We're gonna be there a week, but since we have a pop-up and sister & BIL are tent camping...it's an ordeal to set up camp for only a couple of days and then have to pack everything back in and move out.
If I had a hard sided camper, then it would be a different story, but our camping style is more to find the best place possible and see it thru to the end, and it has worked well for us so far.
Temp wise, I understand that it's cooler on the northside due to the higher elevation, but is the southside bearable during the day without A/C or fans?
I have only looked at these two campgrounds, but are their others that I should be looking at as well?
Courage is the feeling you have right before you fully understand the situation
I say go "IN". We did a week long river rafting trip from one end to the other 278 miles this summer. Absolutely fantastic experience for my three teenagers (I did it as a teenager myself in '88). You can even do 2 or 3 day experiences. By far the best view you will ever have of the Grand Canyon!
For a first-time visitor and staying a week or more I'd recommend you go to the South Rim.... just expect crowds during the main part of the day but mornings and late afternoons/evenings are perfect. The busloads of tourists will be gone along with those that stay outside the park.
We've done both sides multiple times and now prefer the North but just for the quietness. I think you would be bored after a week as there is so much more to do on the South Rim.
Mather is a very nice campground and it's shaded - very similar to the North Rim. A big plus, especially with a multi-person family outing is the free shuttle bus system. Everyone can go when and where they want. You don't have to stay together.
You'll have lots of choices of hiking and you can go for miles on a mostly flat Rim Trail viewing the canyon the whole way. When you get tired, pick up the next shuttle bus. There are many restaurant choices, a well-stocked, expensive store, a nice Visitor Center and ranger-led talks/hikes and campfire programs.
Hiking to the bottom of the canyon has to be a well-thought-out project and would require a stay overnight so don't press yourself to do it. However, definitely do a 'teaser' hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/8 or 1/4 mile or so. It will give you an altogether perspective of the canyon from below the Rim. Take lots of water for everyone, even a short hike and remember, you have to hike up and out, too! It's very steep but a good trail.
While there, take the car eastward to the Desert View section of the park. The shuttle doesn't go there but it's well worth the short drive.
Yep... the South Rim is for you! Have a good trip. Here are some campsite photos and don't forget to check the official web site for this and all national parks. They'll give you ideas for things to do, camping and road information.
For first timers, I'd recommend the south rim. More activities and more trail selection.
You might also think about shortening the time from a week to three or four days. Take the other days and head to Flagstaff to visit Sunset Crater, Wupatki, and Walnut Canyon. Unless you are serious hikers, it just takes a few days to do the trails and drive to all the over looks along the canyon. It would take even less time on the north rim.
Sorry about that. See if the link in my Signature works. Grand Canyon should be the 3 or 4 folder . I see that my signature vanished. It may be when Google changed to google pictures. I will need to work on this later.
Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.
Not sure I can add anything that others haven't said, but I'll relate our experiences.
We've been to both sides.
South Rim has the more "classic" views. Impressive. Crowded. People everywhere.
North Rim left us absolutely stunned with its beauty. It had just been raining. The fog, mist and low lying clouds were rising up from the canyons in places but the views were amazing - it seemed like God had just formed the world. It was truly awe inspiring. Few people, nice observation points, the visitor center and dining were very nice and not at all crowded.
My suggestion: Do both. They are radically different. It would be sort of like asking "Should I go to Yellowstone or should I go to Yosemite?"
Starting to plan for the summer and possibly considering the G.C. for about a week. Will be traveling in pop up with 2 adults & 2 kids( 15 & 7 Y.O.) plus my sister and her pack will be tent camping.
I have looked at North Rim & Mather CG's and like the fact that both have bathroom & shower facilities...but basically it boils down to where will be get the "best" experience? Mather CG has significantly more sites, but does that detract from the grandeur in any way or would be better served to stay at the North Rim for a less touristy experience?
Which side, N or S offers the better access to the G.C. is so far as trail & hiking, etc, weather, scenery, photo opportunities, wide open spaces withing the campgrounds, etc??
I don't see the dates you are thinking about, but if it's during the busy time you better get your reservations very soon.
I agree with everyone. Do the South Rim or both.
The shuttle is great. The showers are a long ways away from most sites and can be busy. Laundry room too.
I (2-10-05) bought a 2002 F350 CC SWD PSD and a new 2003 Citation 10'8. I have been a tent camper all my life. I wanted more comfort while camping and CraterLake Ski Patrol.
It's time for more space. I purchased a 2016 Grand Design 380TH as of 10-29-2015.
We have been to both North and South sides, flown over the GC in a helicopter, and finally floated down the Colorado River thru the GC--we loved it all. For a photographer, I like the views from the North Rim -- one reason is that the North Rim is about 1000 feet higher in elevation. Also don't forget the Nat. Forest roads on the North Rim--we drove them without our RV--in our truck--some will take you to the edge of the Canyon. Get a map at the Nat. Forest Office in Jacob Lake.
We really enjoyed the South Rim Ranger programs--lots of great info. What we experienced on the South Rim was that after the train pulled out the crowds dropped off.
Enjoy the visit!