Action-Packed Grand Canyon NP Campervan Road Trip - Native Campervans
Action-Packed Grand Canyon NP Campervan Road Trip
The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s seven wonders and is home to beautiful rock formations, hiking trails, and spectacular views. Its bands of rocks reveal its million-year-old geological history, giving you peaks into the land’s rich history and past. View seekers look no further; you’ll never find more historic and breathtaking views than you will on this road trip. It’s time to take out your campervan for the best Grand Canyon road trip starting from our Las Vegas camper van rental office.
This 7-Day Itinerary includes stops to:
Las Vegas Valley of Fire Lake Mead Grand Canyon NP – North Rim Sedona Saguaro NP
DAY 1: Las Vegas to Atlatl Rock Campground
Distance: 1 hour, 50 miles Highlights: Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead
You’re here; you made it to vacation. You’ve spent the past few weeks slogging through never-ending workdays. Put that all behind you and get on the road, this first stop is a quick hour drive—Park your van at Atlatl Rock Campgrounds. The Grand Canyon expedition has because and your campervan is ready to go! Atlatl is a great place to set up camp for the night because it has 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone, petrified trees, and petroglyphs dating back to ancient times. The campground sits inside the Valley of Fire state park; you know what that means… some epic sunrises and sunsets as well as excellent hiking trails accessible directly from the campsite. If you watch a sunset or sunrise at Atlatl Rock, you’ll understand where the name Valley of Fire comes from.
After you check out your camp spot, head to Lake Mead for a day trip. From Atlatl campground, follow your GPS to Northshore Rd. Lake Meade is 46 miles from Atlatl and a great place to hang out for the afternoon. Don’t forget to load up your paddleboard or kayak! Start your vacation out on a relaxing note and sit out at the edge of the water on Lake Mead’s 750 miles of shoreline.
Need a break?
Stop for lunch at The Boat House; this marina-side restaurant has a wide selection of food and beer. We hear it has the best hamburger ever. You’ll have to let us know about that one. The Boat House is inside the Lake Meade recreation park, so you will need to pay the $25 park fee to get here (you’re going to have to pay that anyway when you get to Lake Mead).
You can also book an epic kayak tour with Blazin’ Paddles. Blazin’ Paddles offers full-day, half-day, and twilight paddles around the hoover dam. The best part is you just show up; Blazin’ Paddles takes care of the rest.
An alternative to Lake Meade is the Valley of Fire state park. The entrance of Valley of Fire is only 4.9 miles from Atlatl Rock Campground. Head over to the east entrance and check out elephant rock. You probably guessed it based on the name; the rock formation looks like an elephant. You can also head over to the Mouse’s Tank. Mouse’s Tank is a .75-mile round trip hike through fiery red sandstone rock formations to a natural rock basin. Whichever day trip you decide to do, you won’t be disappointed.
After a few hours of hanging by the lake or exploring Valley of Fire state park, head back to Atlatl Rock for dinner, a campfire, and the sunset. You’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow (hint, hint: you’re going to the GRAND CANYON!)
DAY 2: Atlatl Rock Campground to Grand Canyon North Rim
Distance: 3 hours, 160 miles Highlights: The freakin’ Grand Canyon
Have you ever seen one of the seven natural wonders of the world? If not, you’re about to be blown away. If you have seen a few natural wonders of the world before – we’re jealous, but you’re still going to be taken aback by the grandeur yet quietly powerful nature that is the Grand Canyon. Hit the road early, because if you haven’t noticed, your itinerary is pretty chock-full with some can’t-miss sights! Take your campervan for a quick stop at the Grand Canyon Village Market & Deli to pick up some supplies for dinner. We suggest reading out the Top 5 – Easy Dinner Meals on the Road article for some inspiration.
We’re headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon! The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is ideal for your van trip because it is less populated than the South Rim and has the same if not even better views and trails. Park your van at the North Rim Campground. Behold the sweeping views of the GC. (I have chills, I bet you do too!) The North Rim Campground is beautiful and has direct access to the Transept Trail and Bridle Trail; Bridle Trail connects to the North Kaibab Trail. The Transept Trail is excellent for beginner to moderate hikers. It is 2.9 miles out and back that takes you near the North Rim. Bridle trail is a little longer, with a 3.2 mile out and back. If you brought your bike, Bridle Trail is bike and pet-friendly.
Want a bite to eat?
If you didn’t bring your bike, don’t worry, Bright Angel Bicycles rents bikes and has a great café! Mather café offers sandwiches and coffee – the sandwich bread is baked fresh every day! Stop in to grab a sandwich and a bike before you head out on your Grand Canyon adventure.
After a day full of hiking and awe-inspiring views, head back to the campsite and hang out around the rim to watch the sun go down.
