Camping at the Grand Canyon

There's no more intimate way to connect with nature than to spend a night within its earthly embrace. Camping, in other words. Whether you're looking for an overnight excursion or an extended vacation, the Grand Canyon offers a variety of locations to pop up some tents or pull over an RV. Before you set off on your outdoor adventure, check out our complete guide to camping at the Grand Canyon. From planning and locations to permits and facilities, find out everything you need to know before packing up and hitting the road.

Start Your Camping Plan

Location

There are two primary areas to camp at the Grand Canyon: the North Rim and the South Rim. Both offer incredible camping and sightseeing opportunities, but differ in accessibility, availability, weather conditions, nature, and more. Find out more about what the North and South Rims have to offer campers travelling to the Grand Canyon.

South Rim

The South Rim, a colloquial term for what is technically the Grand Canyon National Park, offers camping year-round. The South Rim features some of the most famous views of the canyon and sees a good amount of tourist traffic. Because of its popularity, this area can be reached easily by automobile, train, and air travel. Due to the lower elevation of this region, the South Rim usually sees more mild temperatures for a longer period of time annually. The developed campgrounds here are also in much higher demand and require advanced reservations. Just steps from the canyon's edge rests the historic Grand Canyon Village, featuring several hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and more.

Mather Campground

What to Know

Mather Campground, not far from the bustling Grand Canyon Village, is open year round to the public. Here visitors are allowed 2 cars, 6 guests, and 3 tents in their camping space. RVs are also permitted in the campground; however, RVs requiring hookups will find them at the nearby Trailer Village.

Permits

Camping at the Grand Canyon National Park does not require a permit; however, both campsites have different stipulations for obtaining a camping spot. Because of its close vicinity to Grand Canyon Village, Mather Point is the most popular option for Grand Canyon campers. It's a good idea to make reservations if you're planning to set up camp here. Reservations can even be made up to 6 months before your trip.

Reservations: 1-877-444-6777

Book Mather Campground Online

Safety

Mather Campground allows fires to be built only within designated grills. Additionally, campers are not allowed to gather their own firewood; instead wood can be bought at the general store not far away. Pets are allowed in Mather Campground but must be leashed and never left unattended. The campsite offers added accessible accommodations as well, and wheelchairs can be rented from Bright Angel Bicycles nearby if needed.

Amenities

Laundry facilities as well as showers are available inside Mather Campground and accept a small charge to use. If necessary, safe dog and cat boarding is available in the village nearby. The National Park also offers a complimentary shuttle service to assist visitors, including campers, to reach the canyon lookout points more easily. You can even rent bikes and children's tricycles from Bright Angel Bicycles not far away.

Desert View Campground

What to Know

Approximately 25 miles from Grand Canyon Village is Desert View Campground, often much less busy than Mather Campground. This is a more exclusive area as it offers only 50 sites. It is also important to note that Desert View is closed from mid-October to mid-April for the winter. Additionally, this area does not offer RV hookups but can accommodate small RVs and trailers. Each individual site allows a group of up to 6 people and two tents, as well as two cars or one RV.

Permits

Desert View Campground does not accept reservations and instead is first-come/first-serve for campers - so be sure to arrive early in the morning if you plan to stay at Desert View. Pay stations are onsite to accept the small camping fee required to camp within Desert View. There is a one-week allowance for camping at this location.

Safety

Leashed pets are permitted at Desert View. Campfires are permitted in the provided grills at each site and campers are advised to follow fire safety instructions to maintain control of their campfires.

Amenities

All 50 campsites at Desert View include a picnic table as well as a grill for building fires. Within the campsite are two clean water spigots. Separate bathrooms are available at Desert View as well as accessible restrooms, but the nearest showers can be found in Mather Campground or within the Grand Canyon Village. A campground host is available onsite during the summer months to help campers, as well.

Trailer Village

What to Know

Located next to Mather Campground, Trailer Village is the Grand Canyon National Park's only RV park. The area is paved and offers 84 parking spaces accomodating recreational vehicles up to 50 feet in length. The park is open year-round and just a short distance from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Grand Canyon Village, and the canyon itself. It is important to remember that quiet hours are from 10pm to 8am daily.

Permits

Trailer Village accepts reservations and also welcomes those without - though they will be limited to whichever parking spaces (if any) are still available.

Reservations: Toll-free (877) 404-4611

Same day reservations: (928) 638-3047

Book Trailer Village Online.

Safety

Leashed pets are permitted at Desert View. While wood fires are prohibited, charcoal fires are permitted. Campers are advised to follow fire safety instructions to maintain control of their campfires.

Amenities

Trailer Village offers electrical hookups, cable television hookups, and sewage and water hookups. Local water conservation efforts forbid visitors in Trailer Village to wash their vehicles during their stay. A shuttle stop at the entrance to the park will transports visitors to various destinations throughout the Grand Canyon National Park.

North Rim

The Grand Canyon's North Rim is the rugged alternative to the South Rim. Here the climate reaches much colder temperatures and receives enough snowfall to temporarily close the region from mid-October to mid-May annually. The North Rim Campground allows a maximum of 6 people and 3 tents as well as 2 cars at each site. Groups of up to 25 are also able to camp together at the North Rim with up to 3 vehicles. There are no RV hookups at the North Rim but there is a nearby dump station available to RV users.

Permits

Reservations: 1-877-444-6777

Book North Rim Camping Online

Guests with Golden Age passport or Access passport will receive half-price admission to camp at the North Rim.

Safety

Pets are permitted at the North Rim Campground, but must remain leashed and monitored at all times. There are no dog boarding options at the North Rim. Fires may be built in the grills within the campsite using wood and charcoal only. Campers are not permitted to collect wood from the North Rim wild; Instead, wood may be bought at the nearby general store.

Amenities

Located at the North Rim Campground is a water refill station, restrooms (including handicap accessible), as well as laundry machines accepting coins for use.

Nearby Activities

It's the whole reason you're travelling here in the first place: the Grand Canyon. Could any tourist attraction ever compare? The South Rim offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the paved walkways at the canyon's edge, but there are other ways to discover the most splendid views of these world-famous stone walls. Take to the skies on a South Rim airplane tour or helicopter tour to capture sights of the canyon walls, the Colorado River, and the Kaibab National Forest!

Written By: Sabrina Taylor

September 4, 2018

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