Can You Camp In The Grand Canyon?

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Anyone who has ever had a glimpse of The Grand Canyon before will tell you that there is no view in this world that could be more mesmerizing, and they would undoubtedly be correct. However, what if there’s a way to take that experience to a whole new level? Rather than a quick visit, have you ever wondered if you can camp in The Grand Canyon?

Camping in The Grand Canyon is not only possible but also highly popular and is the best way to fully experience this world-famous tourist destination. Developed campgrounds are available for tent and RV camping; however, a permit will be required for backcountry and Inner Canyon camping.

Make your experience at The Grand Canyon the best that it could be by immersing yourself in this world-renowned landmark’s exquisite scenery and breathtaking topography. Discover precisely what makes The Grand Canyon a paradise for all outdoor enthusiasts and find out why this particular place should be your next camping destination.

Camping In The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is undoubtedly one of those world-famous landmarks that has got to be on the bucket list of every traveler and outdoor enthusiast. Indeed, the Canyon’s beauty can only be described as needing to see for yourself to truly be moved by its awe-inspiring beauty. And for those fans of camping, you are in for an extra special treat.

An astounding number of roughly six million people come to see the beauty of The Grand Canyon every year. However, nowhere near that number of tourists are experiencing all that the Canyon offers. For a passionate outdoor enthusiast, a glance at The Grand Canyon – as beautiful as it is – is simply not enough.

The Grand Canyon is divided into two main sections: the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim sees the most amount of foot traffic. In fact, it is reported that roughly 90% of travelers visit the South Rim of the Canyon primarily due to its proximity to airports and famous towns like Phoenix. This is where most of the camping in the area takes place.

The North Rim of the Canyon is considered more difficult to get to; however, it is by far the more secluded experience and is by no means lesser in quality camping or viewing opportunities to its southern counterpart. Its difficulty is the only reason that it sees less traffic, though, for some, that could easily be considered as a bonus to their experience. 

There are camping opportunities at the top of The Grand Canyon where you can spend more time soaking in that glorious view. Then there are also campsites lower down in the Canyon, including one that lies right at the bottom, offering an incredibly unique experience and perspective of The Grand Canyon.

Preparing For A Camp In The Grand Canyon

No matter what destination you choose for a camping trip, any seasoned camper will be able to tell you that proper planning and preparation are vital for a successful and enjoyable time. This fact could not be more true for a camping experience in The Grand Canyon.

It is not uncommon for hikers and campers in The Grand Canyon to need to be rescued, primarily due to ill preparation and “biting off more than you can chew.” Make sure to thoroughly research each campsite that you are considering for your camping trip to determine whether it is something that you are up for.

Camping in The Grand Canyon requires planning because availability is extremely limited due to the area’s popularity. Some campsites can be fully booked for up to six months ahead, making a spontaneous camping trip a difficult task in the Canyon. However, once you have your reservation, it will be well worth the wait.

If you are looking to avoid the busyness of the developed and more popular campgrounds, then several more secluded, backcountry camping options are available. However, these will require a permit that will cost you roughly $10. Again, planning is essential here, as it will likely take some time for your permit to be issued. 

The Best Campsites In The Grand Canyon

Now that you know that camping in The Grand Canyon is possible, you are undoubtedly anxiously waiting to find out where all the incredible campsites are. There are numerous camping opportunities to be enjoyed, so we will show you a few of the best campsites in The Grand Canyon that you do not want to pass by.

Mather Campground

If you have ever heard about camping in The Grand Canyon before, it is more than likely that the Mather Campground is what you heard in conversation. The Mather Campground is one of the most popular campsites in The Grand Canyon, giving you a real sense of being submerged in nature – especially since there is no power, water, or plumbing.

Mather Campground is situated on the South Rim and comprises over 300 campsites, so even though many people visit this spot, it still retains that somewhat secluded camping feeling. Of course, you can expect absolutely breathtaking views of the Canyon and some exciting wildlife sightings like ravens and elk. 

Desert View Campground

The next Grand Canyon campsite on our list is the home to the Desert View Watchtower, built as far back as 1932. The Desert View Campground, also located on the South Rim, is a beautiful campsite to soak in the beauties of The Grand Canyon. It is also somewhat more friendly towards conservative folk, in that toilets and running water are available during the summer months.

For those who are up for a spontaneous camping trip, Desert View Campground is one of the few Grand Canyon campsites that does not take reservations but works on a “first come, first serve” basis. To ensure you get a spot, be sure to arrive here as early as possible.

It is often difficult to compare, but the views of the Canyon here are truly mesmerizing and have a certain uniqueness about them. 

Bright Angel Campground

We saved what we consider to be the best for last. Bright Angel Campground is the only official campsite at the bottom of The Grand Canyon. While most people are only after the views of the Canyon from above, the views from the base are unlike anything in this world.

Although campers are only allowed to spend a maximum of two nights at a time here, the experience will be well worth it. Campers will be able to enjoy the view of the walls of the Canyon towering above them. You will need to endure a rather extensive hike to get here, so we would say that this campsite is reserved for seasoned outdoor adventurers.

You will also be able to walk beside Bright Angel Creek, which will feel like a Godsend on the days when temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and higher! 

Lastly, since this is considered a backcountry campsite, a permit will be required, so ensure that you begin to plan as far in advance as possible. You will not regret it!


All in all, a camping experience in the majestic, awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is one not to be passed by. Indeed, you will never see the Canyon the same once you have camped here, and the experiences that you will have will surely be unforgettable. Do not pass by on an opportunity to camp in The Grand Canyon!