All About Mather Campground | Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

All About Mather Campground | Grand Canyon National Park South Rim


Greetings from the Grand Canyon. Specifically, I’m on the South Rim Side inside the National Park at the Mather campground, where I’m going to be spending the next couple of nights. I’m gonna give you a tour of my campsite as well as the surrounding campgrounds and facilities and letting you know what I think. So if you want to learn more stick around, let’s go check it out. So I’ve just arrived here at the Mather campground within the last hour or so and I went ahead and set up my tent as usual and I thought I’d start off with a quick tour of the campground. And is very common with a lot of the National Park sites you get a fire ring with an attached grill, which I’ll be making good use of in the next night or two. And of course, you get a little picnic table. Now one reason I chose this particular site: site 242, is because behind me there are no other sites this is on the outer edge of the loop that I’m camping on. So my hope is is not only will be a little more quiet with less light pollution, maybe I can see some more stars out this way. Maybe there’ll be some wildlife encounters also. Hopefully I don’t regret this decision. I don’t think I will. Looking at my site here, if I turn this way right off in the distance are the restrooms and a dumpster to put away my waste. And another shot of the back of my tent and the neighboring site. Let’s go take a look at the restroom facilities. Okay, looks like it’s all clear. So this is what a bathroom looks like here at the Mather campground. It’s the men’s room you have ample stalls. So far, pretty clean. Yeah, this is a very clean stall. A little thing to dry your hands. Soap. We’ve got toilet paper, a urinal, and me! Hey! Let’s go sneak here on the other side of the building. Oh, nice! Nice touch! They have a sink here for washing dishes, specifically. Sometimes they don’t have that at campgrounds. Now I don’t know if it’s early today or not… there aren’t too many other… there are a lot of vacancies here. A lot of people haven’t set up yet so either people just haven’t checked in or it might be a quiet one. Now this is not my first time camping here at the Mather campground over the years. I actually think this is my fourth time I believe, starting way back in 2002, which I think was my first year that I camped here. But it has been a very long time. So, honestly I don’t remember too much but what I do like about this particular campground is it’s very nice and in the woods amongst all these pine trees. So it’s very pretty, but just note that you can’t see the Grand Canyon from the campground. You do have to walk a little ways to get to that. So there’s really no grandiose scenery here in the campground but it is nice and quiet usually here amongst the trees. Let’s go explore this area behind the campground. I don’t see any signs prohibiting me from walking back here, and it does look like this path has been trodden. So I’m just going to try to stay on this and see if there’s anything interesting over here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see some deer or something like that. To give you an idea of what the surrounding terrain is like… I actually see a mule deer I believe! I’m going to try to get closer, although you know what? I don’t know if I want to go bother it because I don’t think you’re supposed to approach the wildlife here, so I’m going to keep my distance but there you go! Those were the same kind of deer that I saw I think about a week ago when I camped at Zion National Park. And by the way, if you want to check out a review of that campground I’ll put a link down in the description below. That was an awesome campground by the way! Now one thing to be wary of… I’m gonna try to get closer to it… are those big ravens. Do you see that? When I went to the ranger station to check in, that’s their big warning is that to make sure you lock up all your stuff because ravens are probably the biggest nuisance here. They’re very smart. And he showed me some pictures of what they do. They will just completely rip your campground to shreds, dispersing trash and stuff everywhere. And he said they even have flown off with people’s keys and wallets before. So yeah, you want to be careful about those ravens. So yeah, as you could see, walking back there to take a peek, there’s nothing back there. And there is wildlife back there. So who knows what kind of adventures we’re gonna have on this particular trip here? I also meant to show this to you earlier. This is the entrance to the campground where you check in and I drove down here and then up this loop. I’m on the Oak Loop by the way. And a couple other important pieces of information for you: check out, when it’s your day to leave is at 11 a.m. here at the campground currently and you can check in as early as noon. Also, the quiet hours here are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. So I figure maybe what I can do now is walk around the campground and let’s go take a look at some of the other campsites and see how they stack up to the one that I chose. Overall you know I’m seeing a lot of these sites are very comparable. I didn’t really see anything that stuck out like being like, “Oh, that site is so much better than this other one”. They’re all tucked away nicely here in the pines. Now I haven’t found the nearest pump for drinking water next to my site, but here’s one. We’ll have to find mine later perhaps. It operates very easily. Just pull that up like that. Ooh! This one doesn’t have much water pressure, but it works, and the water is very cold. This site, site 208 borders this path so I wonder if I get a lot of foot traffic walking by. You might want to be careful if you’re walking here or if you have accessibility needs because the path could use a little bit of work I’d say. At nighttime that might be a hazard so be careful! Okay, so I think up next I’m going to get my car and drive over and get some firewood and some ice for the cooler. Maybe some food and grub for tonight. Probably hot dogs. Oh my god! I’ve never seen one of these in my life! I think that’s an elk, is it not? Like right here! It is so large and so beautiful! I’m not going to bother you! So what kind of Cactus Atlas camping guide episode would it be if we didn’t come across something really cool in the form of wildlife? That is crazy! I’ve never… actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those since I’ve lived in Arizona… in the wild. Maybe I’ve seen them in captivity. I don’t really remember. Wow! Just to give you some perspective this is the Cactus Atlas mobile and that is an elk. My campsite. Elk. That is a little crazy and cool. Now here’s one reason why it might be nice to camp here, especially if you’re not used to camping is you’ve got this general store which is basically a big supermarket. They sell propane over here, if you need that. And that’s not open right now but that would be good. Here the current hours for the store. It closes at 10:00 p.m. and the deli is open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Whoa! Got a lot of stuff in here! [Music] You’re not going to go hungry here at the Grand Canyon, that’s for sure! [Music] You have lots of different meats. [Music] They have quite the selection of teas, sodas, and the beer selection actually looks quite nice! And of course you’ve got your ice, more craft beers here. Also come here and look at the gift shop. There’s lots of cool stuff back here. Lots of camping equipment in case you forgot something. Looks like you also have a deli here. The Canyon Deli. And even pizza. So you see what I’m talking about? How there’s lots of convenience here. I mean this is awesome! If you’ve never been camping before, you’re not gonna have too rough of a time here at the Grand Canyon South Rim. By the way all of this, the general store, and the Yavapai Lodge and the restaurant is all within walking distance of the Mather campground. Although most people probably drive their cars over here like I did because you don’t want to haul stuff. It would be a little bit of a walk, but it borders the campground, so the main point I’m trying to make here is that it’s extremely, extremely convenient. And of course there’s shuttle service here at the little village and there is actually a