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Grand Canyon Camper Van Rental: Tips for Grand Canyon RV Camping

Grand Canyon Visitors Guide

The Grand Canyon needs no introduction. No landscape or natural feature in the United States as globally recognized or revered as the Grand Canyon. President Teddy Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon as the “One great site every American should see.” Step to the rim of the Grand Canyon and watch the earth vanish below. The Grand Canyon drops 6,000 feet down and stretches for a seemingly impossible 277 miles. At the depths of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River serpentines through the red rock landscape, creating several bubbling creeks, turquoise tributaries, and rushing waterfalls along the way. While the park hosts millions of visitors yearly, it’s easy to find solitude along the Grand Canyon’s 595 miles of trails and 278 miles of the Colorado River. 

Grand Canyon National Park 

Grand Canyon National Park is 1902 square miles, bigger than the state of Rhode Island and large enough to impact local weather systems significantly.

The park is divided into two regions, the South Rim and the North Rim. Outside of the park, three more areas make up the total Grand Canyon: Horseshoe Bend to the east of the park and Havasu Falls and Grand Canyon West to the West of the park.  It takes a whopping four-and-a-half hours to get from one rim to the other, so plan your visit carefully. 

Please note that visitors must pay an entrance fee of $35 per vehicle. Alternatively, if you have a National Parks Pass, that will cover your entry into the park. If you do not have one, they can be purchased at pickup at the hub. 

It will take roughly 3 hours and 24 minutes to travel the 234 miles to Grand Canyon National Park from our Escape Campervans Phoenix location

It takes approximately 4 hours and 12 minutes to drive the 274.6 miles to the Grand Canyon from our Las Vegas location.

Explore the rest of Northern Arizona with this itinerary. Or, if you are looking to escape the heat, travel further north and explore Colorado’s National Parks. 

Why a Grand Canyon Camper Van Rental?

The perfect blend of mobility and comfort: A Grand Canyon camper van rental gives you unparalleled mobility and comfort and allows you to explore the far reaches of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North. Grand Canyon RV camping means you are limited on where you can park and camp. They’re also hard to drive. A Grand Canyon camper van rental offers the best of both worlds–camping made comfortable and easy meals on the go. Navigate winding Arizona roads with ease, get to remote dispersed campsites, and enjoy all the freedoms of camper van travel. 

View overlooking the Grand Canyon

Easy to drive: Unlike giant RVs, camper vans drive just like normal cars, fit into regular parking spots, and are easy to use both in nature and in the city. Camper vans are unrivaled when it comes to dispersed camping. Access remote campsites and trails in the far corners of the desert and blend in seamlessly while exploring the streets of Phoenix or Vegas. 

Flexible Camping: Since camper vans don’t require electrical or sewer hookups, you have the flexibility to camp in tent-designated campsites and remote dispersed sites.  

Convenient and fun: With dozens of add-ons and several spacious models, our camper vans make spending the night in nature easy and enjoyable. You can pack everything you need for a multi-day and multi-activity adventure in your van and not waste time setting up a tent or looking for Grand Canyon RV camping/ parking. 

Preparing for a Trip to Grand Canyon National Park 

Gear

Sun Protection: The desert sun is no joke. Bring ample sun protection, including sun hats, sunglasses, UPF clothing, and plenty of sunscreen.

Layers: The weather in the desert can change without warning. The days can be sunny, but the night temperatures can drop quickly as soon as the sun goes down. Remember to bring layers for chilly desert nights.

Water & Food: A camper van lets you take everything you need on the road. When exploring the desert, always bring more water than you think you need. Escape Camper Vans has everything you need to chef it up on your camping trip. Consider adding a kitchen kit to your Grand Canyon camper van rental to complete your booking.

Campsites

Campervans fit in almost every standard-sized campsite and don’t require complicated electrical or water hookups, making camping easy. 

Dispersed camping vs. campsites: A van makes dispersed camping easy. You can disperse camp for free on federal and BLM land. There are plenty of apps to help you find a dispersed camping site on your route. If you’re considering booking a campsite in the park, make sure you book six months before your trip.

Navigation

Phones & Chargers: Navigation is integral to your trip’s success. Make sure you bring a smartphone or GPS device and a charger.

Downloaded Maps: In the desert, you never know when you’re going to lose service. Download maps of the region offline in case you lose service.

Must-See Sights, Events, and Places in Grand Canyon National Park 

South Rim 

Visit the Viewpoints Near Grand Canyon Village: The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park has miles of paved road, which makes it easy to find the celebrated viewpoints scattered throughout the park. There are dozens of viewpoints along the South Rim, and many of them are located within reach of Grand Canyon Village. To get to these viewpoints, walk along the Rim Trail or take the shuttle (Kaibab Rim Route, orange line). Near Grand Canyon Village, you’ll find the popular Mather Point, Yavapai Point, Yaki Point, and Ooh Aah Point.

