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Campground for the grand canyon

Best Campground For the Grand Canyon

Published on November 18th, 2020
Updated on February 17th, 2024

Seeing the Grand Canyon in person is on everyone’s bucket list, but are there campgrounds within the park to take in all the fantastic sights?

The answer is yes. There are quite a few campgrounds inside the massive Grand Canyon National Park that allow guests direct access to the park’s attractions.

To help you find the ideal Grand Canyon campground, I list the top options and end with the best campground pick for families, couples, singles, and adventurous campers.

Your great Grand Canyon adventure awaits, so start planning!

Types of Grand Canyon Campgrounds

A Grand Canyon campground

RVing to the Grand Canyon is very popular, so knowing which type of RV campground to stay in should be a priority before making a reservation.

There are several campgrounds near the Grand Canyon that offer full hookup RV sites, while others only provide electricity and water or are strictly for boondocking.

Any campground within the National Park Service boundaries will not offer RV hookups, so you will have to choose between a more immersive camping location or convenient amenities.

Tent campers also have backcountry camping options in both the Grand Canyon National Park and on Native American Reservation lands.

The different campgrounds operate either seasonally or all year, so your choices will change depending on the month you plan to visit.

Choosing a Rim

There are countless sights to see within the Grand Canyon, and trying to do them all in one visit is next to impossible. Due to time restrictions, most people opt to split their Grand Canyon experience into two trips: the North Rim and the South Rim.

The difference in elevation between the two rims is dramatic, which means that each side has a landscape with varying vegetation, climate, and vistas.

North Rim Attractions

The best-kept secret of the North Rim is that only 10 percent of visitors to the Grand Canyon come check out this side of the park, which means fewer crowds.

Here are the top must-see or do North Rim attractions:

  • Bright Angel Point – A shorter and less strenuous hike takes you down a paved trail that opens to breathtaking Grand Canyon scenery
  • North Rim Visitor Center – Take in the stunning views while learning more about the region before picking up some souvenirs or partaking in a ranger program
  • Cape Final Trail – Take this little-known trail for a more peaceful, four-mile round trip hike that breaks out through the wooded trail into spectacular views of the Canyon
  • North Kaibab Trail – Serious hikers will enjoy this strenuous trail, which is the only one on the North Rim that descends into the Canyon. The trail provides no water, and keep a lookout for the mule riders that share the same path. If you plan to camp down in the Canyon, you will need to obtain an overnight permit from the park beforehand
  • Point Sublime Road – The Point Sublime Road is a mountain biker’s dream that offers challenging terrain, vistas of the Canyon, and treks through the Kaibab Plateau forest

Best North Rim Campgrounds

A family vacation in the North Rim campground

There are many North Rim campgrounds to choose from, but all of them recommend making your reservation a year early as they book up fast, especially from June through August.

North Rim Campground

The North Rim Campground gets its name because the land sits on the edge of the North Rim, with some of the 90 campsites offering direct views of the Canyon.

What makes this one of the best campgrounds is that there is a general store for convenient camping and food supplies next to the entrance. Coin-operated laundry and showers and a direct connection to the North Rim Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Lodge via the Transept Trail increase the camping experience.

The campground website states an RV max length of 30 feet, although there are reviews from people with more extended campers who claim the large, pull-through sites fit them just fine.

All the campsites are paved and come with a fire ring and picnic table. The campground provides no RV hookups, but there are potable water and a dump station.

Open: Mid-May through the end of October.

Cost: $18–$25 nightly per campsite

Tuweep Campground

Tuweep Campground is small, offering only nine primitive campsites, but the trade-off is a full immersion into the Canyon’s beauty and quiet.

You’ll need to procure a backcountry permit to camp at Tuweep Campground and expect a bumpy trek down the road to get there.

Rangers recommend a high-clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicle and a spare tire before heading down this unpaved road. Vehicle length must be under 22 feet, including a tow.

Just a mile south of the campground is Toroweap Overlook, which is 3,000 feet above the Colorado River and has one of the most remote and stunning views within the park. Other trails also connect to the campground for day hike enjoyment.

Pack in supplies, as there is no water, food, gas, shelter, or phone service available in this rustic location. No fires or grills are allowed, but fossil fuel camp stoves are permitted.

Permit/Camping cost: $10 for the permit plus $8 per night for camping (7-day max stay)

DeMotte Campground

The DeMotte Campground is seven miles north of the North Rim Entrance and offers 38 campsites within the Kaibab National Forest.

You can reserve half of the campground sites up to six months in advance. The other half are first-come, first-served but fill quickly.

Across the campground entrance is a gas station and a small store to grab some supplies and fill your tank.

The campground allows tents, small travel trailers, and motor homes up to 20 feet long.

No RV hookups at any site, but each has a fire pit and picnic table. Pit toilets, trash pickup, and potable water are available within the campground.

Open: May 15 – October (weather permitting)

Cost: $22 per campsite nightly

Kaibab Camper Village

For RVers looking for full hookups, Kaibab Camper Village is the only private campground near the North Rim to offer these amenities. Their 46 RV campsites can also accommodate big rigs over 40 feet.

Tenters are welcome at this campground that also provides a camp store and coin-operated showers and laundry.

Campers love the easy access to hiking and horseback trails, as well as proximity to the Grand Canyon. The campground has panoramic views of the tall pines of the Kaibab National Forest.

