Hiking in the Grand Canyon

Camping is an excellent option for people who want to visit Grand Canyon National Park, but who don't want the expenses associated with saying at a lodge or motel. Developed campgrounds are available in both the North Rim and South Rim areas. Camping fees are in addition to park entrance fees, and are charged per night. Campgrounds fill up during the summer tourism season and so advanced reservations are strongly recommended. Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777.

People need to obtain backcountry permits if they want to camp in the park outside of developed campgrounds. Limited numbers of permits are available for popular areas and they usually sell out fast. People interested in camping in the backcountry should plan their trips and obtain permits months in advance.

RV parks and campgrounds are available in communities near the park's entrances and camping is allowed on Forest Service and BLM land outside of park boundaries. Check with those respective agencies for details.

North Rim Camping
The North Rim Campground is open from mid-May to mid-October. It is operated by the National Park Service and advanced reservations are accepted and encouraged. Some sites can accommodate RVs. Hookups are not available but there is a dump station within the campground. Pets are allowed but must be leashed at all times and may not be left unattended. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted in campsite grills only. Wood gathering is not allowed but firewood can be purchased at the general store. Coin operated laundry and showers are located near the entrance to the campground. Accessible campsites and restrooms are available.

South Rim Camping
The South Rim is the most popular area within Grand Canyon National Park and it offers the most visitor services. There are two developed campgrounds at the South Rim.

Mather Campground is open year-round and sites can be reserved in advance. It is located in Grand Canyon Village and offers tent and RV camping. Accessible campsites and restrooms are available. Pets are allowed but must be leashed at all times and may not be left unattended. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted in provided campsite grills only. Firewood gathering is prohibited but wood may be purchased at the general store. Laundry and showers available near the campground for a fee. The maximum size for RVs is 30-feet. Hook-ups are not available.

Trailer Village is located adjacent to Mather Campground. It is operated by Xanterra Parks and offers RV sites with hook-ups. Advance reservations may be made by calling (888) 297-2757; for same-day reservations call (928) 638-2631. A dump station (closed during the winter months) is located near Mather Campground.

Desert View Campground is open May through mid-October. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis (no advanced reservations). This campground is usually full by early afternoon during the busy summer months. It can accommodate RVs up to 30-feet maximum. It is located about 26 miles east of Grand Canyon Village.

Phantom Ranch Camping
Phantom Ranch is located along Bright Angel Creek in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It can be reached via hiking or horseback/mule trips from the canyon's North or South rims. The ranch is a popular resting spot for people doing rim-to-rim hikes, down-and-back hikes, and river trips. The National Park Service operates a campground adjacent to the ranch. The campground is extremely popular and advanced reservations are absolutely necessary. See the National Park website for information about obtaining a permit to stay overnight in this backcountry area: www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm.

Cabins are dormitory-style lodging is offered at the ranch by Xanterra Parks and Resorts (303-297-2757 or 888-297-2757).

Backcountry Camping
Backcountry camping is allowed in most areas that are away from the popular North and South rims. A backcountry permit is required any time you stay overnight in the park away from developed campgrounds. That includes automobile camping at remote viewpoints, overnight hikes, horseback rides and river trips. A backcountry permit is not needed for day trips.

Some backcountry areas are very popular and available permits sell out quickly. Backcountry information and permit applications can be obtained from the park website: www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm.

Toroweap Camping
Toroweap is a remote viewpoint located on the north rim toward the western end of the Grand Canyon. Is is accessible via a rough dirt road. Four-wheel drive is not usually needed but you do need a high clearance vehicle to drive to the viewpoint. A campground is located near the viewpoint and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Vault toilets are provided but there is no culinary water. Campsites offer tables and grills. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted but you are not allowed to gather firewood in the national park. Fees are not charged at this campground.

Havasu Falls Camping
The beautiful Havasu waterfalls are located along a tributary stream that flows into the Colorado River in the middle of the Grand Canyon. The falls are located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The tribe controls access and camping. Permits from the tribe are needed for hiking and camping at the falls. Lodge accommodations are available in the village of Supai, which is about 8 miles from the nearest road. A campground is located near the waterfalls, about 10 miles from the nearest road. People visiting the area can backpack, or the tribe will bring people in on horseback or by helicopter.

See the tribe website for more information: http://www.havasupaitribe.com/reservations.html

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