camping the grand canyon

Grand Canyon Camping – A Guide To The Best Campsites & Activities

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The Grand Canyon National Park is an incredible place everyone should visit at least once in order to soak up the stunning views and epic climbs. Plus, there are plenty of Grand Canyon campsites to create a home away from home. In total, there are 3 NPS Grand Canyon campsites and one Grand Canyon RV Park. If you have the proper permitting, you can skip out on the more populated campsites and sleep out under the stars wherever you please.

Each layer of the Grand Canyon’s colorful rocks highlight a plethora of history recorded over billions of years. Scientists estimate the Canyon’s metamorphic rock is around 1.75 billion years old, nearly half the age of Earth. Even though the Grand Canyon is not the deepest or widest canyon on the Planet, it still ranks as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sites. In proof, over 5 million people visit Grand Canyon National Park every year.

The Grand Canyon’s North Rim vs. South Rim

The Grand Canyon Park is separated into two different sections, the North Rim and the South Rim. The two sides of the park are divided by the mile-deep Colorado River. There is only around 10 miles between each side of the canyon, but driving from South Rim Village to North Rim Village (and visa-versa) takes around 5-hours and totals 215-miles.

The scenery, vegetation and weather vary on both sides of the park due to differences in elevation. The North Rim is more secluded and harder to access due to the fact it is located at 8,000-feet elevation. Early snowfall is common here, hence why visitor services and the North Rim’s one campground are only open for part of the year, May 15th to October 31st.

The North Rim sits on the Utah side of the Grand Canyon Park and is only accessible by road as there are no airports or rail systems on this side of the Park.  Even though the North Rim is less popularly visited you should still make reservations ahead of time. Everyone tends to flock here at once since it is only open for a limited time each year. South Rim vs North Rim - Grand Canyon Camping

Top Related Article – Camping In The Grand Canyon

Want To Go South Rim Grand Canyon Camping?

The South Rim is open all year long. It is situated on the Arizona side of the Canyon and has a local airport and rail service. Aside from the North Rim Campground, the remaining Grand Canyon campgrounds are all located on the South Rim. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is easier to access and more popularly visited. It is situated on the Arizona side of the canyon and has a local airport & rail service. South Rim campgrounds tend to get very crowded during the summer and reservations are highly recommended. In total, there are three different campgrounds on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Those are:

  1. Mather Campground 
  2. Trailer Village RV Park
  3. Desert View Campground

Which campground you decide to choose depends largely on what kind of Grand Canyon camping trip you’ve been dreaming about. Needless to say, each of these campgrounds is going to be near some absolutely incredible scenery. Prices will vary between the campsites, but more expensive doesn’t necessarily equal a nicer stay. Let’s take a look at each of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim camping sites:

Mather Campground – Grand Canyon South Rim CampingMather Campground - Grand Canyon South Rim Camping

  • Open: Year-round
  • Cost: $18 per campsite, per night
  • Elevation: 6,971 feet (2,125 meters)
  • Reservations: Required during peak season (March 1 – November 30). Available here

Operated by the National Park Service (NPS) and open year-round, Mather Campground is easily the most popular spot for camping near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Mather Campground offers both tent camping & RV Camping, so you have plenty of options here.

Featuring over 300 campsites, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t expect an overly secluded Grand Canyon camping trip here, but it will be a fun one! While there aren’t actually any hookups, you are able to park your RV here to stay a while.

These campsites are fully accessible, and restrooms are available without too much of a walk regardless of the location of your site. Each campsite will hold up to 6 people (maximum of two vehicles) and three tents, so they are reasonably-sized campsites for sure.

Make sure that you note that a trailer, whether it be a camper or anything else, does actually count as a second vehicle so plan accordingly.

Mather Campground Reservation Policy

Reservations are required during the peak season (March 1 – November 30), so no walk-ups are allowed. Since camping in the Grand Canyon is so popular during this period, this policy is meant more to discourage people from planning on just showing up without any vacant campsites than anything else. Do yourself a favor and make sure you get reservations well in advance!

As for the rest of the year, no reservations are taken at all. The campsites at this Grand Canyon South Rim camping destination are handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Mather Campground Pet Policy

Worth noting is that pets are allowed at Mather Campground, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet long at all times. While this might seem like a bit of an inconvenience, it makes plenty of sense considering the number of campsites at this South Rim Grand Canyon camping destination. You also can’t leave pets in vehicles or bring them below the canyon rim at any time.

To reduce the stress that comes with coordinating everything, it may be best to leave Fido at home while you get away on your Grand Canyon camping trip!