So, you’ve woken up on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, you’ve watched the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee or tea and you’re ready to hit the park for a second day. No trip to the Grand Canyon is complete without a trip around the rim or to the canyon floor on the back of a mule. These legendary mule rides will give you unique, unfathomable views of the canyon. The first mule ride was offered in 1887; not only are these mule rides fun, but they’re historic too! These mule rides are an all-day affair. You’ll find yourself traveling around the East Rim Trail for a four-mile, three-hour mule activity. You can book your mule adventure here.
After your mule ride, take a load off on the Grand Canyon Lodge patio. Grab a drink and relax in one of the rocking chairs along the patio’s edge. You’re on the road to Sedona tomorrow.
Distance: 4.5 hours, 230 miles Highlights: Rest, relaxation and a hekkin good time
First come, first serve dispersed camping at Coconino National Forest Road 525. This free camping has fantastic views of its own. Please note, when camping off forest service roads, we highly recommend you find your campsite well before nightfall. Additionally, spots aren’t guaranteed and you can’t claim them and leave throughout the day. But freedom camping can’t be beaten!
Sedona is home to fantastic hiking trails like the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead. Devil’s Bridge is a 3.9-mile out-and-back trail over the largest natural sandstone arch in Sedona. For view chasers, this an absolute must-do. An alternative to hiking is an off-road excursion. Rent an ATV or UTV from the Sedona Off-Road Center and explore the red-rocks from the quad cab. The Off-Road center provides you with trail maps and a chest of ice for a picnic lunch; you could spend all day out in the desert.
Want something more relaxing?
For those campervanners looking for a little more calm, head into Sedona and book a spa treatment at the Sedona Infinity Spa. The Sedona Infinity Spa is known for its magical salt cave. Relax and rejuvenate from your hiking adventure in the Grand Canyon.
Have lunch or dinner at Ken’s Creekside. Ken’s offers two red rock patio views and some pretty stellar southwestern lunches and Dinners. We’re headed back into the wilderness tomorrow!
Distance: 3.5 hours, 225 miles Highlights: Saguaro National Park
Cozy up in Catalina State Park campgrounds. Catalina is located near Saguaro NP and at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Vehicle camping is not permitted in Saguaro NP, but Catalina is the next best thing!
Saguaro NP is only 16 miles from Catalina State Park and makes a great day trip! Each trail in the Saguaro NP is full of beautiful rock and sandstone creations, and the wild cactus’ growing would make any cactus lover swoon. There are thousands of hiking trails in Saguaro, ranging from beginner to difficult. Check out the trails available here and get to walking! You have some cacti to see.
On your way back to the campsite, stop in Tucson at Barrio Brewing; it is one of the oldest breweries in Tucson and has a huge tasting room. Try all the local beers and relax after a fun-filled day in Saguaro NP. You have more campervan driving to do on your Grand Canyon road trip, so enjoy a nice calm night.
Head back over to Saguaro NP after a slow morning at the Catalina campground, you’ve got some petroglyphs to find! Once you arrive at Saguaro, take a walk around the Signal Hill Petroglyphs. These rocks display 800-year-old art drawn by the Hohokam people. The best part about a whole day in Saguaro is that you can explore both the east and west sides of the park.
Start your morning on the west side of the park with the petroglyphs, then take a walk through the Desert Discovery Nature Trail. This trail is only ½ a mile with informational stops and signs along the way. Learn about the desert and the Saguaro cactus on this easy ½ mile walk. Have a picnic lunch and then head to the east side of the park.
When you get to the east side of the park, take a drive through the Cactus Forest. The Cactus Forest takes you on a tour of the insanely tall cacti that live in Saguaro NP. The road ends at the visitor’s center. Hop out of the van for a quick 2-mile hike through Mica View Trail. Mica is great for all hikers and allows you an up close and personal view of the cacti that you just passed in the van. You might run into a roadrunner!
A long day in Saguaro NP makes for tired adventurers. Head back to Catalina campground and hang out around the campfire. Then enjoy your last night in the campervan and reminisce about your amazing week in the Grand Canyon!
Day 7: Catalina State Park to Native Campervans – Las Vegas
Distance: 6.5 hours, 410 miles
After your amazing Grand Canyon campervan expedition, it’s time to hang up your hiking shoes and return your van to HQ. We’ve made a playlist for your long drive home; check it out on Spotify. We hope you had the most amazing, awe-inspiring trip with great views, great food, and great trails. We would love to see pictures of your vanventure; tag us at @nativecampervans or hashtag your photos with #nativevanlife. Keep us in mind when it’s time to get back out in nature again and check out our campervan rental Las Vegas page.