We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Camping in Flagstaff area

Which Flagstaff hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Paoli, Pennsylvania
posts: 9
Camping in Flagstaff area


We are two people from sweden that are gonna roadtrip this summer. One of the stop is the Flagstaff/Grand Canyon area. We were thinking that we could camp in the Flagstaff area so we can have few days in grand canyon and a few around the Flagstaff area.

Any camping recommedations? Anything we should be aware of? We stumbled upon the expession "dispersed camping". And we saw that there were a lot of them around Flagstaff. How does they work? What is best? To pay for camping or to go dispersed camping?

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 53,402
reviews: 42
1. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

I have no idea about dispersed camping around Flag but if you want to visit Grand Canyon NP I strongly suggest to set up camp there. Flagstaff still is a 1.5 hours drive from the rim. A stay at the Grand Canyon will enhance your stay considerably imo.


Edited: 10:04 am, May 17, 2013
posts: 1,418
reviews: 109
2. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

There is wonderful dispersed camping within a mile of the Grand Canyon East Rim Drive in the Kaibab National Forest. (I haven't actually camped there, but a friend camps there often and says it's safe and convenient.) You can get order a road map of the Kaibab from the Forest Service, and it shows the numbers of the roads. Road conditions can change due to weather, but I drove into the area with a sedan with no problem. The area I explored (where my friend camps) was near Grandview Tower--it's about a mile from the national park; you can access the area from a road leading south near the turn off for the Grandview Point overlook. The park service map indicates that a 4-wheel drive is needed for the short section inside the park, but I found that stretch in even better condition than the forest service section (and the forest service says a 2-wheel drive vehicle is adequate in that area). There is a restroom at Grandview Tower, but I don't recall any running water, so you'd need to have your own drinking water. (The forest service also rents a cabin--the Bill Hull cabin--about a mile from Grandview Tower, but it's a little pricey--just very secluded and unique.)

Also, there is an established forest service campground near Tusayan, just south of the Grand Canyon park entrance. I haven't camped there either, but it's certain to be less primitive than the dispersed camping near Grandview Tower (with a small charge for camping). Mather Campground inside the park is just fine but of course very crowded during much of the year.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,770
reviews: 14
3. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

For the Grand Canyon, my recommendation is to camp in the Grand Canyon National Park. There are two developed campgrounds at the South Rim (see the website at the link below.) Flagstaff is a 60-90 minute drive from the Canyon; a little too far to be convenient. The Park campgrounds are very popular in summer, so having a reservation at Mather would be an advantage. Otherwise, you need to arrive in the morning to secure a campsite.


"Dispersed camping" means camping on your own, without any amenities like water, bathrooms, etc. This is typically allowed in the National Forest areas. Around Flagstaff and Sedona is the Coconino National Forest, closer to the Grand Canyon is the Kaibab National Forest. You can read about dispersed camping in the Coconino NF here:


You might really enjoy camping near Sedona. These are developed campgrounds, some are more rustic than others, and some can be reserved.


The driving distances in the southwest are quite long and, in general, trying to stay in one place and see different areas ends up being inefficient. It's best to move camp and stay near the places you want to visit.

posts: 1,418
reviews: 109
4. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area


Here are two links that might help:


The following one tells how to get to the dispersed camping area that my friend uses; the 3rd access described (from inside the national park) would involve the least amount of driving on unpaved forest service roads. But as I said in the earlier post, the roads were no problem when I was there.


Santa Fe, New Mexico
posts: 3,449
reviews: 61
5. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

As things are very dry ... dispersed camping and certainly Open or cooking fires will be disallowed... Inqire at the local Forest Service Station ... carracar

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona
posts: 1,695
reviews: 8
6. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

Bonito Campground (Nat'l Forest Service) is a good campground, right next to Sunset Crater Nat'l Monument. Also a good place to stay to visit Wupatki and Walnut Canyon Nat'l Monuments.


Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,379
reviews: 38
7. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

Heed carracar's warning about fires and stoves in the very dry high desert areas. Camping in a developed campground usually allows you to have fires and stoves, when dispersed camping may not.

Henderson, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
posts: 2,019
reviews: 57
8. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

I would suggest splitting your time - a couple of nights at the canyon and one or two nights in Flagstaff to have the opportunity to visit the sites around town.

The campground at Fort Tuthill is developed, close to town and yet feels very remote. I would recommend that if you decide to stay in/near Flagstaff.

posts: 1
9. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

Thank you

10. Re: Camping in Flagstaff area

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:19 am, September 12, 2014