We bought our little pop up with the intention of taking it on a big summer road trip. Last summer, we tent camped throughout the Sequoia National Forest and Yosemite. It was fun, but setting up camp was a lot of work. We watched with envy as neighboring RV’ers set up camp in minutes. A big motorhome wasn’t in the budget, but we figured a pop up could be worked in somehow. The rest is history! When we purchased our pop up, our goal was to get it ready for the big summer trip. We didn’t actually get everything on the list checked off, but we had it finished well enough to take it on the road, and we figured this would be a good opportunity to find out what worked and what still needed work. 🙂
Our ultimate goal was Yellowstone, so we utilized GoogleMaps to find our route and then planned several stops along the way. First stop? The North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We’d been to the South Rim before, and although we really enjoyed ourselves, it seemed a little bit like nature’s Disneyland. That place was busy! The North Rim was much quieter.
We decided to stay in the North Rim Campground, since it seemed to have all the things we needed. There are a few premium sites that sit right on the edge of the canyon where you can look out on the canyon from your campsite. Although we did not reserve one of those sites, we were not far from them and the canyon–only a 3 minute walk to the rim. It was beautiful.
The campground is well maintained. There are no hookups, but water is available. There is also a dump station. Our site happened to be a pull-through site, but we did see some back-in sites in the campground. We had bathrooms and drinking water faucets nearby, and the general store and showers were near the campground office. The showers were pretty cheap ($1.75 for 6 minutes) and the hot water was plentiful. Make sure you bring lots of quarters. One of our showers didn’t work (we were told that happens often), so it was a good thing we had extra change.
The sites themselves are pretty spacious. All vehicles must be parked on the pavement, and it wasn’t very level. We were really happy that we brought along our BAL leveler. It was definitely needed. Allowable RV size varies from site to site, so you’ll want to check out the requirements for each site on the campground website before you make your reservations. The fire rings and picnic tables weren’t very close to our camper, but the atmosphere was worth the inconvenience.
We were excited to discover that the Transept Trail runs right from the North Rim Campground, along the canyon, to the Grand Canyon Lodge. The trailhead was just a few minutes walk from our site. We had planned on visiting the lodge, and this 1.5 mile trail was a perfect way to get there. It isn’t paved, but it is a very easy trail, and the view are spectacular.
At the lodge, you’ll find gift shops, food, and a spacious patio, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the landscape. There is also a scenic view point just below the patio of the lodge. It is a perfect photo opportunity and a good spot to take in the majesty of the Grand Canyon. We were pressed for time, so after visiting the scenic view point, we hit the gift shop and explored the lodge a bit, then headed back to camp via the Bridle Trail. The Bridle Trail isn’t nearly as pretty, but it was a little faster. If you’ve got the time, take the Transept Trail back to the campground.
We were pretty impressed with the North Rim Campground. We really liked how spacious the sites were. There was more than enough space to spread out camp chairs by the fire. There wasn’t much in the way of privacy, but we didn’t have any problems with rowdy campers.
The campground is well patrolled–we saw several rangers make their rounds throughout our stay–and the staff all seemed very friendly. The kids enjoyed the walk to the general store in the afternoon, although the prices were pretty high. Firewood and ice was reasonably priced, though.
Things we loved:
- Warm, coin operated, cheap showers
- Flush toilets and drinking water available
- Dump station
- General store
- Gorgeous Canyon views
- Hiking trails nearby
Things we learned:
- Conserving water is really tough. 11 gallons of water gets used really fast when you’re washing dishes! 🙂
- It’s easier to use the campground toilets than the cassette potty. We didn’t want to go to the trouble of cleaning the cassette toilet for our one night stay, so we used the campground bathrooms. We ended up using the campground bathrooms the entire trip. It made us wonder… Is a cassette toilet really a necessity?
- We definitely need some type of outdoor kitchen area. We cooked on our outside stove exclusively. When the picnic table is several yards away, it makes mealtimes very difficult.
New to The Pop Up Princess? Would you like to catch up on our road trip adventures from the past five years? You can find those links here: