Mather Campground is located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. Grand Canyon is one of the most inspiring landscapes on Earth and draws over five million visitors per year to its spectacular scenery. The campground is large and can accommodate a variety of needs and comfort levels. It is the only campground within Grand Canyon Village. Scenic overlooks, the park's free shuttle bus system, the Visitor Center, the general store and hiking and biking trails are all within a few miles from the facility. The campground is at an elevation of approximately 7,000 ft. Summers are sunny with high temperatures generally in the 80s. Thunderstorms frequently occur in July, August, and early September. Fall and spring are mostly sunny and cool with the occasional snow. Weather is variable; visitors should come prepared.
From the campground, campers can access the Greenway, a paved walking and biking trail that leads to scenic overlooks and the Visitor Center. The Rim Trail, a paved walking trail, is one mile away and runs for 14 miles along the edge of the canyon. Leashed pets are allowed on both trails, but are not permitted below the rim. Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails descend into the canyon. Their trailheads are a short shuttle bus ride from the campground. The park's concessionaire also offers day and overnight mule riding trips into the canyon and along the rim.
Mather Campground is a large facility with 327 campsites. Each site includes a campfire ring with a cooking grate, picnic table, parking space and room for up to three tents. There are flush toilets and drinking water spigots throughout the campground. There are no hookups available but there is a free dump station near by at Camper Services. Trailer Village, located next to Mather Campground, has hookups and can accommodate larger RVs. Almost all of the RV spaces are pull-through. Generators are NOT permitted in Pine Loop (sites 265-319).
Mather Campground lies beneath a mixture of a tall canopy of Ponderosa pine, Pinyon, and Juniper trees, providing most campsites with ample shade. The campground is one mile from the rim of the canyon. A visit to the canyon during sunrise and sunset yields spectacular views of yellow, orange, red and violet hues in the canyon walls. Layers of rock display billions of years of geologic history. Campers can take a short shuttle bus ride from the campground to the Visitors Center. Visitors can also visit Yavapai Geology Museum, where they learn about the forces that formed the canyon. Below, visitors can see the mighty Colorado River, which flows 277 miles through the bottom of the canyon. Wildlife abounds on the South Rim, including elk, mule deer, coyotes, lizards, songbirds and the endangered California condor. Although condors nest below the rim, they can be seen soaring several thousand feet above the canyon in search for carrion.
Numerous visitor centers, restaurants, museums and shops are within a shuttle bus ride from the campground. Beyond the village, Desert View provides one of the widest views of Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert. The Desert View Watchtower displays the talent of architect Mary Jane Colter. Tusayan Ruin and Museum provide glimpses into the life of a small Ancestral Puebloan village 800 years ago. Both are within 25 miles from the campground.
ADA Access: N
We stayed at this campground for two nights in September. Checking in was easy, informative and we also got a detailed map of the campground. Bathroom and drinking water is close by and every bathroom has an outdoor sink for washing dishes and animal proof trash cans. Campsites are nice, clean and big, every one of them has a picnic table and designated campfire. There is a campsite host on site 24/7. We had a nice, quet stay at this campground, and if you're lucky you'll see deer/elk early in the morning around your tent eating breakfast :)
Book ahead of time..maybe months before you go.
Grand Canyon is a professional setup. They know how to do things, while this is the most popular park in the US, they are very organized. Yes, we had to make reservations and we were camping in a tent 3 nights and had to change campsites each night. Plenty of bathrooms with running water/flush toilets, showers are in a central location close to the check in site, and showers were $2.00 for 8 minutes. Shuttles arrive frequently to take you where you need to go, or the marketplace is a short walk. We got our water refilled at the marketplace for free. Mather is a tent campground, RVs are at a separate site.
Decent campground, I stayed here before hiking to Bright Angel Campground the next day.
It is a very large campground but the sites are well spaced. Very close to the canyon, great place to stay regardless of your plans at the park.
We stayed here the night before and the night after we hiked down into the canyon. The spots are reasonably spaced out and serviced by several restrooms with flush toilets and sinks. Each site has a spot for a tent, picnic table, and fire ring. Firewood and everything else can be bought at the park store that can be driven to or you can take a shuttle to.
If you want a shower you have to go back down to the laundry area and they are $2 for 5 min. My husband's shower cut off early though, so don't bank on your full 5 min.
We camped at Mather Campground a couple of years ago when my brother was driving from California to Boston, MA for his big move. He and his girlfriend reserved a site in Mather for a couple nights before heading to New Mexico to visit her family before the big move. My boyfriend and I️ decided to tag along LAST MINUTE for the first leg of their journey and join them in the Grand Canyon, as I️ had never seen it before.
