Planning a multi-day hike in the canyon? Here are some tips for camping inside the Grand Canyon at campgrounds or in the backcountry.
Heads up– 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.
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).
Camping Inside the Grand Canyon: Along the Trail
Along the Trail: There are two reservation-only campgrounds along the trails.
Indian Gardens 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.
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.