Have Fun Camping In Arizona
Arizona is a wonderful place to explore with countless free camping opportunities.
Although most states in the American West have an abundance of dispersed camping options, Arizona just might have the most and, also, the best.
If youre looking for free camping in nearby states, our guide to finding free campsites will help you find the best free camping near you anywhere in the United States.
Fdr 80/sundance Road Dispersed
Number of sites: 6 sitesWater: NoMap
Further south along the Senator Highway youll reach the junction with FDR 80/Sundance Road, which has six designated dispersed campsites. Only two of these are listed as suitable for RVs, but we generally think they are all best for tent campers or maybe a van. Sorry RVers!
Although harder to get to, youll be rewarded for camping here by being able to enjoy much less through traffic compared to what youll experience when dispersed camping on the Senator Highway.
The sites are also well spaced, so youll have plenty of privacy from your neighbors along Sundance Road.
Ten Primitive Campgrounds In Tonto National Forest
While composed of more acreage than Prescott, and certainly not lacking in campgrounds, Tonto National Forest begs us to look at its many offerings , from national forest to nearby BLM and state parks. Though lets keep it budget friendly and work our way through the free or cheap places to camp.
What experience are you looking for exactly? A soft breeze through the mesquites as they dance their leafy fingered shadows at your feet just steps from a lake? Give Lower Burnt Coral a shot.
Looking for rolling desert hills and sunset mountain vistas? Take a Sunday drive down Arnett Road.
How about wide open expanses while camping around a fire? Get yourself lost in the Bermuda Flat.
Or maybe youre getting tired of all of this endless free and cheap camping beauty. If youve got a hankering to toss a few dimes away, theres also casino camping in the area.
Finally, note that many of the campgrounds listed here and public lands in Tonto National Forest in general require a Tonto pass. Unlike Prescott National Forest, your National Parks Pass wont help you in campgrounds . An annual pass for Tonto is $80 , or you can buy a day pass for $8. Not every public campground in the national forest requires the pass, ask a ranger what he thinks about your plans.
About the Author: An endless fan of Arizona and national forest camping, Nathan dreams of places like the big national forests in Central AZ.
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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite
Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.
Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.
This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
Apache Creek Trail #9905
Why You Should Camp Here: For the full experience of frugal, primitive camping next to calm, running water in the Apache Creek Wilderness Area.
- Reservations Accepted: First come, first serve
- Best Season: Spring
- Campsite Type: Tents
- RV Hookups: No
All along the Apache Creek Trail are a series of primitive camping sites. These sites are for the folks that like packing their supplies on their backs and setting up camp deep in the forest. This area does not come with the bells and whistles like picnic tables and grills, but rather rugged terrain, alligator junipers, and gray foxes.
This 5,000-acre wilderness area keeps riparian areas, an abundant amount of wildlife, and an array of desert plants and trees undisturbed from commercial development. The area and this trail are accessible and easy, but know that when you enter this zone, no one is going to pick up after you or provide luxuries.
Keep no trace policies at the forefront of your mind, as well your eyes wide open for any sort of wildlife encounter. It wouldnt be a surprise if a bobcat, mountain lion, or black bear made an appearance.
There are a series of trails in this wilderness area, including a loop trail. You can design your trip as you see fit, and hopefully, find peace in the fact that you may not be sharing the trail or your campsite with anyone. This area doesnt get much foot traffic, and for some, thats music to their ears.
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Bureau Of Land Management & United States Forest Service
- BLM who also operates the LVTA including Quartzsite.
- LVTA offer RVs extended stays for up to 7 months with the purchase of a permit. .
- USFS allows dispersed camping in all six of its Arizona national forests. The six forest districts include Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott, and Tonto National Forest. Perform an online search using the name of the national forest combined with dispersed camping to learn more. You can also easily find USFS campgrounds by using the search filters when planning your route on RV Trip Wizard.
Best Time Of Year To Go Boondocking In Arizona
Overall, the best time of year to go boondocking in Arizona is during the winter months. January through April are some of the best times to pay a visit here. And while November and December are warmer here than many places in the U.S., it can still be a bit chilly, especially in northern Arizona within the higher altitudes.
Another thing to consider when boondocking in Arizona is the varying terrain and climates. For example, southern Arizona is generally warmer than northern Arizona. Yuma and Tucson can be pretty comfy at around 70 degree days in February. Sedona, a popular snowbird destination, will be cooler at approximately 50 to 60 degree days.
Most of the desert gets chilly in the evenings, but still not as cold as Michigan in January. Then theres Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon area, where you are higher in elevation, and it snows.