Trailer Village RV Park – Grand Canyon South Rim Camping

    • Trailer Village RV Park - Grand Canyon South Rim CampingOpen: Year-round

 

  • Cost: $36 per campsite, per night

 

 

  • Elevation: 7,028 feet (2,143 meters)

 

 

 

 

The Trailer Village RV Park is the only Grand Canyon South Rim camping destination with full RV hook-ups. With 84 Grand Canyon camping sites that offer paved, pull-through layouts that are incredibly close to the South Rim, this is the place to be if you want to head over in your RV. Full hookups are available, and the maximum RV length is set at 50 feet. At each campsite, you’ll be able to hook up to 30 & 50 amp electrical, water, and sewer hook-ups. You’ll also have a picnic table & barbecue grill, and even cable TV available to you. While this is certainly a more expensive South Rim Grand Canyon camping experience, the perks are definitely noticeable.

Trailer Village RV Park Reservation Policy

Available 13 months in advance, reservations are highly recommended during the peak Grand Canyon camping season (March 1 – November 30). Since camping in the Grand Canyon is so popular during this period, this policy is meant more to discourage people from rolling up in their RV and expecting them to make room in an already-full campground. Do yourself a favor and make sure you get reservations well in advance!

Trailer Village RV Park Pet Policy

Much like Mather Campground, pets are allowed at Trailer Village RV Park but they must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. Leaving pets unattended is also strictly prohibited, no matter the case. There are a few “doggy daycare” type places around the area, but don’t plan on there always being openings. Our recommendation is to find a boarding facility near home to leave your furry friends at. The rule of no pets being allowed below the Grand Canyon South Rim also holds true at this RV park.

Desert View Campground – Grand Canyon South Rim Camping

  • Desert View Campground - South Rim Grand Canyon CampingOpen: Mid-April through mid-October
  • Cost: $12 per campsite, per night
  • Elevation: 7,463 feet (2,275 meters)
  • Reservations: No reservations. First-come, first-served

If your goal is to find the best Grand Canyon South Rim camping site that is closest to the actual South Rim of the Grand Canyon, this is your best bet. Desert View Campground is located about 26 miles west of the Trailer Village RV Park, so you’ve at least gotten away from the densely populated Grand Canyon Village area.

If you’re looking for a good view (and what kind of Grand Canyon camping trip would be complete without it), the Desert View offers one of the more spectacular viewing sites on the South Rim.

There are 50 campsites at Desert View, each offering a firepit, campfire grill, and picnic table. There aren’t any sewer or water hookups at Desert View campground, but there are a few options for water & restrooms. Two water faucets are open for use and there are men’s, women’s, and handicap accessible restroom facilities available. There, unfortunately, aren’t showers or hot water available at Desert View. It would be wise to bring a water jug or something similar so you don’t have to run back and forth from the faucet.

Needless to say, this is certainly the most rustic & primitive South Rim Grand Canyon camping experience, but that may be exactly what you’re looking for!

Desert View Campground Reservation Policy

Reservations aren’t available at any time at Desert View Campground on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. If you’re looking to secure a campsite we highly recommend arriving before the afternoon. The campground tends to fill up quickly after morning passes, and we don’t want you to miss a chance at some incredible, remote South Rim Grand Canyon camping!

Desert View Pet Policy

If you’re looking to get away with bringing a pet and don’t want to keep it on a leash at all times, Desert View would be your best bet. You should note that the rules state that all pets are required to be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. However, the smaller, 50-site campground allows for a less crowded & more remote atmosphere so there is a chance you’ll be able to get away with letting little Spot roam free for a few minutes!

South Rim Grand Canyon Camping Sites Full? Camping Near Grand Canyon Is Still An Option!

With South Rim Grand Canyon camping sites filling up so quickly, you may not have an opportunity to reserve one of their sites before they book up. Luckily, there are still quite a few options for camping near Grand Canyon’s South Rim. You already know all about the South Rim itself, so we’ll just dive right into campgrounds near Grand Canyon:

  1. Grand Canyon Camper Village
  2. Ten X Campground

Unlike most of the South Rim Grand Canyon camping sites, these campgrounds are privately held. You could go back and forth over whether this is a good or bad thing, but we won’t get into that. The fact of the matter is that these are some great campgrounds near the Grand Canyon. You’ll have a great time no matter where you go, so let’s take a closer look:  

Grand Canyon Trailer Village – Camping Near Grand Canyon South Rim

  • Grand Canyon RV Camping - Grand Canyon Trailer VillageOpen: Year-round
  • Cost: $29 –56 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available here

While you wouldn’t actually know it from the name, this campsite is not just for RV camping Grand Canyon South Rim style. There are plenty of tent campsites to go around as well. If you’re looking for full-service camping near Grand Canyon’s South Rim, this is the only full-service campground within 25 miles of Grand Canyon National Park.

