Under Canvas

Northern
The main tent at Under Canvas | Photograph by John Burcham
By Ameema Ahmed | Photograph by John Burcham

Imagine camping under the stars near the Grand Canyon on a beautiful summer evening. Now, imagine doing it without having to set up anything yourself. There’s real bedding and furniture — and, perhaps best of all, an actual bathroom. That’s what you can expect at Under Canvas, a unique “glamping” experience a short drive from the South Rim.

“The way we describe [glamping] is to think of all the comfortable elements you have at an upscale hotel, but within a 100-plus-acre location where you’re staying in a safari-inspired tent with high-quality linens and an en suite bathroom,” says Matt Gaghen, the CEO of Under Canvas.

The concept takes a love of the outdoors and makes it more accessible. Tents vary in size and amenities, but each comes with furniture, a wood-burning stove and housekeeping services.

“I love camping; I’m a backpacker myself,” Gaghen says. “But as I’ve gotten older, my wife has reminded me that she’s not gonna go backpacking. She’ll come stay at Under Canvas, though.”

Currently, Under Canvas is operating at nine locations across the country, all near popular National Park Service sites. And by keeping nature at the forefront of the experience, the company aims to have a low impact on the areas it occupies. “We have less impact on water and energy usage because we don’t landscape or put pools in our locations,” Gaghen says. “We focus on connecting people with the environment, and we try to keep it natural.”

After checking in at Under Canvas, guests get access to their personal tents, as well as an outdoor public area with a restaurant, fire pits and organized activities for adults and children. The canvas tents, surrounded by trees and fresh air, offer the full experience of being out in nature, while the inside of each tent offers the comforts of an upscale hotel. With more than 80 tents on-site, each visit can feel completely different based on the location and style of tent you choose.

While tents do have battery-powered lanterns with the ability to charge cellphones, Under Canvas does not provide electricity or Wi-Fi — part of an effort to encourage people to connect with the outdoors and enjoy activities both on and off the property.

“The activities vary by week and are chosen by the guest experience coordinator at each site,” says May Lilley, Under Canvas’ chief marketing officer. “We’ve got an amazing depth of skill sets in our camp staff, and it’s kind of a fun way for them to show their personality and embrace local nuances.” Activities range from yoga and guided hikes during the day to live music and movies in the evening.

The Grand Canyon site, located in Valle, is about a 30-minute drive from Grand Canyon National Park’s south entrance. Tent reservations can be made online for all Under Canvas locations, including the new Lake Powell-Grand Staircase site in Southern Utah, which is near Arizona attractions such as Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.

Under Canvas is located at 979 Airpark Lane in Valle. For more information, call 888-496-1148 or visit undercanvas.com/camps/grand-canyon.