REI Buys Grand Canyon Land for Glamping Destination

Currently, REI has three signature camps at Bryce Canyon National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Zion National Park. However, the planned expansion in 2025 at Grand Canyon National Park could become the crown glamping jewel. The co-op just purchased a 20-acre property in Williams, Ariz., and will offer “a self-sustaining” camp building on the 14 trips currently offered for the Grand Canyon.

Williams is a small town (six square blocks!) planted on historic Route 66, only 2 miles west of Flagstaff, Ariz. Although not exactly next door to Grand Canyon National Park, at 60 miles south, the location may offer enough geographic buffer to avoid the summer tourist crowds.

“Boasting seven area fishing lakes, hiking trails up Bill Williams Mountain and into Sycamore Canyon, an alpine ski area and cross-country ski trails, four seasons weather and an abundance of wildlife, Williams offers unlimited recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast,” claims the town’s official website.

And property in the area is relatively affordable. A current listing offers 36.7 acres for an asking price of $47,000. The bean counters at REI must be happy.

REI Co-op Adventures also invested in its other campgrounds. Last year, the company doubled the size of its Bryce Canyon National Park signature camp to meet ongoing demand. It’s one of REI’s most popular trips, and the expansion means more spots would be available.

And there’s a new trip option: the 5-day Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef Hiking Adventure. If you’ve never visited Capitol Reef National Park, you’re missing out on one of the country’s most incredible outdoor destinations. And this trip includes a local astronomer to show visitors the wonders of the park’s awe-inspiring night sky.