Grand camping?
August 18, 2005 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Where should I camp out at the Grand Canyon?

Three of us (21 year old males) are roadtripping from the west coast to east coast next week and we're looking to stay one night near the Canyon. We'll have two small tents and enjoy adventure. All advice is appreciated.
posted by foraneagle2 to Travel & Transportation around Arizona (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Stay where you can get a space; it's all by reservation in the park. The reservations system is at , or try looking for no-shows or cancellations when you get there.

There are national forests outside the park as well where camping should be easier to come by.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:31 PM on August 18, 2005

Summer without reservations is bad timing. I did it, though, by camping out on the north side in the National Forest that's nearby. National Forests are pretty much open camping. They had some primitive sites, but unless there's a fire alert you can pitch a tent where you please.

The spot I was in was about the southernmost part of the National Forest before the park itself starts, to the east of the road in. It was about a 10 minute walk to the rim of the entrance to the Grand Canyon. Beautiful and relatively empty.

BTW, if you're driving through consider skipping the Grand Canyon entirely and spending the time somewhere like Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands, or Bryce Canyon, or Zion Canyon. The Grand Canyon is amazing, but it's a two day commitment to really see the place by hiking down and back up. Other parks are also beautiful and amazing but a lot easier to visit.
posted by Nelson at 5:55 PM on August 18, 2005

Havasu Falls. There is nothing better than hiking all the way down through the grand canyon, getting hot, dirty and sweaty, and then turning a corner and finding a bright blue beautiful waterfall. One of the most spectacular experiences of my life. If you are a experienced hiker, I HIGHLY reccomend hiking to the falls. I did a night hike, (during the day in the summer would be killer) and we got there just as the sun was coming up. We spent a day maybe two hanging out in the falls and relaxing and then we night-hiked back. Totally awesome experience and AMAZINGLY beautiful. I don't know about reserving spots in the campsite, but according to this site:

"The Havasupai Reservation charges $20 per person for entry and $10 to camp. To reserve a campsite, contact the Havasupai Tourist Enterprise, Box 160, Supai, AZ 86433, 928-448-2121"
posted by geryon at 7:46 PM on August 18, 2005

I second the advice to see Zion or Bryce instead. The Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon, but a place like Zion/Bryce has all the beauty (much more, in my opinion) and half the tourists.

To actually answer your question however, see this recent thread with some tips for securing a campground.
posted by rafter at 8:23 PM on August 18, 2005

Response by poster: ok, now same question, Zion instead of GC...
posted by foraneagle2 at 11:48 PM on August 18, 2005

Response by poster: like, if we go to Zion instead, what are the good camp sites there?
posted by foraneagle2 at 11:50 PM on August 18, 2005

Advice: Stay far, far away from Elko, Nevada.

Fortunately, this advice is easy to follow unless you're headed to the Sierra Nevadas.

Havasu Falls. There is nothing better than hiking all the way down through the grand canyon, getting hot, dirty and sweaty, and then turning a corner and finding a bright blue beautiful waterfall.

I heartily second this suggestion. Though be aware it's monsoon season there right now, and preparation for wet desert weather and some extra care for flash-flooding needs to be taken. Reservations are necesary, too, and hard to come by, so do call ahead.

Also consider: Toroweap if you've got a hardy vehicle. You end up camping right next to a mind-blowing view of the depths of the Grand Canyon.

As for Zion... camp in the park. That's the best place. Watchman is the campground I've used almost every time. If you can't get a spot there, you could try some of the state or private campgrounds near St. George, but it's a bit out of the way. I understand there's a hostel in Kanab, too, and probably some private camping as well.
posted by weston at 2:19 AM on August 19, 2005

Last August we camped at the North Rim without reservations, it was not overrun with tourists. It was an awesome time, but for one night probably isn't worth it. The drive off the main roads and to the canyon is painfully long. Two nights, no problem.
posted by AtomicToaster at 9:36 AM on August 19, 2005

I'd like to second the Havasu suggestion. It's one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been. I went in early September and there was only one other camper there, so you may have an easy time getting a reservation. It is out of the way though - it would be a strenuous trip for just a night. The village is about 7 miles into the canyon, and the waterfalls are between 1 and 4 miles from the village.
posted by sophie at 2:37 PM on August 19, 2005

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