Grand Canyon Feature

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Best Grand Canyon Campgrounds

Within the national park, camping is permitted only in designated campsites. Some campgrounds charge nightly camping fees in addition to entrance fees, and some accept reservations up to five months in advance through www.recreation.gov. Others are first-come, first-served.

In-park camping in a spot other than a developed rim campground requires a permit from the Backcountry Information Center, which also serves as your reservation. Permits can be requested by mail or fax only; applying well in advance is recommended. Call 928/638-7875 between 1 pm and 5 pm Monday through Friday for information.

Outside the park boundaries, there are campgrounds near the South and North Rims, and in Havasu Canyon and the Kaibab National Forest. There's no camping on the West Rim, but you can pitch a tent on the beach near the Colorado River.

South Rim

Bright Angel Campground. This backcountry campground is near Phantom Ranch on the South and North Kaibab trails, at the bottom of the canyon. There are toilet facilities and running water, but no showers. Intersection of South and North Kaibab trails, Grand Canyon 928/638-7875.

Desert View Campground. Popular for spectacular views of the canyon from the nearby watchtower, this campground doesn't take reservations; show up before noon, as it fills up fast in summer. Desert View Dr., 23 miles east of Grand Canyon Village off Hwy. 64, Grand Canyon National Park.

Indian Garden. Halfway down the canyon is this backcountry campground, en route to Phantom Ranch on the Bright Angel Trail. Running water and toilet facilities are available, but not showers. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon 928/638-7875.

Trailer Village. This campground in Grand Canyon Village has RV sites—but no tent-camping sites—with full hookups and bathroom facilities, though the bathrooms are 0.5 mi from the campground. The facility is very busy in spring and summer, so make reservations ahead of time. The dump station is closed in winter. Pros: best spot for RVs because of full hookups; walking distance to restaurants and grocery store; open all year. Cons: in crowded part of South Rim. Off Village Loop Dr., Grand Canyon Village, AZ, 86023. 303/297–2757; 888/297–2757 reservations only. 303/297–3175 reservations only. www.grandcanyonlodges.com. 79 RV sites. In-hotel: some pets allowed, flush toilets, full hookups, dump station, drinking water, guest laundry, showers, fire grates. Open year-round.

North Rim

North Rim Campground. The only designated campground at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park sits three miles north of the rim, and has 84 RV and tent sites (no hookups). Hwy. 67, North Rim 928/638-7888 www.recreation.gov.

Outside the Park

Diamond Creek. You can camp on the banks of the Colorado River, but your peace might be interrupted by the fact that this smooth beach is a launch point for river runners. The Hualapai permit camping on their tribal lands here, with an overnight camping permit of $32.10 per person per night, which can be purchased at the Hualapai Lodge. 928/769-2210 or 888/255-9550.

Kaibab Camper Village. Fire pits and more than 70 picnic tables are spread out in this wooded spot, near a gas station, store, and restaurant. Reservations, accepted by the Canyoneers outfitter, are recommended, particularly during the height of the busy summer season. There are 20 tent sites ($17 for up to four people) and 60 RV and trailer sites ($36 for a pull-through with full hookup, $17 without hookup). Pros: away from canyon crowds; closest RV hookups to North Rim; hiking trail on-site. Cons: although en route to North Rim, it's still 45 miles away. Forest Rd 461 off Hwy. 67, Jacob Lake, AZ. 928/643–7804 in season; 928/526–0924 off-season. www.kaibabcampervillage.com. 60 full hookups, 20 tent sites. In-hotel: some pets allowed, portable toilets, full hookups, drinking water, showers, fire pits, picnic tables. Mid-May–mid-Oct.

Havasu Canyon. You can stay in the primitive campgrounds in Havasu Canyon for $17 per person per night, in addition to the $35-per-person entry fee plus a $5 environmental-care fee. 928/448-2121, 928/448-2174, 928/448-2180, or 928/448-2141 www.havasupaitribe.com.

Kaibab National Forest. Both developed and undeveloped campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis May through September at this forest that surrounds Williams and extends to the Grand Canyon. 928/699-1239 or 928/638-2443 www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab.

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