Had we not been able to stay in the site my brother had reserved months in advanced, there is no way we would’ve gotten a site so last minute. GCNP is an extremely busy NP year round, and during the non-snowy months the campgrounds are packed with campers. With that being said, and considering how huge Mather Campground is (there’s hundreds of sites!), the campgrounds did not feel like a sardine can - I️ was surprised by the spacious site lots, we had plenty of room for two tents on the site, even having two vehicles.
Most of the campsite loops that I️ saw are amongst trees, but they do not provide total shade coverage or privacy from your neighboring sites. There were definitely enough trees to set up a hammock, so if you have one, bring it along! It would also be easy to string up extra tarps for shade or cover from potential storms.
Each site had a fire ring and a picnic table (be aware that fire bans are put into place at certain times during the year, so you may not be able to use that fire pit). The plumbed bathrooms were clean, and coin-operated showers are available right outside the campground, along with laundry facilities. There is a well-stocked general store inside the NP which is handy if you need to replenish your camp kitchen or if you forgot something. There are also restaurants available inside the NP village.
There is a shuttle station right outside of Mather, only a couple minutes away by foot. All of the NPS shuttles are efficient and timely, we like to utilize them whenever we are in a NP, wether you have to or not - using the shuttle decreases the congestion and pollution inside the national park, and keeps wildlife, cyclists, and pedestrians visiting the park safer. The GCNP shuttle can take you all around the Grand Canyon - it’s a great way to see the park!
The noise pollution from the road isn’t terrible inside the campground at night, road can be heard - there is a lot of travel in and out of GCNP. Also, campers rise early early to catch the sunrise over the canyon or to beat the heat while hiking, so there is definitely a bit of noise made about the campground in the early morning hours.
Be mindful that the Mather sites do not have any sort of food lockers, and there are a lot of critters running around the campground including rodents and elk! There are quite a few BOLD elk roaming around the campground and NP - they seem pretty darn comfortable around people, and go through campsites looking for food and water. Even though they seem relaxed and tame, the elk are still very large, wild animals, and can do some serious damage if provoked. DO NOT approach them, and be respectful and leave them plenty of space. The rodents are relentless, as they always tend to be - be sure to lock all of your food up inside your car at night!
This area is known to have scorpions, rattlesnakes, and other creepy crawlers roaming around. I️ wouldn’t be too worried about rattlesnakes within the campground area, but you never know; be alert, especially around rock piles and pits where they could be hiding. We did not see any scorpions in the campground, but I️ would still suggest keeping your tents zipped up tight at ALL TIMES and keeping your shoes inside your tent or the car - if you keep your shoes out overnight, or any time, really, be sure to knock them together a few times to make sure nothing crawled inside.
Be aware: the ground is HARD and ROCKY. The dirt is hard and packed in, so it was actually very challenging to drive the tent stakes into the ground, even with the help of the butt of a hatchet. Also - the ground is not smooth, and there’s a lot of rocks embedded in the ground. Be sure to bring a thick camp pad or an air mattress, otherwise you are in for an uncomfortable night.
Dogs were allowed in the campground, many of our neighbors had dogs. We happened to be camping with my brother’s bearded dragon, Iggy. She was used to adventuring with my brother on her leash, so she roamed around the rim of the canyon with us as we explored. She slept safe in my brother’s car at night, in the travel cage they arranged for her.
Plumbed Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Showers: Yes - coin operated
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Shade: Some - limited
Cell Service: NO
Animal Bins/Food Lockers: NO
We camped there for 3 nights. In the first place we were surprised that you could camp at the Grand Canyon (not from a campers circle), we just thought you could stay at the lodges. Once we got there we found a great place where to put our tent, very spacious (its designed for max. 6 pax), park our car roght next to the tent and a picnic table and a fire ring. We had some neighbours, but they were far enough that you didn't need to hear their conversations. There were bathrooms and water pumps almost everywhere and showers at the entry (paid, $8 in quarters for 8 min) The store nearby (15 min walking from our campsite, wasn't expensive, in case you need something last minute) There were also free shuttles that would take you all around without having to move the car
This campground is the most pristine campground I’ve ever camped at. Gorgeous, great facilities, friendly elk. Great walking trails around and short drive to fantastic trailheads!
Reserve your site early!!! We camped over spring break in March 2018 & reserved our nights in October 2017. The primitive site itself is nothing all that special, but it’s everything you need. Despite the heavy traffic the Grand Canyon sees, the campsites are not crammed together. They are spacious & well-kept. There are lots of big rocks embedded in the ground, so be mindful when you set up your tent—particularly if it’s a big tent—so that you can sleep well. The bathrooms at the campground are nice & clean & the showers are worth the quarters if you’re camping multiple nights. I heard footsteps one morning & looked out to see elk outside our tent! They roam the campground pretty consistently so you can hope to see some during your visit.
Campground was nicely kept and comfortably fit 3 tents, but also very crowded and could hear our neighbors on either size all night.