also, it offers some truly outstanding views.
How far is Jackson Hole from Spread Creek dispersed camping?
Jackson Hole is about a 30-minute drive from the Spread Creek dispersed camping area. Jackson Hole is located between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges. The northwestern part of Jackson Hole is occupied by Grand Teton National Park. It encompasses much of Jackson Lake and the Teton Range.
How far is Colter Bay from Spread Creek dispersed camping area?
It’s a 30-minute drive from Colter Bay to the Spread Creek dispersed camping area (17 miles). Spread Creek is public land located in Teton Country, Wyoming. As such, it is open to dispersed camping with some areas in the forest being an exception. There are 14 designated campsites in the area.
Where is Spread Creek campground in Grand Teton?
The Spread Creek area is just east of Grand Teton National Park off of Highway 89. The dispersed camping is in the Bridger-Teton National forest. The Toppings Lake dispersed campsite is popular for campers who don’t want to camp at designated campsites.
If you love nature, you can’t go wrong by heading over to the Spread Creek dispersed camping area and spending a few (or more) days there.
As long as you pack all the essentials and pay attention to your surroundings, you should have no troubles of any kind while staying there – only breathtaking sights to see and cool spots in the forest to find.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you in getting familiar with the area and its campsites, roads, wildlife, and weather. Good luck!
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.