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Grand Canyon Camping Guide

Grand Canyon Camping Guide

If you’re up for an ultimate camping adventure, you’ll find one at one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders–the Grand Canyon. This enormous canyon, located in the state of Arizona, stretches over a whopping 275 miles and is one mile deep from the a section of the South Rim edge to the Colorado River waiting below. The Grand Canyon’s impressive size, natural beauty, and variety of campsite options are just a few of the reasons to make it your next camping destination. If you want to know more about Grand Canyon camping, keep reading. Featured for you here is an informative guide to camping in or around this magnificent canyon.

Developed Campground Camping

There are many developed campgrounds located near the Grand Canyon–especially around the canyon’s South Rim. If you would prefer a campground to Backcountry camping, you’ll find what you’re looking for at one of the area’s developed campgrounds. Some popular choices near the South Rim include The Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Ten-X Campground, and Camper Village. Some of these developed campgrounds offer some basic camping amenities, while others do not.  Also, while one might require you to make a reservation to camp there, another will cater to the campers that get there first. If you would like to camp at a developed campground, you can find some basic information on them by visiting the National Park Service’s website.

Backcountry Camping

If you’re an experienced camper and you don’t mind “roughing it,” the Grand Canyon’s Backcountry might be for you. There’s nothing quite like a couple of nights of camping right in the Grand Canyon itself, surrounded by its breathtaking beauty on all sides. The Backcountry is separated into different areas known as “use areas.” Certain use areas, such as Corridor, Hermit, Horseshoe Mesa, Monument, and Tapeats, have a smaller capacity when it comes to the number of campers allowed at any given time. These use areas also have a limited number of campsites. All other use areas are free of restrictions as long as campers hunker down in sites that already exist instead of going ahead and forging their own. Regardless of where you camp in the Grand Canyon’s Backcountry, permission must be granted to camp there by way of a permit. Permits are issued by the Backcountry Information Center, and contact information, guidelines, cost, and necessary forms can be found by visiting the National Park Service website. It’s important for anyone camping in the Backcountry to respect the land by following a set of principles referred to as “Leave No Trace.” These principles were put into place to protect the Grand Canyon, so that it remains the wondrous place that it is today. Never leave anything behind that’s brought in, refrain from altering campsites, stay on designated trails–these are just a few of the principles that you’ll find at the National Park Service website.

Camping in Havasu Canyon

Havasu Canyon, nestled between the West and South Rims of the Grand Canyon, is a marvelous place to camp if you’re in good health and you enjoy hiking. Home to the Havasupai Indians, this part of the Grand Canyon isn’t easy to get to. The gateway to Havasu Canyon is Hualapai Hilltop, and you can only get through on foot, horseback, or by helicopter. While there, take in some of the area’s gorgeous sights–including the turquoise-blue waters of Havasu Lake and the tumbling waterfalls known as Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Navajo falls. Those who wish to camp in this beautiful location must get permission from the Havasupai tribe prior to their arrival– information can be found by checking out the tribe’s website.

Grand Canyon Hiking Map

Harvey Butchart's Grand Canyon Hiking Map - By brewbooks (Flickr)

Fun Things to Do

There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do while camping in or around the Grand Canyon. Hike one of the canyon’s many hiking trails, book an exciting white-water rafting excursion down the Colorado River, climb the Watchtower at Desert View Park, or take a journey via horse or mule while you’re there. And don’t forget your camera–photo opportunities are endless if you just want to take in the scenery. If you like the great outdoors, rest-assured there’s no shortage of adventures available when it comes to Grand Canyon camping.


Camping trips are no fun if you aren’t properly prepared for them–and if you’re camping in or around the Grand Canyon, it’s critical that you’re prepared for anything. Before you start packing, be sure you make advanced reservations if you’ll be camping where they’re required, and don’t forget to obtain a permit if you need one. After all arrangements are taken care of, put together a checklist to help you pack. Make sure you have tents, flashlights, sleeping bags, extra blankets, a cooler, a small camping stove, a first-aid kit, sunscreen, and anything else you’ll need to make your camping experience a comfortable one. Pack clothing for any weather condition you might face, and don’t forget to bring along plenty of water, food, and snacks to last the duration of your trip.

The Grand Canyon is a great place to go if you want to experience camping in its truest form. With so many places to camp and endless scenery to marvel at, a camping trip to this extraordinary place will stay with you for a lifetime.

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