Take a Stroll on the South Rim Trail: The South Rim Trail is a mostly flat, paved trail that traces the edge of the rim for 12 miles, from Hermit’s Rest to the South Kaibab trailhead. The trail is realtively easy but long. Pick a portion to hike or tackle the whole thing. 

Man on a hike on the south kaibab trail in a Grand Canyon camper van rental.

Hike The Bright Angel Trail: The Bright Angel Trail is a popular descent into the Grand Canyon that starts on the rim and ends at the Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River, 9.5 miles and 4380 feet later. It’s usually done as a backpacking route but can be done as a grueling out and back. Many hikers choose to do a portion of the trail as an out and back. There are two rest houses along the trail used as turnarounds: one is 1.5 miles into the canyon (used for a 3-mile round trip), and the other is 3 miles into the canyon (making a 6-mile round trip). 

Hike the South Kaibab Trail: As another stunning descent route into the canyon, the South Kaibab Trail stretches for roughly 7 miles and drops 4800 feet toward the Colorado River. This route is shorter and steeper than the heavily trafficked Bright Angel Trail. Additionally, the trail is more exposed, which makes for better views with more technical hiking. To tackle the Kaibab Trail as a day hike, consider turning around at one of the following markers: Ooh Aah Point (1.8 miles round trip), Cedar Ridge (3 miles round trip), or Skeleton Point (6 miles round trip). 

Visit the Scenic Overlooks along Desert View Drive: Desert View Drive is not serviced by shuttle, so you’ll need to drive to these viewpoints. Desert View Drive is 25 miles long and possesses some of the best views in the entire park, including Shoshone Point, Grand View Point, Moran Point, and Desert View Point. 

Take a Mule Trip into the Canyon: If hiking into the Grand Canyon isn’t your thing, consider taking a mule trip into the canyon. Xantera offers mule trips into the Canyon from the South Rim. These mule rides have become so popular that tickets are offered by lottery. 

Hike Grandview to Horseshoe Mesa: This 5.6-mile out-and-back trail located in the south rim of the park is one of the most remote hikes in the South Rim area and offers reprieve from the crowds.

Visit the Scenic Lookouts along Hermit Road: Hermit Road stretches for 7 miles. From March 1 to November 30, you must take the Grand Canyon Shuttle (red line) to travel along Hermit Road. Hermit Road is open to drivers during the winter, but parking is limited. You’ll encounter Powell Point, Mohave Point, and Prima Point along Hermit Road.

North Rim 

Hike the Canyon Rim Trail: Take a stroll along the Canyon Rim to get acquainted with this side of the park. The Canyon Rim Trail is mostly level and stretches for 13 miles. 

Hike the Cape Royal Viewpoint: If you’re looking for epic views without a grueling trail, head to Cape Royal Viewpoint to look out over the North Rim. This hike is just over 1-mile round trip.

Couple standing infront of the Grand Canyon

Hike to Bright Angle Point: Not to be confused with Bright Angel Trail, which descends the canyon from the South Rim, Bright Angel Point is a short 0.5-mile trail (1 mile round trip) to the scenic lookout. On this short trek, hikers can see the land transition from the lush green forests of the Kaibab Plateau to a stunted and sparse collection of desert pinyon and juniper. 

Hike the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs: This challenging day hike is an 8.4-mile out and back that descends 3050 feet into the canyon. The hike typically takes 6-9 hours and travels through some of the park’s most unique scenery, including the Supai Tunnel and Eye of the Needle. 

Take the Cape Royal Scenic Drive: See the North Rim in all her glory without getting out of your car in this breathtaking 23-mile drive. The Cape Royal Road winds through the Walhalla Plateau and ends at the Cape Royal viewpoint. 

Hike the North Kaibab to Coconino Overlook: Take on the North Kaibabe Trail in this moderate trek to the famed Coconino Overlook. The trail is a 3.4 mile out and back that descends 1,377 feet into the canyon to the Coconio Overlok, a sandstone ridge that jets out into the canyon and offers some of the best views from the North Rim area. 

Camping in Grand Canyon National Park 

Camping in the Grand Canyon is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the surrounding landscape. There are park-maintained campgrounds in both the North and South Rim. Campgrounds in the North Rim are open seasonally, closing for winter. There are both year-round and seasonal campgrounds available in the South Rim. Park-maintained campgrounds are reservable up to six months in advance and go quickly. There are plenty of options for camping outside the park, including private campgrounds and dispersed camping in the nearby Kaibab National Forest. For more information on dispersed camper van and RV camping, click here

South Rim

Mather Campground: Located in the South Rim Grand Canyon Village, Mather Campground offers 327 sites.  Each spacious site has a fire ring with a cooking grate, a picnic table, and enough room for three tents and two vehicles. Campers have access to flush toilets and drinking water. This campground is open year-round. Make your reservations here

Escape Camper Van rental parked in front of the Grand Canyon

Trailer Village RV Park: This Grand Canyon campground is a full Grand Canyon RV camping village with hookups that is centrally located in Canyon Village and open year-round.  Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance. If you’re visiting during the summer, we recommend making reservations one year in advance. Campers will have access to grills, picnic tables, and RV hookups. 

