Few would dispute that the Grand Canyon is one of the ultimate iconic destinations of the American West, and what better way to experience it than in a campervan? But what camps are ideal for campervans? Is there dispersed camping? How best to prepare for the van camping in the Grand Canyon?
This post will be your quick guide to camping in one of the great Natural Wonders of the World.
Why the Grand Canyon?
This might seem like a silly question to those who already know this majestic place, but for the few who may not, why should you choose the Grand Canyon? Over one mile deep, 277 miles long, and 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon is aptly named. But beyond simply being large, it also contains spectacular views, interesting geological features, and lots of amazing trails and camping areas. I won’t belabor the point, the Grand Canyon is amazing, enough said about that.
Ways to Camp in Grand Canyon
Of course, like any major National Park, the Grand Canyon has designated (and popular) lodging of various kinds, ranging from basic sites for tent camping to indoor accommodations like cabins. As a van camper, you’ll be looking for either outdoor campsites in a paid camping area, with facilities, or dispersed camping. However, due to the Grand Canyon’s popularity, most of these sites require advanced reservations, sometimes by many months, especially those with more facilities.
To avoid this requirement, and also perhaps some of the crowds, you can try something like Desert View Campground, which is less crowded and available on a first-come-first-served basis, only. True to its name, it also includes some beautiful views, and even the drive in is quite amazing. If you don’t see any campsites available, try asking around for who is leaving.
Alternatively, you may want to try Ten-X, which has larger, and more remote campsites. The situation is similar here to Desert View, in that there are no reservations possible, but it can be a great place to park and use as a base for exploration, and includes bathroom facilities. Another good option is the Kaibob National Forest to the South, which is free to camp anywhere throughout, as a National Forest with dispersed camping.
Van Camping in desert locations comes with its own special checklist of precautions and considerations. For one thing, you’ll want to be well-stocked on groceries, as restocking may involve a very long drive with possible traffic due to tourists. It’s generally a good idea to search for all grocery stores in the area on Google Maps, and keep them in mind when planning, if you anticipate needing to re-stock. You’ll also want to stay topped up on gasoline, keeping it above half full any time you see a station. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that sunscreen and water are critical in a desert camping excursion, but also consider shower facilities, if you need or want them, which are available at the visitor’s center, or some campgrounds.