If you are prepared for any weather type when visiting Arizona, boondocking here is easy and offers many places to explore and things to do. The consistency of sunny, blue sky days makes Arizona an RVers dream winter destination.
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Our Experience Camping Near Cherry
After spending an awesome two weeks boondocking near Mayer, the weather still hadnt warmed up enough to head up closer to Flagstaff. So we looked for camping in the Prescott National Forest and found some dispersed camping near Cherry. We turned onto the road leading up to Powell Springs Campground and checked out the first few dirt roads. There were several accessible dispersed pull outs and unfortunately some trash and couches dumped. We found a nice private turn out with a vast view, good solar and cell service so we could get some work done.
We explored further down our road and found that there were only three spots that were suitable for dispersed camping. There are more dirt roads in the area though where dispersed camping is allowed. The road across the paved road from us had a couple spots as well.
As far as traffic while camping near Cherry, we did notice that several of the spots across the road from us did get frequented regularly. But the majority of the through traffic was on the paved road that led to Cherry and Powell Springs Campground. We also noticed that there was more traffic on weekends as well as more OHVs and gunshots in the distance.
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Prescott National Forest Camping Rules
775 views1March 31, 2021
The Prescott National Forest camping rules published below were gathered from Orders issued by the Supervisor of Prescott National Forest, along with information published U.S. Forest Service website, and from the Code of Federal Regulations
Mingus Mountains, Prescott National Forest. Photo by mistoutlive, FreeRoam
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How To Find Dispersed Camping In Arizona
In general, with a little knowledge of where to look, experience navigating forest service roads, reading USFS maps, and camping in remote locations, it should be relatively straightforward to find dispersed camping in Arizona. We like to use a combination of online apps/websites and USFS/BLM maps to find dispersed campsites. Our favorite resources for Arizona dispersed camping are below:
We often have a motor vehicle use map open in one tab and Google Maps satellite view in the other to help find dispersed campsites. You can cross reference the two and often see areas that have established campsites in Google Maps.
Point Of Rocks Rv Campground Az
Almost two hours drive from Sedona, Point of Rocks Campground is the perfect base camp for exploring the states central region. While Arizona conjures up images of blazing temperatures and big Saguaro cactuses, Point of Rocks Campgrounds location in the Bradshaw Mountains, at an elevation above 5,000 feet, makes for a temperate climate and beautiful alpine scenery.
Sites at the Point of Rocks RV Campground have full hookups with 30 or 50-amp electrical capacity along with picnic tables and Wi-Fi throughout the park. There are also laundry facilities, showers, and a small convenience store that stocks the essentials needed for motorhome camping.
The park is just a ten-minute walk from Watson
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Snyder Hill In Tucson Arizona
GPS: 32.1567, -111.1157
Snyder Hill is quite convenient if you plan on visiting anything in nearby Tucson. Close to I-10 and the quaint downtown Congress area, this free campsite with decent cell service works great for the ease of visiting the many places in Tucson and the surrounding area.
However, this isnt the most scenic option on the list. While there are Snyder Hill and the desert fauna to give you a bit of nature, youll also have the nearby traffic, houses, and a stoplight or two to keep you company.
The roads into Snyder Hill can have ruts depending on where you enter. However, if you take the time to seek a proper entrance, which there are many of them, almost any rig can fit in here. You also find a lot of spaces ideal for a large group gathering for any size camper.
If you seek a place to stay that offers a hint of the stark beauty of the Tucson desert, convenience to a metropolitan area, and a hint of blissful camping, this is the place for you. It all depends on your style of camping.
Why Youll Love Pine Lawn Ranch Mh & Rv Park
Why Youll Love Pine Lawn Ranch MH & RV Park When camping at this park, RVers can feel like they are in the country while having the conveniences of town within walking distance. Beautiful boulder formations are between the park and the city. Historic buildings and lovely landscaping welcome residents and visitors alike. At this park, you can enjoy some of the best RV camping in Prescott, Arizona.
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Fdr 373/thumb Butte Loop Dispersed
Number of sites:22 sitesWater:NoMap
The Thumb Butte Loop dispersed camping area is located on a long forest service road that connects Thumb Butte Road and Copper Basin Road in Prescott National Forest. There are 22 campsites scattered along the length of the road, most of which are simple pull outs off the dirt road.
The majority of the campsites here can accommodate larger setups such as trailers and RVs, with 17 sites listed as being able to. However, many campers report that the road to get here is quite rough so youll want to take it slow and steady regardless of your camping setup.
As with all sites in the Prescott Basin there is no water, trash service, or restroom facilities along the Thumb Butte Loop.
Best Spots For Awesome Boondocking In Arizona
With thousands of acres of free camping in Arizona all over the state, youll find a place that matches your camping needs. Novice or expert boondocker, desert or mountain lover, quiet or full of people Its all here. All you have to do is be willing to wander off the beaten path. And here, thats one of the easiest things to do.
Boondocking in Arizona is equivalent to getting lost on purpose.
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Campground At A Glance
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Why Youll Love Point Of Rocks Rv Campground
Point of Rocks is near many local sights and beautiful scenery. Take a 10-minute walk from the campsite to Watson Lake Park or a 10-minute drive to explore historic downtown Prescott. If you want to stay in the park, you can hike on beautiful trails and enjoy the local lakes. Kayaking, fishing, and frisbee golf are all nearby.
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Best Places For Free Dispersed Camping In Arizona
Today, Im going to share my favorite free campsites in Arizona.
Around 42% of Arizona is made up of public lands like national forests and BLM land, so its not surprising there are literally hundreds of dispersed camping and boondocking opportunities throughout the state.
Rather than list them all, Ive narrowed down the options to just 11 of the very best.
What People Are Saying About Pine Lawn Ranch Mh & Rv Park
This is a little different but very nice. There are mobile homes full time and permanent and scattered around them RV sites. Full hook ups minus cable. You can pay daily, monthly etc Everyone here is very nice and friendly. Norma, Google Review
Learn more on the locationswebsite!
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly Rates: Call for rates Full Hookups: Yes 30/50 Amp: Yes Back-in/Pull-through Sites: Call for info Pool/Hot tub: No Showers: Call for info Pets Allowed: Limited Cell Reception: Yes
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Prescott Basin Dispersed Camping
Dispersed Camping is camping outside of developed campgrounds. In contrast to camping in developed campsites, dispersed camping is more primitive, and no facilities such as trash collection, water and toilets are available.
The Prescott Basin area is immediately south and west of Prescott, Arizona. The area is approximately 59,000 acres .
Dispersed camping has increased throughout the Prescott wildland-urban interface area in the past several years. In many areas, this has caused resource impacts such as accelerated soil erosion, damage or loss of vegetation, displaced wildlife, increased fire risk, and accumulation of trash and human waste.
To help prevent unacceptable resource damage from dispersed camping, Forest Service resource managers have designated the sites shown on the map for dispersed camping. Camping and campfires are allowed only at these sites, and in developed campgrounds, within the Prescott Basin. However, campfires are not allowed in these designated dispersed camp sites when fire restrictions are in effect.
The Prescott Basin is often referred to as a wildland-urban interface area because the forested public lands are adjacent to the urbanized area of the greater Prescott community.
Wildland-urban interface areas typically experience greater visitor use, human impact, and demand for recreational opportunities than other National Forest System Lands.
Copper Basin Road Dispersed
Number of sites: 7 sitesWater: NoMap
Heading south along the Thumb Butte Loop youll reach Copper Basin Road which features seven dispersed campsites. The majority of these, 6 in total, can accommodate RVs and trailers, and the road is much easier to navigate here making this a good option for larger rigs.
These sites are best accessed by taking Copper Basin Road directly here, which is very simple as the road runs all the way into central Prescott.
Most of the campsites are huddled together on short offshoots from the main road, near the intersection with the Thumb Butte Loop.
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How To Find Even More Free Camping In Arizona
Not satisfied with the free campsites on my list?
Luckily, the state has literally hundreds of others, most located on public lands. Heres how to find other dispersed campsites in Arizona:
- Apps I regularly use FreeCampsites.net and iOverlander to find free campsites with user-submitted photos and reviews. Other options include apps from Campendium and The Dyrt. My list of the best camping apps has even more recommendations.
- Online Maps Satellite view on Google Maps is a great way to find potential dispersed camping spots. Use Gaia GPS or FreeRoam.app to turn on boundary lines for public land like BLM land and national forests.
- MVUM Maps Pick up paper USFS and BLM motor vehicle use maps in ranger stations to identify roads with potential dispersed camping opportunities.
Another option for free camping in Arizona is blacktop boondocking in a store parking lot such as Walmart or Cracker Barrel.
Yet another option one that I personally only use in a pinch is stealth camping. I only stealth camp when I cant find anywhere else to stay, although many other campers use this method on a regular or even nightly basis.