Perched on a prominence less than a quarter mile from the ranger station on the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the aptly named North Rim Campground is a small, rugged, and comfortable campground is the only such camping option for north rim visitors short of BLM land to the west.
Much like the Grand Canyon several hundred miles to the south, campgrounds and amenities on the canyon’s south rim are far more developed than those on the north rim, where roads are unpaved. The North Rim Campground has only 13 sites with no hookups for RVs, and vehicles longer than 35 feet aren’t recommended. Water is available here, but because it is brought in by truck, it is limited.
The absence of creature comforts relative to the better-developed South Rim Campground coupled with the access to Black Canyon’s multi-pitch trad climbing attracts a crowd that is more comfortable with a rougher camping experience and who are, as a general rule, very friendly and laid back. The young, the athletic, and the romantic will find a comfortable base camp at the North Rim Campground.
Shaded by juniper and pine, the North Rim Campground offers plenty of shade and plenty of anchors for tarps and hammocks. In fact, weather permitting (patterns can be mercurial here), sleeping in a hammock in the open is a rewarding experience. Additionally, the Chasm Overlook is a short hike from the campground and a great way to begin or end the day with a meal or a cup of coffee.
The best campsites are on the outer ring, in particular those nearest the canyon. The campground may fill up fast, but don’t be shy. The North Rim Campground is your only option, and the south rim is at least a two-hour drive. Swallow your pride and ask a neighbor for a tent spot. You may be surprised to find them eager to oblige.