stop with those shuttles next to the Mather campground also. Things here at the Grand Canyon are very spread out. There are lots of different viewpoints from up on the canyon. Different hiking trails. So taking the shuttles like this one here is a very common thing so being near a stop is invaluable so having a stop at the front of the Mather campground really makes getting around super easy here. Okay so now that I’m back from a little shopping trip at the general store here at the Grand Canyon, I did buy two bags of ice and a bundle of wood, firewood. And the firewood here is $7.59 per bundle where it was maybe about a dollar cheaper, I think, at Zion when I went last week. They do give you one extra log but they’re not the biggest logs. And then the bags of ice were four… I think over four bucks. Something like $4.69. Actually, that was correct. $4.69. So those were a buck more than the bags of ice near the Zion Outfitter. So a little bit more expensive here at the Grand Canyon but once again, I suppose you do pay for convenience. Another observation I had is at these campgrounds there’s a fine dirt powder here. So the ground is soft you can see it’s very dry right now, but they’re really, unlike other campgrounds, it’s not as gravelly. And I kind of like that, but I would highly recommend that you buy a mat or something for inside your tent or outside your tent. I actually bought a mat since the last trip. So I have a little bit of an idea. since there’s still plenty of sun left and it’s really beautiful right now, I thought, let’s do a quick experiment. Let’s walk from the Mather campground, where I’m at now… off this way to the rim trail. That’s the Grand Canyon. Maybe we can get there around sunset and check it out. We’ll probably get there before sunset, but I’ll time it and we can see how far it takes to get from here to here. Okay, so what we’ll do here is I’ll start this stopwatch and we’ll see how long it takes to get to the rim trail to see the Grand Canyon. Now I did confirm I think the sun sets around 6:30 p.m. this time of the year. It’s behind some clouds right now so it might look darker than it actually is. So I think we’ve got plenty of time to walk to the rim. Of course, I’m timing it so we’ll find out how long it actually takes. And there’s this very nice trail here next to the main road so I don’t have to walk on the road. I’m assuming this is the one that’s gonna take me out of the campground and down to the Grand Canyon. I stumbled across this right off that trail that we were walking down. Looks like right off the campground. Maybe they do some kind of storytelling or entertainment here. There’s much much beauty and serenity amongst these pines. Ponderosa pines if I’m not mistaken. Now I just missed it and I don’t want to catch the thing, but here is the Mather campground shuttle stop with a handy map just to kind of get our bearings. We’re here right now and I want to get here on foot. Here is a schedule of when the buses arrive. This is helpful. 5:00 a.m. I imagine it’s still a little dark at that point, but that goes to the visitor center. So if you want to catch a sunrise which maybe we’ll try to do that tomorrow, the buses start early, regardless of what I’m trying to say, and they end late. So you’ve got a nice long day of free transportation once you’re in the park to take advantage of. Very similar to Zion National Park, the entrance fee to get into here the Grand Canyon is $35 per vehicle or $20 per person on foot. I highly recommend buying a national parks pass if you can and try to make it a point to go to several national parks throughout the year. I’ve probably already paid for mine almost two times over very quickly because some of these parks like Zion and Grand Canyon aren’t cheap to get into if you drive in there. $35.00 for the carload. I believe it was what $80.00 to buy that. You could see… do the math it… pays for itself very quickly and you’re supporting a good cause. Looks like there are parking lots here if you decide to drive your car into the the park… parking can be very tricky to find here, I’m hearing at certain times of the year. But right now looks like there would be no problem. Ok, so you could see my stopwatch. I’m at 35 minutes 52 seconds from walking from my tent to here. I was in one of the back areas, probably the furthest back you could be. At the Mather campground. I also wasted a lot of time. I had to change a camera battery, film some stuff. So I think you could safely shave off maybe about 10 minutes from how long it took. So I’d say it takes about 20 minutes to 25 minutes to hike from the Mather campground from the back section to here. Probably less, if you’re more towards the front of it. Let’s go check this out. This might be a good spot here to see what we can see. I do see some nice glowing ambience down there. Some sunset ambience. And there’s just nobody over here. Oh yeah, look at that! So the problem that I have is is that like over there, there’s that piece that comes out. I think you might want to be on the other side of that. But regardless, look at that! You can see the Bright Angel Trail, which I’m gonna be hiking tomorrow, right down below. This is one of the reasons why it’s worth spending the night in the Grand Canyon, because it’s hard to do this if you drive in or take in the train or anything like that. What I can tell you is camping here is a prime and cheap way to do this. And just to tease you, way out over there on the other side is the North Rim, where I’ve never been and I’ve booked a camping trip over there for about a week from now, before it gets too cold up over ther. I’m really excited that I’m gonna be on that side really soon. It’s amazing how quickly the light just fades away. Sunsets only lasts but a few moments here. Okay, so I’m going to go back to the campsite now and will fry up… fry up.. go grill up, those bratwursts that I bought. I’m really excited about that and just chill for the rest of the night. I am back at the camp. It’s very dark now. Not pitch-black. So yeah, bring a flashlight if you walk to the rim to see the sunset from the campground, especially if you’re towards the back. So one thing about this campground that I’m loving is there is not much light pollution here at all. My fire is really the only major light pollution right now. The bathrooms are over there so I imagine that this is gonna be some really good, prime star watching. I’ve got a clearing, right above the trees here. Might be able to lay on a table at night and watch for shooting stars. It’s so dark right now and I haven’t eaten yet But, there’s really no point in filming out here. So much darker than Zion was but that’s actually not a bad thing. I’m going to shut down the camera for the night. I still have another night to go. Maybe we’ll do some more filming then but it’s just wanted to wish you a good night! My stay here has come to an end. I’ve packed up my campsite and it’s time to hit the road. But before I do I wanted to give you a few final thoughts about my experience here at the Mather campground. It wasn’t my first time as I think I’ve mentioned and as always the stay was awesome. The campsites are very clean, it’s very nice and quiet here. All of the campsites are tucked away amongst all the pine trees. Very beautiful, lots of awesome wildlife as you saw. I saw elk, saw mule deer. What else could you ask for in that department? Pretty cool stuff. Also I always say that if you’re new to camping or maybe a little skittish of camping this is a great campground to cut your teeth on that. You’re so close to so many conveniences such as a fully stocked grocery store, restaurants, a tavern, shuttles, showers you name it. All of the creature comforts that we have grown accustomed to in our lives exist right here within walking distance. So with that said, big thumbs up to the Mather campground as usual. I can’t wait to be back. If you’re new here please subscribe to our channel and if you like this video give it a big thumbs up. Also, hit that notification bell if you want to stay informed any time we release new videos which we’re doing all of the time. Also, you could find us on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, under the name Cactus Atlas. Well I’m out of here, I hope you had a good time and we’ll see you again on a new adventure really soon! See you later! That is one thirsty animal! [Music]