Open: May 14 to October 15

Cost: $40-$45 nightly per RV campsite

$20 nightly per tent site

South Rim Attractions

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon attracts the most visitors yearly, so expect more congestion along the hiking trails and overlooks, especially in the peak summer tourist months.

Here are the don’t-miss South Rim Grand Canyon attractions:

  • Biking Hermit Road – Take a family-friendly, leisurely ride down this seven-mile road that begins at Grand Canyon Village and stops at Hermit’s Nest, with amazing overlooks to enjoy along the way
  • South Rim Trail – This trail is 13 miles of fairly flat and mostly paved pathway, but you don’t have to hike the full route as shuttles make stops along the way
  • Bright Angel Trail – This trail lets you hike below the rim of the Canyon for in-depth views of the park as it meanders down to the Colorado River
  • South Kaibab Trail – This shorter but steeper trail also leads down to the Colorado River but offers more striking views, such as those found at Ooh Aah Point. Not a trail for beginners, as it requires a good amount of stamina
  • Mule Ride – Tourists love taking a mule ride into the Canyon for the novel experience. Unfortunately, tickets start booking up 15 months in advance, so plan accordingly, as last-minute cancellations are rare
  • Yavapai Museum of Geology – Learn the history and geology of the Grand Canyon at this newly renovated museum that provides the perfect balance of interesting exhibits and incredible views

Best South Rim Campgrounds

RV traveling to the South Rim campground

The South Rim offers three convenient campgrounds that put you right in the heart of the action and scenery, but sites book quickly, so make reservations in advance or arrive very early to snag a first-come, first-served campsite.

Desert View Campground

The Desert View Campground is a highly-rated campground that welcomes tenters and accommodates RVers with motorhomes or a truck and camper combo under 30 feet in total length.

The entire 50-site campground operates on a first-come, first-served reservation system, so don’t bother calling ahead; show up early as the sites fill up by noon.

There are no RV hookups, laundry, or shower facilities, but the location at the Canyon edge makes it worth it. There is a small store and gas station nearby.

The proximity to the Canyon’s rim keeps this campground warmer than others, and with nearby Desert View considered one of the most stunning vistas on the South Rim, you won’t be disappointed in your stay.

Open: April 15 through October 15

Cost: $12 per campsite nightly

Mather Campground

Mather Campground is extensive, offering over 300 campsites for tenters or RVs up to 30 feet in length, which adds bustling energy within the Ponderosa pine forest location just a half-mile from the Canyon rim.

The campground is near the shops, attractions, and restaurants in Grand Canyon Village. It offers a free shuttle to many locations within the park, and bike trails connect to the campground for direct excursions.

Hot showers and laundry are coin-operated, and leashed pets are welcome, but there are no hookups for RVs. There is a dump station and potable water next door at Camper Services.

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Open: Year-round

Cost: $18 per RV or tent campsite nightly

$6 if arriving on foot or bicycle

Reservations: Required from March 1 – November 30

Trailer Village RV Park

Trailer Village RV Campground is open all year and offers 84 full-hookup RV sites that can accept campers up to 50 feet in length.

This concessioner-ran park is near the Canyon’s rim within gorgeous high desert terrain where wildlife abounds.

All campsites have a picnic table, grill, water, 30- and 50-amp electrical plugs, cable TV, and sewage. The campground also offers coin-operated hot showers and laundry machines.

Situated next to Mather Campground, the location of this campsite is ideal to quickly reach all the excitement of Grand Canyon Village and all the natural beauty of the National Park.

Open: All year

Cost: $51 per campsite nightly

Reservations: Recommended April through October

The BEST Grand Canyon Campground

Visiting the South Rim in an RV

There is no overall best Grand Canyon campground, but here are the best for different camping styles and needs to help narrow down your options:

Best Grand Canyon Campground for Families – Trailer Village RV Park

This campground is best for families as it offers all the convenience of full hookups, laundry facilities, and an excellent location, but it isn’t as vast as the more massive Mather Campground, where kids could lose their way.

Best Grand Canyon Campground for Singles – Desert View Campground

With warmer temperatures and fewer sites, this campground offers more peace and quiet than other options. There is enough privacy without making you feel all alone, as there are plenty of other single campers enjoying the gorgeous sunrise if you care to mingle.

Best Grand Canyon Campground for Couples – North Rim Campground

The North Rim Campground provides access to fun and easy hiking trails as well as showers and laundry to keep you comfortably clean so you can snuggle up for nights of romantic stargazing.

Best Grand Canyon Campground for Adventures – Tuweep Campground

Getting to Tuweep Campground is an adventure all on its own, and once you arrive, you can challenge yourself with hikes or climbs not found in other areas of the National Park. Once you come back to your tent, you can test your survival skills by cooking and living at this primitive backcountry site.

Grand Canyon Memories

The memories you will make during your Grand Canyon vacation will last a lifetime, as there’s no other place like it on Earth.

When you stay at one of the best Grand Canyon campgrounds, you’ll increase your enjoyment and understanding of this vast wilderness, which would not happen by staying in a hotel.

The Grand Canyon offers amazing views, wildlife, history, and experiences. There’s no reason to wait. Plan your trip and book your campsite today!

Grand Canyon Camping (Video)

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