Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular National Parks – over five million visitors come to enjoy the natural majesty of the massive landscape. And while a day trip certainly gives you a great taste of the Grand Canyon's beauty, waking up with nothing but a tent flap between you and the morning sun lighting up the red canyon walls will give you a while new look at, and appreciation of, this unique spot.
When to Come
June and July are the driest and clearest months; they are also two of the busiest months. If you don't mind having to plan for and deal with inclement weather, you'll find smaller crowds in the spring and fall. The park slows down even more in the winter, but some campsites are closed or run with limited sites and amenities. The North Rim closes between mid-October and mid-May, but the South Rim remains open and offers a unique way to experience Grand Canyon National Park.
Which Rim to Visit
No matter which rim you visit, you'll have plenty of options for trails and Grand Canyon vistas. The South Rim is the more developed of the two and is easier to access, especially with the free shuttle. The North rim has fewer visitors and less commercialization. There is a shuttle that runs along part of the North Rim, but it isn't free.
Due to the popularity of Grand Canyon National Park and the limited number of campsites, reservations are recommended for peak visitor season, between March and November. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance for Mather Campground, North Rim Campground and group sites.
To make reservations call 1-877-444- 6777 or go online to http://www.recreation.gov.
More Things to Know about Camping at Grand Canyon National Park
- Pets are allowed within the park and at campsites, but must be leashed at all times and are not allowed below the canyon rim.
- All campgrounds have small junipers and pinion pines that provide shade.
- Fires are not allowed outside of the provided wood and charcoal grills. Gathering wood is not allowed. If you forget to bring your own, wood is sold at some of the park stores.
- All campsites have picnic tables and benches.
- Water is available at all campgrounds except Tuweep Campground. Be sure to bring plenty of water if you visit this site.
Located in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, Mather Campground's 327 well-kept campsites are right in the middle of everything. With free shuttle stops, the Canyon View Information Center, showers and laundry, the Market Plaza Grocery Store, a clinic, and the Park Headquarters all conveniently close by you're sure to find whatever you want or need, just don't expect to be alone. If you end up at Mather Campground and want a little more quiet, try to get a site on one of the first few loops as you enter the campsite – sites further south hear more of the park entrance traffic.
Mather Campground is open year-round, but from mid-October until early March only a limited number of sites are available. Reservations are available, and strongly recommended, March through mid-November.
- Cost – $18/night/site (6 people, 2 vehicles and 3 tents per site); mid-November through February price drops to $15/night
- Number of sites – 327
- RVs/Trailers – No hook-ups, dump station closed during winter, 30-foot RV/trailer limit
- Restrooms – Plumped
- Closest laundry and showers –Campground entrance
This RV and Trailer campground is next to the Mather Campground, complete with hook-ups for electricity, cable TV, water and sewage. Trailer Village shares all the same nearby amenities as Mather Campground and has room for RVs and trailers up to 50-feet long. Reservations are accepted. Rates start at $45/night.
Desert View Campground
If you're visiting the South Rim and want to camp somewhere that's a little more out-of-the-way, the Desert View Campground, near the Park's East Entrance, is the spot for you. Campsites are very similar to the Mather sites, but their location 26 miles east of the Village makes for a much quieter and secluded experience. There aren't as many trailheads here, but having the Desert View Watchtower right outside your tent flap and Navajo and Lipan Points not too far away more than makes up for it.
Desert View Campground is open May through mid-October and does not accept reservations.
- Cost – $12/night/site (6 people, 2 vehicles and 2 tents per site)
- Number of sites – 50
- Group sites – None
- RVs/Trailers – No hook-ups, no dump station, 30-foot RV/trailer limit
- Restrooms – Plumped
- Closest laundry and showers – Mather Campground, 26 miles away
North Rim Campgrounds
This is the more developed of the two campgrounds on the North Rim (the less-developed of the two rims). That said, it still tends to attract a quieter crowd more interested in enjoying the nearby rim views and trails (be sure to take a quick stroll down the Widforss Trail one evening or morning) than the South Rim campgrounds. Try to book a site toward the outside of the campground, as sites in the middle offer less privacy.
The North Rim Campground is open until winter weather closes Highway 67, but after mid-October not all sites are available. Reservations are available.
- Cost – $18-25/night/site (6 people, 2 vehicle, 3 tent limit)
- Number of sites – 87
- Group sites – 4
- RVs/Trailers - No hooks-ups, dump station
- Restrooms – Plumped (only portable toilets after mid-October)
- Closest laundry and showers – Campground entrance
This is the most remote and primitive car-accessible campground within Grand Canyon National Park.
Located in the remote Arizona Strip at the western end of the Park, you won't find many amenities. What you will find is solitude, a classic camping and hiking experience, expansive views of the canyon 300 feet below you, and some of the most remote and beautiful areas of the Park. There is no water available at the Tuweep Campground.
Tuweep is open year round, with no reservations (and no fees!) available.
- Cost – Free
- Number of sites – 9 (6 people, 2 vehicle limit)
- Group sites – 1 (11 people, 4 vehicle limit)
- RVs/Trailers – no hook-ups, no dump station
- Restrooms – Compostable toilets
- Closest laundry and showers – Outside of Grand Canyon National Park
- No water
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