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Planning a multi-day hike in the canyon? Here are some tips for camping inside the Grand Canyon at campgrounds or in the backcountry.
This is part of a Hiking the Grand Canyon series! Read more Grand Canyon hiking tips here: Hiking the Grand Canyon, Training to Hike the Grand Canyon, Hiking Food Ideas, + Grand Canyon Trails.
Are you planning to hike inside the Grand Canyon?
If you want to hike to the river, you should plan on camping inside the canyon.
Here’s what you should know!
Camping Inside the Grand Canyon: At the Bottom
The Bright Angel Campground is a reservation-only campground at the bottom of the canyon.
The campground provides camp areas with tables, animal-proof food boxes, and vault toilets.
Phantom Ranch is a lodge at the bottom of the canyon (and it books up EARLY).
Whether you’re staying at the campground or the lodge, make sure to visit the Phantom Ranch Canteen! Buy a lemonade, a beer, or reserve a meal ahead of time!
Camping Inside the Grand Canyon: Along the Trail
Along the Trail: There are two reservation-only campgrounds along the trails.
Havasupai Gardens (formerly called Indian Garden) is along the Bright Angel Trail, and Cottonwood Campground is on the North Kaibab.
Backcountry Camping: You can also camp off the trail, but you need a special permit.
There are no campgrounds along the South Kaibab Trail.
Make sure to check out my recommended gear for the Grand Canyon National Park!
Is there Anything to Do At the Bottom of the Canyon?
When we planned our trip, I thought– “How many times are you ever at the bottom of the Grand Canyon? We should explore!“
Here’s the deal. There are a few day hikes you can do while within the canyon, but I didn’t find them to be exceptionally well-marked.
And by the time we got to the bottom, I was tired enough that didn’t trust my judgement on an unclearly marked trail into the wilderness.
So, if you want to hike on one of those trails, I suggest talking to a park ranger before starting your hike, and also making sure that you are coherent enough to make good hiking decisions.
I also recommend bringing this trail-guide book along: Official Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon
Here’s what we actually did at the bottom of the canyon:
- Sat on boulders in the Bright Angel Creek, rested our very sore legs in the cold creek water, and worked on the art of doing nothing.
- Walked to the shore of the Colorado River, dipped our toes in the water, and ate our lunch on the sand.
- Wandered down the walking path around Phantom Ranch.
- Drank lemonade and beer inside the Phantom Ranch Canteen.
- Went to bed early.
⇐ Part 3: Hiking Food Ideas for the Grand Canyon or ⇒ Part 5: Grand Canyon Trails
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