Last Updated on 03/31/2024 by Glynn Willard




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We’re in love with the best free dispersed camping spots in Arizona.

In fact, it’s our favorite state to boondock in our RV.

Since its geography is so diverse and it offers multiple climates for all seasons, it can accommodate RVers all year long.

Arizona also offers a vast amount of public lands, both US Forests and BLM land. All of which is easy access to a dispersed camping area.

Most locations are off a dirt road that is passable by most vehicles.

If you haven’t boondocked in Arizona, you owe it to yourself to explore the best dispersed campsites in the Grand Canyon state!
 

 

How Much BLM Land Is In Arizona?

 

 
Arizona maintains 12.1 million acres of BLM land.

That’s a lot of public land for recreation, preservation and grazing.

You’ll find it littered with RV boondocking sites.

It’s your responsibility to leave the land as you found it (or better) and utilize current dispersed camping sites rather than creating new sites.
 

How Much US Forest Land Is In Arizona?

 
There are approximately 11.25 million acres of USFS land in Arizona.

US Forest Service land is similar to BLM land for recreation.

It offers a lot of designated free dispersed camping sites.

And just as you would respect BLM land, please do the same with USFS land.

Boondock only in designated sites or cleared pull-offs on forest service roads.

And of course, leave no trace.

So, just what are the rules for free camping in USFS land:

  • Regardless of whether you’re in an RV or tent, you have to be self-contained and equipped for dry camping.
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  • You need a permit if you’re in a group of over 75 people.
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  • You’re limited to 16 days in one USFS dispersed camping site within a 30-day period.
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  • Maintain 100 feet between your campsite and any water source. This is a universal rule.
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  • Seriously, if you packed it in, pack it out. This applies to any camping or backpacking in the wilderness.
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  • Know and understand the local wildlife. Some can be dangerous.
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  • When in doubt, contact the local forest service office. They can be very resourceful and even point you to some less populated areas.

 

Four-Wheel Drive For US Forest Land?

 
Marble Canyon Dispersed Camping
 
Do you need a four-wheel drive to navigate the road conditions on Arizona US Forest Land?

For the most part, much of the road conditions on public USFS land are accessible by most vehicles.

Most USFS roads are unpaved roads or gravel roads. Of course, that’s part of the fun of dispersed camping.

For the most part, the passable dirt roads are fine in dry conditions. Four-wheel drive is very helpful in the rain.

Just like BLM dirt roads, many USFS roads worsen the further along you go.

We ended up using four-wheel drive a lot since we like to continue off the beaten path.

We’re also thankful for the high clearance on our rig.

The above statements also apply to the dirt roads managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
 

The Best Free Campsites In Arizona

 
We’ve spent more time boondocking in Arizona than any other state.

Arizona is one of the few states that one can comfortably camp in year-round because of the diverse climate.

It also happens to be our favorite state.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite boondocking locations in Arizona for you to enjoy.

Please respect the land and other campers near you.

  • Dispersed Camping On Forest Road 128 Near Flagstaff, AZ

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    Is boondocking dangerous in National Forests? No.

    Safe dispersed camping location outside of Flagstaff, AZ.


     
    This was our favorite boondocking site in Arizona because we found it to be the most beautiful location and had cooler temperatures.

    Like many, we love the look and feel of Sedona, but the clean crisp air of Flagstaff always wins our hearts and is a great place!

    There are several dispersed camping spots along FR 128.

    The road gets mildly rough further back, but there are a few scattered spaces for larger rigs.

    Although, many of the sites off the side roads are better suited for vans and tents.

    The coordinates for FR 128 near Flagstaff, AZ are:

    35°05’52.8″N 111°32’24.5″W

    The main road that FR 128 is off is Lake Mary Rd.

    This great spot is a short drive to the town of Flagstaff and the surrounding areas are gorgeous.

    We did a full review of this site in our article: Dispersed Camping Off FR 128 (Marshall Lake Rd) Near Flagstaff and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    The full review will give you a good idea as to whether this is a good solution for you to free camp near Flagstaff.
     

     

  • Free Dispersed Camping Off Forest Rd 776 AZ, (Cinder Hills OHV)

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    Please note, that this location is temporarily closed due to forest fires, but will likely be open by the time you read this article.

