I had never been to the Grand Canyon before and it was on my short list of places I needed to visit. This trip provided the perfect opportunity for that. When we started our planning, a friend had suggested we go to the south rim and we check out the Mather Campground. When we looked at it, it provided us several things we were looking for: showers, laundry, decent campsites, and proximity to the visitors center and the grocery store.
Mather Campground is a massive campground. There are flushing toilets and they have water spigots throughout the campground. Sites are somewhat private, but we found the campground to be very loud. I haven’t heard that many car alarms go off in one night in a busy city, and can only assume it has to do with the number of rental cars being used. There was also some strange screaming or parties in the middle of the night from some sites which was a little rattling.
Like the other large national parks, the showers are housed in a building at the entrance to the campground along with the laundry. They were pretty clean and there is a fee to use them. I can’t remember exactly the cost, but with the way we shower we washed both the Lad and myself in one charge. Laundry was quite expensive, and if you have clothes that need to be dried on low heat, I would suggest avoiding the dryers as they get super hot and will melt things (speaking from experience). Just outside of the campground is the grocery store and and a strip mall with a restaurant and a bank. You are very close to the visitors center, which was great.
Also like the other national parks, there is no shortage of wild life. The ravens woke us up each morning with their woeful, tortured cries, and this elk joined us for breakfast two mornings.
We entered from the East Entrance, and made a quick wrong turn into the Desert View Campground, which is a smaller campground. Reservations are not accepted (first come, first serve) and on this trip since we were planning to get in late we wanted to make sure we had a spot. I saw a few open sites on our drive through, but we already had reservations. In the future I would try to stay here for a couple of reasons: 1) the campground is smaller and things seemed so much quieter, 2) the site is right near the Tower which we didn’t get to see on this trip and a visitor’s center. There are awesome views from the area, 3) there is a cell tower that gave me coverage (AT&T), which I really needed on this trip. This is just seemed to be a much quieter part of the park. That is more our style.