Are you planning a trip to the Grand Canyon State? Excited about all the boondocking possibilities? We don’t blame you!
Arizona is a fantastic state to explore in an RV — as long as you know where to camp. To make your trip a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of five campsites to avoid in Arizona, as well as the places to go instead. You’ll thank us later.
What Makes a Boondocking Spot Bad?
Camping off-grid gets glamorized, but anyone who’s gone boondocking for an extended period knows that it’s not all sunshine and roses. If you’ve been on the road for a while, chances are you’ve set up camp at a spot that you ultimately regretted.
So what makes these boondocking spots so bad? The main reason could be that they’re becoming overcrowded. With the rise in popularity of RVing, more people flock to these beautiful, secluded (well, once-secluded) spots. And if some of those people outstay the 14-day rule, it can become unpleasant real quick.
Another reason could be the treacherous roads leading to the sites. After all, many of the roads leading to some of these off-grid spots aren’t maintained. They may become washed out, blocked by fallen trees, or completely impassable for one reason or another.
A third reason could be that they don’t accommodate larger vehicles. Have you ever traveled to a potential campsite only to find that your rig doesn’t fit? Yeah, us too. Let’s take a look at the boondocking spots you should avoid and the ones to try out instead.
Don’t Camp at These Free Locations in Arizona
When you’re planning your trip, it’s just as important to know where not to stay. To make your life a little easier, we’ve made a list of the campsites you should avoid in Arizona. Let’s dig in.
#1 Snyder Hill
One look at the reviews on Campendium, and you’ll see why we don’t recommend this site. It’s a heavily trafficked area outside of Tucson, which means that the accessibility is extremely limited.
With so many rigs going in and out, the dirt road driving in has become rutted with large dips, making it a no-go for class As. Reviewers also complain about the road noise and trash in this area, making it a last resort at best.
Quartzsite, Ariz., is essentially a town built for travelers. With “The Big Tent,” Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, and ample amounts of public land to camp on, you would think it would be an RVer’s dream. Truthfully, it’s a fun place to visit and meet up with like-minded people, but if you’re looking for a scenic and peaceful place to stay, you probably want to avoid Quartzsite.
Even with all the boondocking opportunities throughout the town, you’ll still find yourself in a sea of RVs (especially in the winter). Yes, Quartzsite is fun, but it’s definitely getting overcrowded.
#3 Freidlein Prairie Dispersed Camping
If you’re not in a tent (or a very minimal setup), beware. Freidlein Prairie Dispersed looks like a gorgeously wooded place to stay in Flagstaff, but many RVers have regretted venturing there. For one, this spot is popular — and there are only 14 sites. And if other people have claimed every spot (which they probably will), you might have a hard time finding a way to turn around.
While beautiful, this boondocking spot really only accommodates tents and small vehicles. Thus, if you’re in a larger rig and want a guaranteed place to stay, look elsewhere.
#4 Larson Ridge Camping Area
If you’re looking for a secluded, dispersed camping spot near Forest Lakes, you might want to look for other options. Larson Ridge Camping Area is close to a heavily trafficked dirt road, making it a rather noisy spot.
You’ll also need to camp in the labeled campsites, which offer very little privacy since most of the campsites are closed. Not only that, but this area tends to fill up fast, making it a bit of a gamble.
#5 Eads Wash
Eads Wash is a beautiful camping area located in Roosevelt, Ariz. Nevertheless, staying there can be dangerous. The weather is quite tumultuous in this area, causing huge temperature swings and the risk of flash flooding.
It can be tempting to stay there, as you’ll have a gorgeous view of the Salt River. Just pay attention to the weather forecast and avoid this area if there’s any chance of rain.
Try These Sites Instead
What kind of article would this be if we didn’t tell you about the amazing places to camp instead? Now that we’ve told you all the spots to avoid, here are some must-see campsites in Arizona.
Mittry Lake Dispersed
Are you looking for an oasis in the middle of the desert? Maybe you want access to a city as well. If so, Mittry Lake is a great spot to set up camp. Located just outside of Yuma, Ariz., you’ll be able to grocery shop, go out to eat, and run any errands you need to.
Then, once you finish, you can drive back to your secluded campsite on the lake. In addition to lakeside camping, there’s plenty of sites around a canal, as well.
Piney Canyon Road Dispersed Camping
If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Chiricahua National Monument, look no further. Pinery Canyon Road Dispersed is a beautiful, wooded, free place to set up camp. It features multiple shaded sites, fire rings, and even a nice hike that runs along a stream.
Clark Peak Corrals
Do you want to venture into the mountains of Arizona? Maybe camp in a place with amazing views?
If this sounds amazing to you, Clark Peak Corrals is a must-see spot that won’t disappoint. This site only has two campsites; nevertheless, it has restrooms, picnic tables, and trash cans — all completely free.
Should You Boondock in Arizona?
The short answer to this question is yes, you absolutely should. Arizona is one of the best states to boondock in because of its vast availability of public lands.
And if you’ve ever traveled around this state, you’ve enjoyed the ever-changing scenery, as well. From the lush greenery up north to the dry, rocky landscapes in the south (not to mention the Saguaros), you’ll never tire of exploring the Grand Canyon State.
What are some of your favorite places to boondock in Arizona?
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