Guide to Camping in Grand Canyon National Park North Rim

With its rugged terrain and remote location more than 40 miles from the nearest town, The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park offers a truly backwood camping experience.

While the North Rim Campground is accessible near the park entrance, many of the North Rim’s campgrounds are backwoods experiences requiring hours-long drives on rugged dirt roads passable only by 4-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearances.

With this in mind, coming prepared is crucial when camping on the North Rim. Extra supplies of water and food, plenty of layers of clothing, and warm sleeping bags are essentials for camping in these remote areas.

Camping in the North Rim can truly be an adventure. And with many of the campgrounds located on the Kaibab Plateau, which rises to an elevation of more than 8,000 feet, the North Rim offers an excellent option for summer camping with temperatures that rarely reach 80 degrees in mid-summer.

Campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim

North Rim Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 15 to October 31
  • Cost : $18 to $25 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

With its location in the less populated side of Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim Campground offers a more rustic and secluded feel than the campgrounds on the park’s popular South Rim.

With its elevation of more than 8,000 feet, this campground remains cool even in midsummer. The North Rim Campground is nestled among large Ponderosa Pine Trees and is adjacent to the Transept Canyon. The Transept and Bridle trails are accessible from the campground, the latter of which connects with the North Kaibab Trail, which runs to the canyon floor. Just beware of frequent afternoon thunderstorms.

This campground features 90 campsites, each of which has picnic tables and campfire rings. Potable water spigots are placed throughout the campground. The facility also features coin-operated showers and laundry. Be aware that campfires are often prohibited to prevent wildfires. The Grand Canyon Lodge is nearby and offers dining options.

There is also a general store and gas station at the campground entrance.

Tuweep Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10
  • Reservation : Yes

Tuweep offers a true backcountry camping experience. This small backcountry campground features just 10 campsites: nine family campsites and one group campsite, It is located 3,000 feet below the North Rim near the Tuweep Overlook, which affords views of a gorge and the large black cinder cones from million-year-old lava flows from a sheer cliff face.

You’ll also have views of the largest rapid on the Colorado River. Two hiking trails are accessible from the campsite.

The campground is rugged with no access to potable water, gas, or food. Getting to the campground is an adventure in itself with the easiest route involving a 61-mile dirt road riddled with sharp rocks accessible only by high clearance vehicles.

Given the remote location of this campground, it’s essential to be prepared with tire plugs and portable air compressors as sharp stones, and hence flats are common on the road in. A backwoods permit is required for this campsite.

Indian Hollow Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : Free
  • Reservation : No

Indian Hollow is located in the Kaibab National Forest, which surrounds Grand Canyon National Park. It is a primitive campground that offers three first-come-first-serve campsites.

The primitive sites are located just north of the park of the Grand Canyon, just a half-mile from the trailhead for Thunder River Trail. This trail can be followed for 20 miles to the floor of the Grand Canyon.

Amenities include an accessible vault toilet. There is no potable water available at this site. The sites feature camp tables and fire pits, although campfires are sometimes prohibited due to the danger of wildfires. Each site receives partial shade from pine trees.

Point Sublime Campground

  • Type : Backcountry
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10
  • Reservation : No

Part of the adventure with Point Sublime campground is just getting there. It involves an 18-mile drive on a dirt road through a beautiful rugged scenic area. As you get further in, you’ll catch glimpses of the Grand Canyon until you leave shelter of the trees for a full view. The ride gets treacherous as the road traverses an area with sheer drop-offs on both sides.

Sublime Pointe itself offers what some consider to be the best views of the canyon from any location. The campsite features two available sites. There is no potable water at the site; however, there is a vault bathroom. A backcountry permit is required to stay here. Point Sublime Trail is accessible from the site.

Campgrounds Near Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim

Demotte Campground

  • Type : Tent/RV
  • Open : May 15 to October 15
  • Cost : $22 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

This campground is conveniently located in the Kaibab National Forest just 7 miles north of the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim. The campground is near the trailhead for the popular North Kaibab Trail, which runs to the canyon floor.