    Honestly, any location around Flagstaff, AZ falls into our “favorites” category.

    We particularly liked this location because of the unique landscape with plenty of space for your next dispersed camping trip.

    Keep in mind, that this is an active OHV area. It can get loud and really busy on the weekends!

    There’s also a lot of dust when the volume of OHV’s is high.

    The coordinates for Cinder Hills OHV are:

    35°19’42.3″N 111°31’26.1″W

    The main road that FR 776 is off of is AZ State Route 89.

    This boondocking site is a short drive to Flagstaff.

    We did a full review of this site in our article: Dispersed Camping Off FR 776 (Cinder Hills OHV), AZ and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    This is also a great dispersed camping location if you want to spend some time exploring Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument.
     

  • Free Boondocking In Marble Canyon, AZ (Soap Creek)

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    This is definitely a picturesque and cool location for free camping in Northern Arizona with spectacular views!

    We stayed here so we could visit Lee’s Ferry and the surrounding area (Lake Powell).

    The coordinates for free dispersed camping in Marble Canyon, AZ are:

    36°45’09.4″N 111°43’03.2″W

    The main road that Soap Creek dispersed camping is off of is AZ 89A.
     

     
    We did a full review of this site in our article: Boondocking In Marble Canyon, AZ (Soap Creek) Off 89A and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    Make sure you also make time to walk the historic Navajo Bridge for some amazing views of the Colorado River.

    This is a great boondocking location to see the local sites around Marble Canyon.
     

  • Free Dispersed Camping At Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, AZ

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    Kofa NWR is in southern Arizona and about an hour north of Yuma. It’s a great alternative to Quartzsite during the winter months.

    It’s also a short drive to Mittry Lake.
     
    Safe boondocking in Kofa, AZ.
     
    The geography and mountain ranges are beautiful and there’s some great hiking. It’s also less congested than Quartzsite.

    The coordinates for free dispersed camping around Kofa are:

    33°15’38.7″N 114°13’56.0″W

    We did a full review of this site in our article: Dispersed Camping At Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, AZ and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    Kofa is special to us because it’s where our wheel fell off the travel trailer.

    The outcome ultimately was good and resulted in new friendships.

    Read all about it in our article: Why Did One Of Our Wheels Fall Off Our Travel Trailer?

    Or you can watch the video:
     

     

  • Free Boondocking, Quartzsite, AZ (Plomosa Rd)

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    Boondocking in Quartzite, AZ.


     
    Quartzsite is by no means our favorite free boondocking location. But it’s really convenient for meet-ups even though it’s one of the most popular places to boondock in AZ.

    We stayed there for an Outdoors RV meet-up, but will not return unless it’s for social reasons.

    The coordinates for free boondocking in southern Arizona in Quartzsite are:

    33°45’52.9″N 114°10’39.8″W

    We did a full review of this site in our article: Free Boondocking, Quartzsite, AZ Off Plomosa Road and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    We’re really glad we met the group of people at the ORV meet-up in Quartzsite.

    It led to some like-minded friends and a really good education about the maintenance of our ORV.

    If you’re on the fence about boondocking at Quartzsite and you’re not a fan of crowds, I’d skip this one.

    But if you like being surrounded by like-minded RVers, go for it!
     

  • Free Boondocking Off W Table Mesa Rd By Phoenix

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    W Table Mesa Rd is a fantastic location if you want to experience Phoenix, but camp for free.

    We stayed here to spend some time in Phoenix and explore the city.

    The coordinates for free boondocking north of Phoenix, AZ off W Table Mesa Rd are:

    33°59’11.5″N 112°10’09.7″W

    We did a full review of this site in our article: Free Boondocking Off W Table Mesa Rd Near Phoenix and covered:
     

    1. Time of year.
    2. Is law enforcement present?
    3. Road conditions.
    4. If it’s big rig friendly.
    5. Cell service and carriers.
    6. Starlink friendly skies?
    7. Crowds
    8. Wildlife & insects.
    9. Closest potable water and dump stations.
    10. Our review of the dispersed camping site.

     
    One word of caution about W Table Mesa Rd. It might just be the rattlesnake capital.

    Keep your eyes on the ground and watch where you step, especially when exiting your RV.

