Value Score No Data
Good For Solo
one of the National Park's best run campgrounds
Camping at the Grand Canyon South Rim is quite an experience no matter how you do it. In high-season, you need to reserve in advance, especially for the very popular Mather Campground. We arrived in early May which is not so bad but still not exactly empty. Though it is a bit cold for some to tent camp, it is one of the better times of year to hike. In the high season of summer, it can be oppressively hot especially on the Canyon floor, and of course hiking out!.
Unique Quality: Though Mather is a big campground, it has many loops and each one named after a different tree. Appropriately, the tree its named after is the one most prominent in the loop. This makes for a nice variety if you are there for an extended time. The spots are decently spaced out and you don't feel like you're right on top of your neighbor. There is a kiosk where you pay for your spot and you can conveniently use credit card. If you arrive after the kiosk is closed, you look on a board at what is taken and then go out and grab a spot, returning in the morning to pay. We did that our first night but reserved a spot for when we came back from our backcountry trip. It's not a cheap campground at $18 a night but it's the Grand Canyon and the amenities are good with showers and laundromat right there, and a shuttle bus stop that will take you to all the overlooks.
There is a first-come first-served campground called Desert View which doesn't have quite as good a location but good if you arrive in high-season without a reservation.
Camp on the Edge
Although I don't remember exactly where we stayed when we visited the Canyon, I do know that we didn't stay at a campground.
Unique Quality: Reviews under the Grand Canyon general page for this campground include ones by PotatoAddict, and dpeirce
Directions: Mather Campground is located in the village. When coming from the South Rim entrance, turn left on Center Road... but be careful! They didn't put the road name in the intersection
South Rim Camping
Campsites are roomy and spaced far enough for privacy . Bathrooms and showers were clean. Showers (hot) are coin operated ($1 for 5 minutes). Laundry facility is available if needed. A word of advice, get a space a little away from the bathroom to avoid the continuous flashlights & footsteps.
The campground is close to Market Plaza (general store, post office & shuttle stop).
This is the only campground in the Grand Canyon Village so it fills up really fast. You can reserve your spot up to 6 months in advance. $15/night
Camping at Mather Campground
1. The campground is sold out almost every night from around mid March to October. SO you WILL need a reservation. You can reserve Family Sites 6 months ahead, & Group Sites 1 year ahead. The earlier you reserve, the better your choices. If you have any special requests ( need several sites together, close to a bathroom, far from a bathroom, close but not too close to a bathroom, have a dog, favorite campsite, ect), let the reservation agent know & put this request into your reservation. If you make your reservation yourself online, add it in. You can now reserve a specific site.
For reservations for March-November 12 ($18/nite) call 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639). Or do it yourself at: http://www.recreation.gov/az/Mather_South_Rim_Campground/Campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?agency=NRSO&parkId=70971
The campground staff will do everything possible to honor your advance request. (no guarantees however) It helps them ALOT if they know your requests IN ADVANCE! Be nice to them (you will get a much better campsite!)- the long lines are not their fault!
2. Firewood is available for purchase, BUT it's $6 for a small bundle. Much cheaper to bring your own. You can not gather wood inside the Park, but outside in the National Forest is OK.
3. There is a 30' size limit for RV's. So, if you tell the staff your rig is 32', they must turn you away. No hook ups. Limited generator hours. If you need a full hookup site for your 45' Prevost, Trailer Village is nextdoor. http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/Trailer-Village-705.html
Too many folks were getting their Big Rigs stuck on trees. So the 30' limit was imposed in Mather Campground. No limit nextdoor in Trailer Village.
4. Campground is self serve during the Winter. $15/ nite. Bring a snow shovel to clear an area for your tent. Most sites right now (3/1/10) are covered with 3-4'+ of snow.
Directions: Grand Canyon Village, South Rim
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