Grand Canyon Camping

There are many wonderful places to go camping in the United States, and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the most unique choices out there. Every year, millions of visitors come to see the Grand Canyon, and every year a fortunate number of those visitors choose to include Grand Canyon camping in their agendas. Sure, you can always opt to stay at one of the Grand Canyon hotels or lodges, but there may not be anything that can quite compare to a night spent outside among the canyon walls, with the rush of the mighty Colorado River in the background and a sky full of stars. Camping at the Grand Canyon can be enjoyed year-round, but beware of the cold nights in the winter. That’s when you will want to make sure to pack your sub-zero sleeping bag, just in case. Grand Canyon National Park camping is a great way to bond with family and friends and it can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with some of the most popular Grand Canyon tours. If you want to save some money on accommodations, or just love to camp, Grand Canyon National Park has you covered.

Camping at the Grand Canyon can be enjoyed at any one of the park’s 4 main campgrounds and camping fees are in addition to park entry fees. You can also explore the limited options for more remote spots, but you’ll need to secure a Backcountry Permit with the park’s Backcountry Office to do so. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is where most of the action takes place, as it is easier to reach and features more tourism-related facilities than does the North Rim. The South Rim features two of the park’s main campgrounds, those of which are Mather Campground and Trailer Village.

Mather Campground

Mather Campground
Mather Campground

Mather Campground is conveniently located in Grand Canyon Village, where you will find a bulk of restaurants, gift shops and Grand Canyon hotels nearby, should you desire to have some of life’s comforts at hand. Mather Campground is open year-round and between the months of March and November, it is recommended that you reserve your spot, or spots, ahead of time with the National Park Service. For under $20, you can book a site at Mather Campground, which allows up to two cars, three tents and six people. From December through March, rates at Mather Campground decrease and camping is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Trailer Village

Trailer Village
Trailer Village   Image: Xanterra Parks Photo

Adjacent to Mather Campground is where you’ll find Trailer Village, which offers RV sites with hookups and all. At both of these campgrounds, pets are permitted, but they must remain leashed at all times and can not be left unattended. There is a dump station near Mather Campground, which closes in the winter. Trailer Village is only half a mile from the canyon, and each site features picnic grounds, a barbecue grill, electricity, and cable TV, sewage and water hookups. RVs are limited to 50 feet in length.

North Rim Campground

North Rim Campground
North Rim Campground

At the park’s North Rim, visitors can enjoy Grand Canyon camping at the North Rim Campground. The North Rim Campground is only open from mid May through mid October, due to the fact that the North Rim is harder to reach and the roads in have a tendency to close down with the winter snowfall. On occasion, if the weather sees fit, the North Rim Campground remains open past mid October. It is also recommended that you make reservations with the National Park Service in advance to your arrival, but you can only do so five months in advance. Fees for the North Rim Campground are under $20, per site as well, and there is also a dump station found nearby. There are no hookups for RV’s here, and the same rules apply to pets here.

Desert View Campground

Desert View Campground
Desert View Campground

The remaining Grand Canyon National Park camping site is called Desert View Campground, which is found some 26 miles east of Grand Canyon Village. It is cheaper to camp here than at the park’s other spots, but you are a bit further away, which some people might prefer. The Desert View Campground is open from mid May to mid October as well, and sites are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. If these sights are booked, or you are looking for other camping opportunities, you may wish to peruse the Grand Canyon tours that offer camping inside the rim. If you book a Grand Canyon rafting trip on your Grand Canyon vacation, camping can be enjoyed at select spots along the way, thus heightening the overall experience.

Near the North Rim camping area, visitors will find a good number of services available, from dining and groceries needs, to shower and laundry facilities. There are also other campgrounds not operated by Grand Canyon National Park that can be found north of the North Rim. At Tusayan, which is a small town found near the South Rim, the U.S. Forest Service operates an additional campground that you may consider, named Ten-X Campground. If none of these options fit your wants or needs, you can entertain the options for “dispersed camping”, which is liberal camping that is only permitted in the national forest outside of Grand Canyon National Park.

 

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