Desert View Campground: Open from April 13 through October 13, Desert View Campground offers 49 campsites available by reservation. Reservations open six months in advance and fill quickly. Campers will have access to fire rings, picnic tables, and restrooms. This campground is pet-friendly

Ten-X Campground: Ten-X Campground is located just 4 miles south of the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. This peaceful campground has 142 sites scattered across five connected loops. 30 of these sites are not reservable, first-come, first-serve sites. The rest can be reserved here. Sites include picnic tables, grills, and fire rings with access to nearby pit toilets. 

Grand Canyon Village RV Park & Campground: Located just one mile from the South Rim entrance, the Grand Canyon Village RV Park and Camp Ground offers year-round camping. With an Imax Theater, General Store, restaurants, and shopping within walking distance, camping here has its perks. Tent and Grand Canyon RV camping sites are available. Campsites have fire rings and picnic tables. Campers will have access to restroom facilities and coin-operated showers.  

North Rim 

North Rim Campground: The North Rim Campground is open May through October and sits at an elevation of 8,200 feet, offering campers a more remote and wilderness-centric camping experience than that available in the South Rim. Many campers arrive on foot from the South Rim, but the campground is accessible to vehicles as well. There are 90 tent sites with picnic tables and fire rings with cooking grates. Drinking water, flush toilets, showers, and laundry facilities are available nearby. Make your reservations here.

DeMotte Campground: Located within the North Kaibab Ranger District, just seven miles from the north entrance to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, the DeMotte Campground offers 38 receivable campsites. Campsites come with picnic tables, fire rings, and cooking grills. Campers will have access to drinking water and vault toilets. The DeMotte Campground is open from May to October.  

When is the Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon?

While most people choose to visit in the summer, the Grand Canyon is a year-round destination and undeniably beautiful during the winter.  Most people associate the northern Arizona landscape with scorching heat, and for much of the year, they’re right. The Grand Canyon, however, ranges in elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level and sees its fair share of winter weather. It’s possible and highly enjoyable to visit the park in the winter, just beware of closures and restrictions that may be in place during that time.

The Grand Canyon in the winter.

Summer: Summer is when the Grand Canyon is at its hottest and most crowded. Temperatures are typically well into the 80s along the rim and can reach triple digits inside the canyon. Additionally, monsoon season coincides with summer, so heavy, sporadic rains are common, especially in July. Beat the crowds and the heat by arriving in the park early in the morning. Limit mid-day sun exposure if possible, wear sunscreen, and bring plenty of water.  

Spring: Early spring visitors in the Grand Canyon may still encounter winter weather.  As spring wears on, the snow melts, the wildflowers bloom, and the canyon comes to life. Daytime temperatures range from 50-70°F, and the crowds start to arrive as the warm weather arrives. 

Fall: Fall in the Grand Canyon is as good as it gets. Temperatures typically hang around the 60s but can plummet to as low as 20°F at night. Pack layers and enjoy the crisp fall air. 

Winter: While the rest of Arizona experiences mild winters, the Grand Canyon receives plenty of snow and cold weather thanks to its high elevation. Average temperatures during the winter hover around 40°F and often fall into the teens at night. The North Rim is significantly colder than the South Rim and experiences regular daytime temperatures below freezing. If you have the right gear, camping in the winter in the Grand Canyon can be a magical experience. 

Grand Canyon Camper Van Rental With Escape Camper Vans

The perfect blend of mobility and comfort: A camper van gives you the ultimate blend of mobility and comfort and allows you to explore the best of the North and South Rim. When Grand Canyon RV camping, you’re limited on where to park and stay. A camper van offers the best of both worlds–camping made comfortable and easy meals on the go. Navigate winding mountain roads easily, get to remote, dispersed campsites, and enjoy all the freedoms of a Grand Canyon camper van rental. 

Easy to drive: Unlike giant RVs, camper vans drive just like normal cars, fit into regular parking spots, and are easy to use both in nature and in the city. Camper vans are unrivaled when it comes to dispersed camping. They make accessing remote campsites and trails in the far corners of the desert a breeze without compromising the ability to explore the city. 

Flexible Camping: Since camper vans don’t require complicated electrical or sewer hookups, you have the flexibility to camp in tent-designated campsites and remote dispersed sites.  

Convenient and fun: With dozens of add-ons and several spacious models, our camper vans make spending the night in nature easy and enjoyable. You can pack everything you need for a multi-day and multi-activity adventure with you in your van and not waste time setting up a tent or looking for RV-designated camping/parking. 

Explore the Grand Canyon

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