So, we just returned from our first trip to GTNP and Yellowstone, and tented 3 nights at Colter Bay (also 1 night at Jenny Lake, and 1 night at Gros Ventre). First, GTNP and YNP in autumn is amazing, and Colter Bay has many great services conveniently available in the campground, such as a well stocked camp store, decent showers, one restaurant, and laundry. Colter Bay camp ground is also close enough to YNP to be within striking distance for day trips up to all the southern attractions (although Headwaters at Flagg Ranch would be more centrally located between the parks).
Now the bad news: the bathrooms in the campground look like they have never been cleaned or maintained. The maintenance crew should be fired. No hot water, broken cold water faucets. brown smelly urinal, filthy floors and stalls. WTF? I guess the teenagers they hire for summer workers don't like cleaning bathrooms. At this point, its probably a good idea to gut the entire bathroom and start over from bare walls. I would rather primitive camp in the nearby forest - oh, wait, thats illegal. I'd have to drive 30 miles to get outside the national park before primitive camping is allowed…
One more gripe: although there are many services provided by the national park service or their concessionaires (Vail Resorts) available to campers in the campground, is it really necessary to gouge campers on everything they sell? $32/night to tent, $40 for breakfast for 2, $7.50 for a box of 4 logs, $4 for a shower, I realize the park service claims they are woefully under-funded, but camping is supposed to be a good value for the vacations of middle class Americans, right? After all, they market it as "your national parks" and I pay my taxes, and then they charge me again? If its my national park, then I charge too much for everything.
OK. I feel better now. Other than these items, GTNP is a beautiful place.