Demotte features 38 campsites for tents and RVs nestled among spruce-fir and Ponderosa pines. The campground is surrounded by large meadows, which attract elk and bison.

Each campsite includes a table and cooking grills. No utility hookups are available at this campsite. Amenities include vault toilets with a store and gas station nearby.

Half of the sites at the campground are first come first serve while half can be reserved. With its high elevation at more than 8,700 feet, be prepared for cool nights at Demotte with daytime highs hovering around 70 degrees.

Jacob Lake Campground

  • Type : Tent, RV
  • Open : May 15 to October 15
  • Cost : $22
  • Reservation : Yes

Jacob Lake is located near the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Jacob Lake, Arizona. The campground is sheltered by giant Ponderosa Pines among elk, deer, and other wildlife, including the rare Kaibab squirrel. The lake itself is not open for fishing and rarely fills.

Although a bit of a drive from Grand Canyon National Park, the campground is located 44 miles north of the North Rim entrance to the park, it does offer a nice option, especially during the summer months when the park’s campgrounds quickly fill up.

It features 51 campsites for tent and RV camping. With its elevation at 7,900 feet, daytime temperatures even in midsummer hover in the low 70s. Amenities include vault toilets, fire pits, and potable drinking water. There are no utility hookups at this campground.

Kaibab Camper Village

  • Type : Backcountry
  • Open : Year round
  • Cost : $40 to $45 RV, $20 tent, $50 to $105 cabin per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Campgrounds that can accommodate full-size RVs are few and far between the North Rim. Kaibab Camper Village is one of them. It can accommodate RVs more than 40 feet in length and features full utility hookups. It also features tent sites and rentable cabins.

The campground is located adjacent to a meadow nestled amid tall Ponderosa pine trees adjacent to Jacob Lake. At about 45 miles from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim entrance, it’s a great option for large RVers looking for a campground in close proximity to the park.

Kaibab Camper Village amenities include flush toilets, showers, laundry facilities, and an onsite general store.

Cottonwood Campground

  • Type : Backwoods
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10 backcountry permit
  • Reservation : Yes

Located on the North Kaibob Trail halfway between the North Rim and the Colorado River, this backwoods campsite offers a more intimate experience. The majority of the park’s visitors set off from the South Rim, making the Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campgrounds much more popular and hence harder to book campsites. With its more remote location, permit applications for Cottonwood are easier to get.

The campground’s sites are located just north of ranger station on the trail. There is some tree coverage for shade and the campsites are fairly far apart, allowing for more privacy. Bright Angel Creek offers a year-round water supply nearby. Potable water spigots are also available near the campground. Other amenities include pit toilets and picnic tables.

Camping Tips for Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim

  1. Book early. Reservations for the park’s campgrounds fill up early. Campsites that require reservations can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. For those first come-first serve sites, make sure to arrive in the morning during the summer months to claim a site.
  2. Bring wood. Make sure to bring your own wood for campfires, as gathering wood from the forest floor is prohibited.
  3. Watch the weather in winter. Access to the North Rim is very limited in the wintertime. In fact, the road usually closes down sometime in November until late spring.
  4. Be prepared. The North Rim is remote, making access to services and assistance very difficult. The closest town to the North Rim is Jacob’s Lake, which is more than 40 miles away. With that in mind, make sure you are prepared to handle any situation that might arise without immediate help.
  5. Layer for the cold. With elevations above 8,000 feet, the weather is notably cooler on the North Rim. Temperatures typically reach highs in the 70s in August with lows in the 40s. Make sure to pack accordingly with plenty of layers, jackets, and rain gear.
  6. Bring an off-road vehicle. Some of the campgrounds in the North Rim are located in very remote rugged areas that require four-wheel vehicles. Make sure to come prepared with tools for fixing flat tires to avoid getting stuck. Also plan on bringing plenty of extra water, food and a first aid kit in case of emergency.
  7. Get your permit early. Make sure to get the proper permits for backwoods camping. Permits are required by the park and ensure that the site is available when you get there.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.