Overlanding & Boondocking - Camping at Grand Canyon North Rim

Brent Conklin
Brent Conklin
Overlanding & Boondocking - Camping at Grand Canyon North Rim
North Rim of Grand Canyon at Sunset
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers an unparalleled experience for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and campers alike. Boondocking, or dispersed camping, provides a unique opportunity to experience the area's stunning beauty in a more intimate and off-the-beaten-path way. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about boondocking at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, including the best locations, what to expect, and how to prepare for your adventure.

Overview of Boondocking in the North Rim

Boondocking, also known as dry camping or dispersed camping, refers to camping in undeveloped areas without access to amenities such as electricity, water, and sewer hookups. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is an ideal location for boondocking due to its less crowded nature compared to the South Rim, as well as its stunning views and unique geological features.

The Grand Canyon is divided into two main sections: the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim tends to be more popular among tourists due to its year-round accessibility, variety of services, and well-developed infrastructure. However, the North Rim offers a more secluded and serene experience, making it perfect for boondocking.

A Walkaround of our campsite at East Rim Viewpoint

During the summer months, the North Rim is accessible and provides a cooler, less crowded alternative to the South Rim. It's important to note that the North Rim is only open from mid-May to mid-October, so plan your trip accordingly.

Discovering the East Rim Viewpoint

One of the most spectacular boondocking locations in the Kaibab National Forest, which surrounds the North Rim, is the East Rim Viewpoint. This breathtaking spot offers unparalleled views of the Grand Canyon and provides an immersive experience of the area's natural beauty.

The East Rim Viewpoint is situated within the Kaibab National Forest, just outside the North Rim entrance. To reach the viewpoint, follow the link provided here. Make sure to check for any road closures or restrictions before embarking on your journey.

Mrs. Whiskey 7 enjoying some sun

The East Rim Viewpoint area features approximately 10-12 campsites along the rim, with an additional 10 or more sites located on the west side of the entrance road. Each campsite offers ample space for multiple camping rigs and is separated from neighboring sites for added privacy.

Given the high elevation of 8,800 feet, it's essential to prepare for varying weather conditions. The East Rim Viewpoint has a water source and a pit toilet at the trailhead, but other amenities are limited, so be sure to pack all necessary supplies.

To find the exact GPS coordinates for the East Rim Viewpoint campsite, follow this link.

Exploring Other Boondocking Locations in the North Rim

While the East Rim Viewpoint is undoubtedly a top choice for boondocking in the North Rim, there are other dispersed camping areas within the Kaibab National Forest worth considering. Research and explore various locations to find the perfect spot for your boondocking adventure.

DeMotte Campground:

DeMotte Campground, located approximately 7 miles north of the entrance to the North Rim, offers 38 primitive campsites suitable for tents and small RVs. This campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis and provides access to water, vault toilets, and fire rings. Keep in mind that DeMotte Campground is open seasonally and has a camping fee.

Kaibab Plateau Dispersed Camping:

Kaibab Plateau, situated within the Kaibab National Forest, offers numerous dispersed camping options. Look for Forest Road 22 and the surrounding area for potential boondocking sites. Be sure to follow all dispersed camping guidelines set by the Kaibab National Forest to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Boondocking Tips and Guidelines

Boondocking in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable experience, but it's crucial to be prepared and follow proper guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

1: When boondocking, it's essential to adhere to Leave No Trace principles. This includes properly disposing of waste, minimizing campfire impact, respecting wildlife, and leaving the area as you found it.

2: Boondocking means camping without access to amenities, so make sure to pack all necessary supplies, including water, food, cooking equipment, and personal hygiene items. Additionally, pack clothing and gear suitable for the high elevation and potential weather changes.

3: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations set by the Kaibab National Forest, including dispersed camping guidelines, fire restrictions, and road closures. Ensure your campsite is at least 200 feet from any water source and 100 feet from any road or trail.

Grand Canyon Lookout
Photo by Jenn Wood / Unsplash

Activities in the North Rim

Boondocking in the North Rim not only provides a unique camping experience but also allows for easy access to various outdoor activities in the area. Here are a few to consider:


The North Rim boasts a variety of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Some popular trails include the North Kaibab Trail, Cape Royal Trail, and the Transept Trail.

North Kaibab Trail

Wildlife Viewing:

The North Rim is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, bison, and various bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent creatures during your boondocking adventure. Some popular places in the area to view wildlife are the JD Dam, Kendrick Mountain Wilderness, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, and White Horse Lake Campground

Wildlife in the Kaibab Plateau


The breathtaking views and unique geological features of the North Rim make it a photographer's paradise. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the memories of your trip.


Boondocking at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers a unique and unforgettable experience for adventurous campers. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you'll be well-prepared to embark on your off-the-grid adventure and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this natural wonder.

Remember to stay safe, respect the environment, and connect with fellow boondockers to make the most of your North Rim camping experience.

Rusty checking out the view


Brent Conklin


Brent Conklin - Whiskey 7 Backroads
Owner of Whiskey7backroads and avid explorer. I am a Ham Radio extra class operator and frequent the Old Miss Net. I have been married for 32 years to Cheryl and we have 2 boys and 2 dogs.
Brent Conklin, owner of Whiskey 7 Backroads

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