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Grand Canyon Camping is the Best Adventure You Haven’t Taken

grand canyon camping

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As one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon enjoys global fame on par with giants like Mount Everest and the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to being Arizona’s most popular tourist attraction, it draws thousands of visitors from across the world to the United States each day. Given its year-round operating hours and low entrance fees, the park is always busy, so it’s best to make reservations well in advance.

While day trips to the Grand Canyon are possible if you’re coming from a nearby city like Flagstaff, chances are you’re spending the night if you’re visiting at all. When it comes to overnight arrangements, the sheer size and accessibility of the canyon can be pretty restricting, not to mention intimidating. Just so, you should plan your trip around where you intend to camp.

Whether you’re driving up from the Phoenix area or flying all the way in from as far away as Dubai, the following guide to Grand Canyon camping will help you find the best place to spend the night??depending on which part of the canyon you’re visiting.

Grand Canyon Campgrounds

Grand Canyon South Rim Camping

Open year-round, the south rim of the Grand Canyon is easily the most popular section of our nation’s top scenic wonder. From tent sites to RV campgrounds with full hookups, you’re sure to find everything you need to enjoy some Grand Canyon camping. In addition to excellent tent and RV sites, the south rim features attractions like a general store, visitor center, geology museum, and more. Below are some of the top campground options to choose from.

Grand Canyon National Park: The National Park Service offers campgrounds as close as you can get to the park without hiking in. Like all NPS campgrounds, they can be researched and reserved at recreation.gov. Here are your options:

  • Mather Campground | While Mather doesn’t have any RV hookups, it does allow motorhomes and trailers as well as the usual tent sites. In addition to ADA-compliant restrooms, the grounds include more prominent family and group sites and specialized hiking, biking, and equestrian sites.
  • Trailer Village RV Park | As the name suggests, Trailer Village offers 123 trailer RV-only sites. To sweeten the deal, they’ve even thrown in a dump station.
  • Desert View Campground | East of Grand Canyon Village down Highway 64, you’ll find this slightly more isolated site. It is located just about 15 miles from the park’s East Entrance. It is close to amenities car campers will be appreciated, like a gas station and a market with a deli.
  • Backcountry permit | For those interested in backcountry camping outside of established campsites, permits are available. It’s best to visit the NPS’s website for contact info, forms, or rules and regulations. Campsites for backpackers and those on river trips include but are not limited to the Indian Garden, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood Campgrounds.

Other South Rim Campgrounds: If for any reason the camps listed above don’t work out for you, consider the following options near the town of Tusayan and the Grand Canyon National Park Airport:

  • Ten-X Campground
  • Grand Canyon Camper Village
  • Long Jim Loop Camping

Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

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The Grand Canyon is a massive, sprawling beast crossed by no roads or bridges. This being the case, the north rim of the canyon has its own set of campgrounds. There are several sites in and around the Kaibab National Forest area north of the canyon. You’ll want to stay in if you’re driving down from Utah and aren’t planning on making the trek to the south rim. Here are all the sites that are closest to the canyon:

North Rim Campground: This is the only drive-in campground on the canyon’s north rim in the national park. Like the significant south rim campgrounds, it welcomes all types of campers and has a dump station. Unlike some of the south rim sites, it doesn’t have any hookups. However, there are still amenities such as drinking water, showers, laundry, and a store.

Demotte Campground: Situated off Highway 67 in the Kaibab, this site welcomes tents, trailers, and RVs. It has drinking water, vault toilets, and other simple features, but no hookups or a dump station.

Jacob Lake Campground: Located near the junction of Highways 89A and 67, this site has all the bells and whistles drive-in campers could hope for other than hookups.

Saddle Mountain Overlook: Since this site is intended for dispersed camping and boondockers, the only features and facilities you’ll find are those you bring in.

Grand Canyon Lodge: If all north campgrounds are packed, and camping isn’t your thing, consider staying at this classy resort. It’s near the North Rim Visitor Center and the scenic Bright Angel Point.

Phantom Ranch: This historic lodge is located inside the canyon, not far from the Bright Angel Campground and the Colorado River. You’ll have to hike, raft, or ride on a muleback to get there.

Grand Canyon West Camping

Although the West end of the Grand Canyon isn’t nearly as popular as those located in the official national park section, it still has its charms and attractions, like the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, which offers fantastic views of the Colorado River. Considering the west rim is only a little over 120 miles from Las Vegas, it still gets plenty of visitors. While there aren’t as many sites to choose from on the west side, there are still a few, including RV camping resorts. Here are some options you might consider:

  • Happy Trails Campgrounds & Mini Motel
  • Meadowview RV Park
  • Grand Canyon Campgrounds
  • Diamond Creek Campground

Know a great campsite near the Grand Canyon that we missed here? We’d love your help on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: 5 Family-Friendly Desert Adventures Outside Phoenix, Arizona

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