Why Private tented camping:
Private tented camping is an experience unto itself, a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the national park in the USA. These are some of the most remote and visually stunning places in the USA.
Accommodation located close to the national parks tend to be basic and in tourist focused areas. A private camp offers an exclusive destination in accommodation personally designed for you.
Staying in the private camp means activity locations are literally on the doorstep, no long transfers are needed so more time can be spent enjoying the great outdoors. The guides Steppes use in each area are some of the best in the USA, far superior to the regular national park guides. The landscapes have such a vast geological history and diverse, often inaccessible terrain that a guide is paramount.
Imagine eating dinner under the stars on a private beach by Lake Powell, exploring the lush forests of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon or the hills of Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Each location is spectacular, each camp customised for you.
Read about Lucia van der Post's experience staying in a private tented camp on the edge of Lake Powell in the Financial Times How to Spend it
What is Included
- Full service staff available at all times, generally a team of three or four for a family booking
- Basic but comfortable tents (non-permanent) equipped with dining facilities, a lounging area for relaxing, telescope for stargazing, hot showers and toilet tents.
- The camp can be set up for any number with queen beds for couples, twin beds for kids as well as bunk beds for larger families.
- Each bed comes with linen sheets and duvets.
- A cook designs a custom menu with any dietary needs in mind and prepares the meals each day.
Locations and Experiences
The national parks offer stunning and often unique scenery, the best way to really get a feel for them is to head off with a guide and explore. Opportunities are endless, hiking, biking, climbing, helicopter rides, luxury dinner and picnics are just a few.
Big Sur on the central coast of California sits on a dramatic coastline amid a forest of Californian redwoods. With a back drop of the Santa Lucia Mountains this is a fantastic area of wilderness to explore. Big Sur offers an enchanting stretch of coast along Highway 1.
This area offers great options for families as there are no high end properties on Big Sur that will allow children.
- Explore Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park with dramatic waterfall, coastline and huge redwood forest.
- Rock climbing is a great activity in this area
- Kayaking along the dramatic coast is a fun experience
- With a view of the Pacific Ocean and the sunsets it affords in your own private camp with no one but you, your family and a glass of wine is priceless.
Grand Canyon North Rim:
The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is one of the first national parks in the United States and one of the most well-known. It is a vast steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River, which stretches over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and with a depth of 1,800 metres. It is a stunning place that overwhelms the senses with its size and beauty.
There is no high end accommodation at the north or south rim of the Grand Canyon, so private camping is a great alternative.
- Take a guided trip into the Grand Canyon with high level guides, better standard than the regular national park guides.
- It is possible to sleep overnight at the base of the Grand Canyon, an incredible experience.
- Single track mountain-biking on the North Rim Trail is world class. There is something for everyone but for the keen rider this is the ultimate camp activity.
- Learn about the night sky and with an evening of astronomy
- For a bird’s eye view take a helicopter flight over the canyon
Lake Powell is a huge reservoir on the Colorado River, created by flooding the Glen Canyon. It is an area of stunning scenery and incredible coloured sandstone formations. Lake Powell has more coastline than the entire west coast of the United States, as a result there are numerous canyons and slot canyons to explore.
- Great area for water sports – explore the otherworldly slot canyons by kayak or paddle boards, a unique experience.
- Travel away from the main tourist areas with an expert guide on Lake Powell and find some really peaceful areas to absorb and appreciate the beauty.
- With camp so close, slot canyon abseiling is a must do on Lake Powell. All the camp staff are qualified to set up ropes into the slot canyons.
- Take a wonderful lunch or dinner on your own private beach surrounded by surreal scenery, a really special moment.
- Take a speed boat out onto Lake Powell and discover a section of the huge lake coastline.
- Spend time fishing on the reservoir, a great spot for bass, carp and bluegill.
- Explore the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s largest known natural bridge.
- Float down the nearby Colorado River and discover the petroglyphs and amazing Colorado River canyon scenery.
- Have a private dining experience on the Colorado River bank, horseshoe bend is a spectacular spot for lunch.
The Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is one of the most scenically diverse areas in the world. An area of colourful sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, plains and plateaus. The monument can be divided into two distinct areas, the Escalante River Canyon which has waterfalls, arches and narrow canyons and the more remote and less visited Grand Staircase which has the most extensive network of slot canyons in Utah. With big-name national parks like Zion and Bryce on its borders, Escalante remains fairly untouched and unknown outside of Utah.
- This area is very rich in dinosaur fossils, explore the area with a Palaeontologist guide and incorporate time in a fossil lab.
- Having a telescope to look out at the stars in one of the most remote places in the lower 48 adds an entirely new element to camping. Seeing the rings around Saturn, a frame filing view of the moon or the moons around Jupiter create a very unique camping program.
- One of the best areas for canyoneering, an activity which involves navigating the maze-like red twisting slot canyons.
- This area of pristine, unspoilt scenery is waiting to be explored on foot. Wander amongst the gravity defying sandstone arches and bridges, and marvel at the colourful domes.
- Helicopter into Bryce Canyon, an incredible experience flying over the fascinating, almost mythical hoodoos.
Camp just outside the west entrance to the National Park which not only provides quick access to the park but also in a private, incredibly scenic environment with lots of wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park is the first National Park in the world and home to the majority of the world's geysers. The diversity found in these 3,500 square miles is amazing and ranges in both geology and wildlife. The park is made up of many lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. It is also home to 1,700 species of trees and plants and hundreds of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles.
- A specialist private guide can take you to the lesser-known areas which are perfect for wildlife viewing as well as the famous geothermal sites.
- Fishing is a year round activity in this area on the rivers and lakes, go with an expert guide to their favourite fishing holes. Learn the basics or perfect your cast whilst stalking wild trout.
- Camping under the stars and listening to a naturalist guide speak about the wolf habitat in the area is amazing.