Grapevine is a popular camp, due to its size and somewhat close proximity to Phantom Ranch. While it’s not a large camp by Grand Canyon standards, it is large for this section of the canyon as there aren’t many big camps to choose from. In fact, going off of the NPS list, this is the closest “large” camp that is above Phantom Ranch with the next option being upriver from Grapevine approximately 5.5 miles at Nevills, which is quite far away.
Grapevine Camp is a long sandbar with most tent sites on the downstream end of the camp, with the groover tucked away upstream and the kitchen and chairs between the two. If you’re allowed to burn, make sure you plan out your firewood well in advance because there won’t be any at the camp and nothing nearby.
Be diligent with tying off your rafts as there isn’t much of an eddy at all, primarily current going by the sandbar. As you should be doing at all camps, set up a raft safety line as well.
While Grapevine Rapid is just downstream, it is a challenging scramble to get to it from camp. If you intend to scout, you’re better off doing it the following morning by pushing off, floating downriver to the rapid, and pulling over just above it. That’s not to say the scramble can’t be done, it’s just a bit dicey.
Keep in mind that this is an exchange camp as designated in the Noncommercial River Trip Regulations: “Between March 1 and October 31 all camps in the Colorado River corridor between River Mile 77.5 (below Hance Rapid) and River Mile 89.8 (below Pipe Creek Rapid) are designated as Phantom Exchange Camps. During this time period these Phantom Exchange Camps can be used only by river trips with passenger exchanges hiking out of Phantom Ranch or Pipe Creek early the next morning. Layovers (camping more than one night) at any camp in this reach (between RM 77.5 to 89.8) are strictly prohibited.”