There are two main campground areas in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Mather Campground is right inside of Grand Canyon Village and is reservable while Desert Campground is located in the east entrance of South Rim about 25 miles form Grand Canyon Village and is on a first come basis.
You truly cannot go wrong with either campground while visiting Grand Canyon National Park but there is one that stands out to me.
The Desert Campground is and will always be my favorite campground in the United States. I could be biased on this due to it being one of the first National Park campgrounds I ever stayed it. Still I think it has a lot to offer new and experienced campers alike who are visiting one of my favorite parks.
The campground is located in the East Entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park and is connected to Grand Canyon Village by Highway 64 or better known as the Desert View Drive. Even if you are not staying at the Desert View Campground I highly encourage everyone to do the scenic drive for some amazing overlooks and breathtaking views.
The Desert Campground is on a first come basis normally opened from April to October depending on weather. *Just an FYI it is currently closed due to covid-19 restrictions across National Parks and parts of Arizona. You can check HERE for more information directly from the National Park Service.
I stayed at the Desert View Campground during my Southwest Roadtrip (you can read more HERE on that road trip) and to this date it was an unforgettable stay. I stayed at Flagstaff, AZ the night before in order to get into the park bright and early and a secure a spot. According to my research and park rangers most spots fill up by 12pm noon but I wouldn’t risk waiting past 9am depending on the time of year.
The campground only holds 50 campsites and some even hold RVs up to 30ft in length. I will say 30ft will be tight in a lot of the campsites since they are in a loop setup. So if you are coming with an RV that large make sure to get their early to get a campsite you feel comfortable pulling into.
I was lucky to get a spot near the restrooms and pay station which some might not like but I enjoyed the convenience. The other reason I enjoyed this spot was how close it was to a fresh water spigot and the campsite park ranger was also right by us which offered great tips and conversations during the nights.
The other highlight of the campground is how close it is to the Mary Colter Desert View Watchtower and the amazing views it offers. The tower and seating area where they have nightly ranger talks is a quick walk from the campsite area. The tower was supposed to be a rest area for visitors to enjoy amazing view of the canyons but until 2015 was set up as a gift shop. When I last visited the tower was closed but that doesn’t take away from the views you get at the foot of it. If you want to learn more about the tower and its designer you can HERE.
The other highlight is how close you are to the camp store that offers most essentials you will need like ice, gas and basic camp food and tools. The camp store is rather overpriced but that is just every camp store inside a national park.
Lastly I truly recommend anyone visiting to also go to the nightly ranger talks that are hosted at the foot of the tower and are a quick walk from the campground. Depending on what night you go and what ranger is talking they cover everything from how the canyon was form, to wildlife in the area to some of the mining history that took place here.
The U.S. National Park Service is quite amazing and something every American and visitor to this country should experience. Staying at a campground inside such an amazing park just elevates the experience to new heights. This is something I recommend to everyone, even if you do not want to camp getting an RV for the weekend will make for an unforgatable trip!
The Desert View Campground offers a lot of things but I like to sum it up with a few things. The campground gets you inside the park but outside the mayhem of Grand Canyon Village while at the same time offering benefits of a campstore nearby and the Desert Watchtower Ranger Talks a quick walk away.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Did you stay in the park or commute in for hikes?
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