Grand Canyon Village
Campgrounds tend to be crowded in the warmer months and it's strongly recommended to have a reservation from mid-March to Oct.; otherwise, try to arrive before noon to look for a site. RVers have a dump station near the entrance to Mather Campground. Rangers enforce the "No Camping Outside Designated Sites" policy with stiff fines. Camping inside the Canyon or in backcountry areas atop the rim requires a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.
Mather Campground (800/365-2267 advance reservations, 928/638-7888 same day, www.recreation.gov/, $15) welcomes both tenters and RVers year-round with drinking water but no hookups. Family sites have a limit of six people, three tents, and two vehicles. A Senior or Access Pass gets you in at half price. Reservations are a good idea most of the year, and can be made for family and group sites. If you're willing to brave the cold weather of Dec.-Feb., all sites are first-come, first-served and cost $10. Backpackers and bicyclists have a walk-in area for $4 per person, no reservations needed; it has space even when the campground is signed "FULL." Coin-operated showers, laundry, and ice lie a short walk away at Camper Services near the campground entrance. You can attend campfire programs during the warmer months.
Just east of Mather Campground, Trailer Village ($24 RVs w/hookups) stays open all year. Reservations two months in advance are highly recommended from the week before Easter to the end of October and on any holiday; you can make them with Xanterra South Rim (6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600N, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, 888/297-2757 or 303/297-2757 advance reservations up to 23 months, 928/638-2631 same-day reservations, fax 303/297-3175, or online at www.grandcanyonlodges.com). When making reservations, you can request a site for your size rig or even a space suitable for tenting. Coin-operated showers, laundry, and ice at Camper Services are within walking distance.
This campground, just inside the East Entrance Station 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village, has sites in a pinyon pine-juniper woodland with drinking water but no hookups. It's open mid-May-Oct., weather permitting, for $10; no reservations taken.
Grand Canyon Camper Village (928/638-2887 or 877/638-2887, $20 tents or RVs no hookups, $36-46 w/hookups) offers coin showers and a playground. You can stay in a tepee ($25) during the warmer months. RVs have lots of space to maneuver, while tenters can pitch among the trees on a hill in the back. Reservations can be made only for the hookup sites, though spaces are usually available. The campground may close in winter.
Ten X Campground (May-Sept., $10), in the ponderosa pines of the Kaibab National Forest, has drinking water but no hookups or showers; there's usually room. Amphitheater programs take place weekend evenings. From Tusayan, go south two miles (between Mileposts 233 and 234), then turn east a quarter mile. Group sites nearby can be reserved; ask at the Tusayan Ranger Station (928/638-2443).
Dispersed camping off the unpaved roads in the Kaibab National Forest south of the park is another possibility—just practice no-trace camping, carry your own drinking water and a shovel, and stay at least a quarter mile from the nearest paved road and any surface water. Staff at the Tusayan Ranger Station, on the right one mile north of Tusayan, can suggest areas for dispersed camping. Be sure to heed posted fire restrictions—campfires and charcoal fires are often prohibited during the dry months of early summer. The Kaibab Forest map (Williams and Tusayan Districts) shows the back roads.
Flintstones Bedrock City (928/635-2600, $12 tents or RVs, $16 w/hookups) provides a campground 28 miles south of Grand Canyon Village on AZ 64. The theme park also offers a store, snack bar, coin showers, and laundry. Sites lack charm and are exposed to the winds. Open year-round, but no water hookups in winter.
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