Located just one mile south of the park’s entrance, Grand Canyon Trailer Village is actually located in Tusayan, Arizona. You’ll have access to many amenities near this Grand Canyon camping destination. Whether you’re looking for a general store, restaurants, or shopping options you’ll be right nearby. There’s even an IMAX theatre right in town in case the weather declines or you just want to take a break from being a tourist for a few hours!

A very nice feature is that the National Park Service free shuttle does swing through this Grand Canyon camping destination. During peak months (March – Labor Day) the shuttle is offered for free.

There are a total of 150 Grand Canyon RV camping sites to go along with 20 tent camping sites. If you’re looking to take a shower or do some laundry, there are coin-operated options available to you.

Grand Canyon Trailer Village Reservation Policy

Grand Canyon RV camping site reservations are available through their website (link above). However, tent reservations are dolled out on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’re looking for a Grand Canyon RV camping site with a firepit ring, make sure you make the request under the “special requests” section of the reservation form.

Desert View Pet Policy

Pets are allowed at Grand Canyon Trailer Village, but they must be leashed at all times. There is also a barking ordinance in this county, so only bring your furry friend if you know they are going to be well behaved! You wouldn’t want to spend your vacation listening to a barking dog, so be courteous and make sure no one else has to.

Ten-X Campground – Camping Near Grand Canyon South Rim

  • Camping Near Grand Canyon South Rim - Ten-X CampgroundOpen: May 1 through September 30, weather permitting
  • Cost: $10 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available here

Located just a hair further from the Grand Canyon park entrance than Grand Canyon Trailer Village, Ten-X Campground is a great budget option. At only $10/night for camping near Grand Canyon South Rim is a great deal, and leaves you some spending money for the rest of your trip.

There are 70 total campsites, which makes for a decently sized campground. There are restrooms available, but there aren’t any showers, laundry, or RV hook ups available.

If you’re looking for a more primitive camping near Grand Canyon experience, Ten-X Campground is a great option!

Ten-X Campground Reservation Policy

While there are 70 campsites available at Ten-X Campground, only 22 of them are available for reservation. The rest of the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Like the other Grand Canyon camping destinations, we highly recommend walk-ups arrive before the afternoon for your best chance at securing a site for camping near Grand Canyon.

How About North Rim Grand Canyon Camping?

If South Rim Grand Canyon camping isn’t your thing, you should definitely consider North Rim Grand Canyon Camping! There are some absolutely incredible sights to see on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While there is only one that is part of the National Park Service, there are a few privately owned that are available to you as well. Believe it or not, our favorite Grand Canyon camping destination is actually on the North Rim! There are a total of five notable campgrounds available for North Rim Grand Canyon camping. They are:

  1. North Rim Campground
  2. Tuweep Campground
  3. DeMotte Campground
  4. Jacob Lake Campground
  5. Kaibab Camper Village

We’ll obviously take a closer look at each one of these, but we can’t wait to get into the North Rim Campground. This is probably our favorite Grand Canyon camping destination, and when you hear more about it you’ll immediately see why.

North Rim Campground – North Rim Grand Canyon Camping

  • North Rim Grand Canyon Camping - North Rim CampgroundOpen: May 15 through October 31 (weather permitting)
  • Cost: $18 – 25 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available here

Welcome to our favorite Grand Canyon campground! The North Rim Campground is probably one of the most scenic campgrounds near the Grand Canyon. Situated right on the edge of the North Rim, this campground is one of the most sought-after Grand Canyon camping locations in the area.

There are only 90 campsites, so the site is a bit more private & secluded. Surrounded by Ponderosa Pines & Aspens, each campsite is furnished with a picnic table & a fire ring equipped with a campfire grill. The campsites with the best Grand Canyon views are sites 11, 14, 15, 16 and 18. To grab one of these, make sure you book your North Rim Grand Canyon camping trip well in advance!

There are plenty of activities near the North Rim Campground. Our personal favorite is hiking along the Transept Rail or visiting the Grand Canyon Lodge during the sunrise/sunset hours. You really can’t beat the views that you’ll experience at these spots!

Coin-operated phones, showers, & laundry are also available within a short walking distance from this North Rim Grand Canyon camping destination!

North Rim Campground Reservation Policy

If you’re looking to head over to this North Rim Grand Canyon camping destination, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a reservation & check the weather. Reservations are required from May 15 – September 15, and after that sites are given out on a walk-up basis only. If you’re looking to travel to the Grand Canyon outside of the reservation period make sure you check the weather. Once snow & ice start to accumulate North Rim Campground gets shut down for the season.