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  1. so next time you want to time a hike, either stop the clock when you stop OR you could have timed it on the hike back and it would be more accurate. Nice camp ground and hard to beat the views at the GC!

  2. My family and I love Mather campgrounds and stay there often. Great way to unwind from the day to day hustle and bustle of the city. Lots of fun, and it is very dark at night. Biking can also be a lot of fun too. Oh so many memories. Now a word about your video – Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Absolutely loved how you allowed the quiet for the viewer to enjoy the deer roaming through. (Another thing one will always see if you stay at Mather) You do a great job explaining and covering questions the viewer might be thinking or what you think the viewer might need/want to know. That said, looking forward to your North-rim video, been a while since I‘ve made it over to that side of the canyon. Really, really enjoy your channel and am always glad to find the notice that another video has been posted. Thanks a lot from a fan in Phoenix.

  3. Hey Atlas! Thanks for the awesome video! Planning a trip from Houston for this March and was looking for info on Mather Campgrounds. Thanks to you, I didnt have to look far, and you covered just about everything. Awesome job, bud. Can't wait!

    Heading to your Zion video after this because we are also going there on our trip.

    👍👍👍👍

  4. Thank you so much for this video! My family and I are taking a trip this summer and I've booked 4 nights here. This video really shows what the area is like! We are actually staying right near the camp site you were at. We can't wait!!!

  5. This video is well put together and very informative! I enjoyed watching it very much! My fiance and I are taking a 8000 mile road trip for our honeymoon and the Grand Canyon is one of our destinations. We already reserved our spot at the Mather Campground. Thanks a lot for this video!

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