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Camping At The Bottom Of The Grand Canyon [All Questions Answered]

Camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Camping at the bottom of the grand canyon is such a big deal for campers as the Grand Canyon National park is one tourist site that plays host to over 5 million people from all walks of lives yearly.

These tourists trek all the way to have a spectacular view of the Canyon’s maze of cliffs: a look that leaves such a strong impression that can’t be described by words.

It’s possible you have heard of all the excellent details of the Grand Canyon, and so, you are probably thinking of embarking on a trip someday. However, you have some puzzling questions about the Grand Canyon that is stopping you from making this come true.

If this applies to you, then this article will help douse your fears and provide you answers as to why camping at the Grand Canyon is the real deal. Are you ready for this jolly good ride? Oh…then, do fasten your belt!

What’s at The Bottom of the Grand Canyon?

Imagine the incredible view from the rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s nothing compared to the astounding sites that greet you when viewing the Grand Canyon from the bottom.

Now, if you have been wondering what’s at the bottom, then you’ve got your answer: The majestic view that leaves tourists speechless. Usually, as you catch a glimpse of the rim from the bottom, you will observe dozens of rock formations towers formed above you from several sides.

During spring, the cactus blooms and in fall, the canyon walls are illuminated by soft autumn light. So, for lovers of nature, this scenery will leave you awestruck for a long time.

Before going down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you may want to find out what camping options are available to you, as the journey from the rim to the bottom isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Yes, you can camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in several ways, but the most convenient option is the Bright Angel Campground.

This Campground provides potable drinking water and restrooms, which are indeed a luxury.

You also have the option of backcountry camping, which is available in more rugged areas, but you would need clearance permits and possibly experience with hiking at the Grand Canyon.

Camping at the banks of the Colorado River is also a very welcoming option, but to qualify for this, you must have booked a Colorado River Trip.

Now that you know that seated at the bottom of the Colorado River are opportunities to catch glimpses of Grand Canyon rims and experience camping, you may want to know how long it would take you to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

How long does it take to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

It takes quite some time to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and the reason is that the trails are crooked, lonesome, and dangerous. However, they lead to the most majestic view you have ever seen.

It takes several miles to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and so several hours of hiking that requires food, water, and then rests along the way. A portable cooler box will come in handy for this adventure.

Those who have embarked on the trip or journey to down will tell you that the real question isn’t how long it takes to get to the bottom, but how long it would require making a trip back up. That is something you need to be focused on.

It’s not uncommon to notice tourists underestimating the Grand Canyon and its challenges. But the fact that NPS commits taxpayers’ money to affect rescue should tell you something.

Sincerely, it would take a couple of hours to hike to the Colorado River from the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is achievable, but you would need to triple the time you spent before you can make it back up the Canyon.

It's essential that if you attempt to hike down from the Grand Canyon, the possibility of making it back up the rim same day is almost unlikely.

Also, the time it would take you to make a trip down would depend on the route you choose, and the point of the rim you start your journey. The South Rims are cared for, and as such, tend to be shorter and more crowded. However, the North rims are less maintained, less crowded, and longer.

In summary, it is okay to say that a trip from the South Rim to the Colorado River will take about 5 hours down, and 15 hours back up. While descending from the North Rim to the Colorado River will take about 8 hours to the river and 20+ hours back up; this ultimately depends on the fitness of the camper.

Can you drive down into the Grand Canyon?

There are no roads to the bottom of the Grand Canyon; it’s possible to get helicopter flight from Las Vegas to land on the bottom, not in the national park, but on the West Rim area that’s less scenic. If you are spending the night at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, then using a vehicle to transport yourself down is practically impossible.

And that’s because the South Rim is at the thickest part of the Grand Canyon, and the Rim is above the Colorado River by a vertical mile.

There are two vehicular passages to the Colorado River from the two far ends of the Grand Canyon: The Lee’s Ferry located at the eastern end and the Diamond Creek Road on the western end. You can have driving access to the Colorado River through them.

However, these places are hundreds of miles from the Grand Canyon National Park, and not close to the Canyon at all.

Self-touring is still your best bet at getting to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Get a flight to Las Vegas or Phoenix and make plans to explore; this way you can get to see the views on your own.

It's smart to book park lodges way ahead of your scheduled visit. To truly enjoy the fantastic views of the Grand Canyon's rim, you would have to be hiking down. Considering driving down wouldn't give you the views that made you set out to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the first place.

What is the best month to visit the Grand Canyon?

The time of the year to best visit the Grand Canyon is dependent on what you intend to do there. What activity appeals to you the most? For instance, you may want to answer the following:

Do you want to hike? Would you prefer to trek along the rim trail or into the Grand Canyon? Are you planning on going with kids?

Do you plan to stay overnight, possibly camp or prefer a day trip?

Are you looking forward to whitewater rafting or kayaking on the Colorado River?

If you are interested in just seeing sights, taking pictures and videos, then your itinerary may pretty much fit into any time of the year. But if your goal is to hike, camp, or raft, then some months become more feasible than others.

The months of March to May representing spring are often considered the most suitable time of the year to visit the Grand Canyon because the temperature during the day is lower, which is preferable for hiking, the crowd is less populated, and the rains are less frequent.

May to August being summer is often the most crowded times at the Grand Canyon since schools are likely to be on vacation, and the weather is scorching. During this period, there are loads of activities to keep one engaged, and the North rim temperatures are more relaxed in the day.

September to November (autumn) is akin to spring and sees a sparse crowd with a temperature that is way more comfortable. It gets icy at night, and the foliage associated with autumn is in full gear. The unpredictability of the weather is worth noting here.

It could begin to spell rainfall one moment, and snowfall the next. And this could hamper your schedule and setting.

December to February (winter) isn’t often the best times to travel, as views could be blurry, and flights delayed. Even hiking can be stalled, and the North Rim is closed. But catching a glimpse of the snow-covered Canyon is indeed tempting with fewer crowds in this period.

Well, if you plan to make a trip in this period, ensure that you have the right footwear and clothing to wade off the extreme cold weather. And also, knowing what are the essential things to bring is important for your trip too.

Can you hike the Grand Canyon in one day?

Even though there is conflicting information out there, the reality is that you can! But this isn’t in any way referring to inexperienced hikers. Once you make it to the bottom of the Canyon and see the crowd beneath, you will discover that most people make it in one day, and others don’t.

You need to plan for several things if you plan on accomplishing this feat in a day: The weather, water, your trail, shoes, headlights, clothing, food, blisters, hiking poles, departure time, and safety tip.

Your preparation with regards to all of these things will ultimately determine if you make hiking the Grand Canyon in a day or not. 

Finally, you need to have the will first, and you will get your way, and join others in celebrating that you hiked the Grand Canyon in a day!

In all, if you get the trail right, wear the right clothes that facilitate easy movement, wear smart shoes, set out early, travel light, walk with precision, take short rests, etc. you will more than likely complete your hiking in a single day.

You may check out our useful tips especially if you are a beginner to outdoor activities.

Do you need a permit to hike in the Grand Canyon?

No permit needed for day hiking in the Grand Canyon. However, a backcountry permit is required if you plan on overnight hiking; this is primarily because the Grand Canyon is a desert environment. Special precautions regarding the safety of tourists have to be taken.

You will need a backcountry permit if you plan to camp anywhere in the national park that isn’t a developed campground on the North or South Rim. More information of how to apply for one covered here.

When do you need a backcountry permit?

  • You would need a backcountry permit if you plan on doing overnight camping outside of the camps available: North Rim Campground, Mather Campground, and Desert View Campground.
  • If you plan to do overnight camping in all the sites at the Tuweep campground.
  • If you are planning to do overnight camping anywhere around the North Rim of the National Park between November 1st and May 14th.
  • If you plan on camping off-river by river trip participants.
  • If you are considering overnight camping outside of Mather Campground with private stock outside of the North Rim Campground on May 15th –Oct 31st.
  • You are planning to pack raft aside from that which happens under the river permit.

Hotels and lodges in Grand Canyon

The hotels and lodges are booked months or a year in advance. So booking one should be your #1 priority. Hotels in Grand Canyon all offer modern amenities and food. One can opt for glamping resorts, vacation rental homes, and even rustic cabins. 

Final Thoughts

Camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is every camper’s delight. Some sceneries and experiences are better imagined than explained, and a visit to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is one of them.

The captivating ambiance and beautiful sceneries promise to leave you enchanted. The craving for a visit to the bottom of the Grand Canyon isn’t for nothing; the effect it leaves on visitors long after they have departed is one that sees them desiring a comeback.

If you haven’t started thinking about paying a visit to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you should start embracing thoughts of it. You can rest assured that like others before you, there will be no suitable words to describe your experience.

Douglas Keister

I am an adventure fanatic that loves nature and adventure sports like kayaking, camping and water sports. I have been doing this for almost 10 years now and have learned quite a few tricks. With my experience, I hope to provide you with the most reliable and accurate information for your next adventure.

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