Added by Tara Schatz

With just 50 campsites and no reservations, Desert View Campground lets you experience the quiet side of Grand Canyon National Park, not to mention sunrises and sunsets that are beyond compare.

There are three campgrounds on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Two, Mather Campground and Desert View Campground are run by the National Park Service. Trailer Village is a privately-run RV park located in Grand Canyon Village. If you don’t mind craziness and crowds, both Mather Campground and Trailer Village will serve you well, but if you want to escape the nonsense and immerse yourself in natural beauty, you have to check out Desert View Campground.

Desert View Campground is perched on the canyon rim at the eastern edge of the park. If you enter the park through the east entrance you’ll be just steps away from the canyon and worlds away from the crowds of Grand Canyon Village. There are fifty campsites at Desert View Campground, each nestled among the gnarly pinyon pines for a bit of privacy. You can’t make a reservation, so plan on securing your spot by late morning or early afternoon, especially if you want site 46, which is our personal favorite (you’re welcome). These awesome campsites are just $12 per night.

Desert View Campground also makes a great base camp for longer Grand Canyon adventures or a relaxing piece of a Southwest road trip itinerary. Here are a few more tips to help you make the most of  your stay at Desert View Campground. 

  • There is a beautiful unmarked trail between sites 46 and 48. It meanders through the trees and along the south rim, with the most beautiful views of the Colorado River below. This little trail is quite secluded, and probably used more by elk than by people.
  • Ravens will steal your food. Talk about opportunistic - the Grand Canyon Ravens are very bold. Do not leave your food unattended, even for a minute!
  • The Desert View General Store sells fabulous local beer and wine, plus whatever else you need — t-shirts, potato chips, ice cream, beef jerky. You can easily walk to the store from Desert View Campground, so you’re not really roughing it. 
  • Be on the lookout for javelina. We saw two during our stay — one right behind our campsite, and another near the Desert View Watchtower. There’s lots of elk too.
  • Desert View Campground is surprisingly dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed in all of the campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park, within Grand Canyon Village, and on the Rim Trail. They are not allowed on the trails into the canyon, but there is an onsite kennel in Grand Canyon Village if you feel the need to explore without your dog.

The Grand Canyon is a magical, but busy place. If you like your wilderness experience to be wild, consider visiting in the off-season, between October and April. Leave your car behind, and hop on a shuttle bus from Desert View Campground to any number of spectacular trailheads. 

Camping at the Grand Canyon gives you a totally different feel for the place. You’ve got more room, more solitude, and more time to enjoy the wide-open spaces, not to mention those amazing night skies! 

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