Tuweep Campground – North Rim Grand Canyon Camping

Tuweep Campground - North Rim Grand Canyon Camping If you’re looking for a remote, private, & rustic North Rim Grand Canyon camping experience Tuweep Campground is the place to be! While this Grand Canyon camping destination can be a bear to get to, the journey is well worth it when you arrive. There are only 10 total campsites at Tuweep Campground, so you don’t have to worry about spending your vacation at an overcrowded campsite.

As we mentioned before, Tuweep Campground is not at all easy to get to. You’ll want to make sure your vehicle has high ground clearance (take a truck or Jeep) & make sure you have recovery gear with you. There are some spots with some sharper rocks, so a flat tire is definitely a possibility. If it has been wet there are also some spots where it gets quite muddy, so you’ll want to be ready for that as well. We highly recommend having a tire repair kit, tow strap, and shackle hitch available just in case you or someone else get stuck.

Aside from the trek out there, you’re going to love your time at Tuweep Campground. The private setting and the incredible views simply can’t be beaten. At 3,000 feet above the Colorado River, you’ll have one of the most serene Grand Canyon camping experiences you could imagine.

Worth noting is that this is a 100% primitive campground, so there isn’t access to water, & phone service is very limited.

Tuweep Campground Reservation/Permit Policy

The reservation policy for Tuweep Campground is a bit different than the other campgrounds on our list. In order to stay at this North Rim Grand Canyon camping hotspot you’ll have to obtain a permit. You can apply for a permit here, and be sure to make sure you’re applying at least 4 months in advance.

DeMotte Campground – Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

  • Camping Near Grand Canyon - DeMotte CampgroundOpen: Mid-May through October (weather permitting)
  • Cost: $18 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available Here

If you’re looking for some great camping around Grand Canyon North Rim, DeMotte Campground is a great spot to end up. Located in the Kaibab National Forest just 5 miles North of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim entrance, DeMotte Campground offers a total of 38 campsites.

Aside from Tuweep Campground & North Rim Campground, this is the closest you’ll get to the North Rim. There is a general store right across the road from DeMotte Campground, so you will have access to some shopping if you need it.

This area for camping near Grand Canyon is open to tents, campers, and RV’s so you have plenty of options. There aren’t any utility hookups in the campground, but there is access to drinking water.

DeMotte Campground Reservation Policy

Reservations at DeMotte Campground can be made up to 6 months in advance, and we recommend timing it so that you’re ready to book as soon as your window opens up. Only half of the campsites are available for reservations. Despite that, you definitely want to make sure that you get your Grand Canyon North Rim camping site reserved so you aren’t thrown for a loop when you get there.

Jacob Lake Campground – Camping North Rim Grand Canyon

  • Jacob Lake Campground - Camping Near Grand CanyonOpen: Mid-May through October (weather permitting)
  • Cost: $18 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available Here

Don’t want to actually go camping at the Grand Canyon, but would love to still be close to it? Jacob Lake Campground is a great option to get away from the crowds a bit on your evenings.

Located 44 miles away from Grand Canyon’s North Rim Entrance Station, this campground still provides great camping around Grand Canyon area. Jacob Lake Campground is host to 51 campsites located right near the junction of two highways for easy access.

This campground typically acts as overflow housing for those that weren’t actually able to secure a site for camping at Grand Canyon North Rim properties.

DeMotte Campground Reservation Policy

Reservations at Jacob Lake Campground can be made up to 6 months in advance, so you’ll have plenty of time to book your trip.

Kaibab Camper Village – Grand Canyon RV Camping

  • Kaibab Camper Village - Grand Canyon RV CampingOpen: May 14 to October 15
  • Cost: $18 – 36 per campsite, per night
  • Reservations: Available Here

If you’re looking for some great Grand Canyon RV camping, Kaibab Camper Village is a solid option. Only a quick 40-mile drive from the Grand Canyon’s north rim, this is another great overflow opportunity for those unable to secure a Grand Canyon RV camping site at one of the other locations. Kaibab Camper Village offers full RV hook-ups, coin-operated showers & laundry for use as well.

Grand Canyon Camping Has Never Been So Convenient

The road trip out to the Grand Canyon can be half of the fun, but only if your vehicle is set to comfortably fit everyone and their luggage/camping gear. Vault Cargo is focused on making your outdoor adventures more convenient. Case and point, our 8” Lashing Straps are the perfect piece of equipment when you need to safely secure cargo without a hook. Plus, they offer higher load capacity and break-strength than more costly competitors.

SOURCES:

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