Keep in mind that the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular national parks in the country, and hotel rooms both within and just outside the park are in high demand. Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Don't expect to find a room if you head up here in summer without a reservation. You'll likely wind up driving back to Williams or Flagstaff to find a vacancy. There, is, however, one long-shot option. Who knows? You might get lucky.
Inside the Park
All hotels inside the park are operated by Xanterra South Rim/Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Reservations are taken up to 13 months in advance, beginning on the first of the month. If you want to stay in one of the historic rim cabins at Bright Angel Lodge, reserve at least a year in advance. However, rooms with shared bathrooms at Bright Angel Lodge are often the last in the park to book up, and although they're small and very basic, they're your best bet if you're trying to get a last-minute reservation.
To make reservations at any of the in-park hotels listed below, contact Xanterra South Rim/Xanterra Parks & Resorts, 6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Ste. 600N, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 (tel. 888/297-2757 or 303/297-2757; www.grandcanyonlodges.com). It is sometimes possible, due to cancellations and no-shows, to get a same-day reservation; it's a long shot, but it happens. Same-day reservations can be made by calling tel. 928/638-2631. Xanterra accepts American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. Children 16 and under stay free in their parent's room.
In Tusayan (Outside the South Entrance)
If you can't get a reservation for a room in the park, this is the next closest place to stay. Unfortunately, this area can be very noisy because of the many helicopters and airplanes taking off from the airport. Also, hotels outside the park are very popular with tour groups, which during the busy summer months keep many hotels full. All of the hotels listed here are lined up along U.S. 180/Ariz. 64.
Inside the Park -- On the South Rim, there are two campgrounds and an RV park. Mather Campground, in Grand Canyon Village, has 327 campsites. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance and are highly recommended for stays between March and late November (reservations not accepted for other months). Contact the National Recreation Reservation Service (tel. 877/444-6777 or 518/885-3639; www.recreation.gov). Between late spring and early fall, don't even think of coming up here without a reservation; you'll just set yourself up for disappointment. If you don't have a reservation, your next-best bet is to arrive in the morning, when sites are being vacated. Campsites are $18 per night ($15 per night mid-Nov to Feb; reservations not accepted).
Desert View Campground, with 50 sites, is 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village and open from May to mid-October only. No reservations are accepted. Campsites are $12 per night.
The Trailer Village RV park, with 75 RV sites, is in Grand Canyon Village and charges $36 per night (for two adults) for full hookup. Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance by contacting Xanterra South Rim/Xanterra Parks & Resorts, 6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Ste. 600N, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 (tel. 888/297-2757 or 303/297-2757; www.xanterra.com or www.grandcanyonlodges.com). For same-day reservations, call tel. 928/638-2631.
Outside the Park -- Two miles south of Tusayan is the U.S. Forest Service's Ten-X Campground. This campground has 70 campsites, is open May through September, and charges $10. It's usually your best bet for finding a site late in the day.
You can also camp just about anywhere within the Kaibab National Forest, which borders Grand Canyon National Park. Several dirt roads lead into the forest from the highway, and although you won't find designated campsites or toilets along these roads, you will find spots where others have obviously camped before. This so-called dispersed camping is usually used by campers who have been unable to find sites in campgrounds. One of the most popular roads for this sort of camping is on the west side of the highway between Tusayan and the park's south entrance. For more information, contact the Tusayan Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest, 176 Lincoln Log Loop (P.O. Box 3088), Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 (tel. 928/638-2443; www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.