    Check out our video on this site and some of the surrounding cultures:
     

 

Dispersed Camping Locations In Arizona We Scouted

 
We’ve made a habit of scouting alternative boondocking sites, dump stations and potable water sources whenever we stay in a region.

We don’t always take pictures, but in hind site, wish we had for the sake of this article.

Regardless, the list below is full of legitimate free dispersed camping sites suitable for all sized rigs.

  • Forest Service Road 171 west of Flagstaff

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    Boondocking near Flagstaff
     
    There are a lot of sites in the Coconino National Forest near Bellemont.

    It’s a beautiful area with many boondocking sites that are big rig-friendly and some of the best weather conditions in the summer.

    Proceed cautiously if it’s been raining. The muddy roads will require a four-wheel drive.

    This was also a busy location, so have a plan B prepared in case you don’t find a spot.

    Since this location is close to Interstate 40, there’s a strong signal from all carriers. This likely contributes to its popularity.

    The coordinates for FSR 171 near Flagstaff are:

    35°14’53.0″N 111°49’59.4″W
     

  • Forest Service Rd 222B Near Flagstaff

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    If you haven’t noticed yet, we really like Flagstaff!

    And when you really like a location, you scout out lots of boondocking locations for future reference.

    There are a lot of hidden dispersed camping sites all along the service roads in this area, many of which are friendly to big rigs.

    Our T-Mobile phones worked great in the area and our Open Signal App showed a strong presence for all cellular carriers.

    Like many of the locations around Flagstaff, proceed cautiously if it’s been rainy or after a snow melt in the spring.

    Even with four-wheel drive, it will be easy to get stuck in the mud.

    The coordinates for FSR 222B near Flagstaff are:

    35°17’16.3″N 111°46’28.0″W
     

  • BLM Land Off Rt 95 Near Lake Havasu City

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    This is a super popular spot, but the proximity to Lake Havasu is perfect.

    Much of the land along 95 is BLM and you can find ample pull-off spots to boondock along the way to Lake Havasu.

    Our T-Mobile phones worked okay but were spotty at times. Our Open Signal App showed a strong presence for Verizon and spotty for AT&T.

    There are many popular water activities at Lake Havasu, but I think one of the coolest features is the reassembly of the original London Bridge.

    This historical landmark is located on McCulloch Blvd. It’s worth a visit!

    The coordinates for this popular boondocking area near Lake Havasu City are:

    34°26’21.8″N 114°13’31.6″W
     

  • Dispersed Camping Off Redington Rd (FSR 371) Near Tucson, AZ

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    Hiking near Tucson, AZ
     
    We originally stayed at a Boondocker’s Welcome in Tucson as a solution for fresh water and to gain some insight into the town.

    Our draw to Tucson was Saguaro National Park and to explore the town.

    Both were very cool, but we also found some great hikes in the Coronado National Forest. Some of the great trailheads are located along the road with dispersed camping.

    Our T-Mobile phones were great and our Open Signal App showed a strong presence for both Verizon and AT&T.

    The coordinates for free boondocking along Redington Rd near Tucson are:

    32°15’35.8″N 110°39’22.9″W

    Be aware of the elevation change along this road, which can make leveling difficult.

    This is a big rig-friendly location, but much easier in a van, truck camper or high clearance vehicle.
     

  • Free Boondocking Off Pinery Canyon Rd Near Chiricahua National Monument

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    Off the beaten path in Arizona

    Chiricahua National Monument does not disappoint.


     
    We found this location after touring Chiricahua National Monument.

    It’s a great alternative to the Indian Bread Rocks Recreation Area if you don’t need picnic tables or a developed campground.

    These sites are far better than the one we had in Wilcox, AZ. Had we not been moving west in a few days, we would have returned with our RV.

    The road is rough, but there are some big rig-friendly sites.

    That said, this is a great location for vans and truck campers.

    Our T-Mobile phones were useless and our Open Signal App showed no signals from either Verizon or AT&T.

    If you’re looking for true off-grid camping, this is your location.

    The surrounding areas, including the Dos Cabezas Mountains Wilderness are full of natural beauty.

    The coordinates for free boondocking along Pinery Canyon Rd are:

    31°58’10.3″N 109°19’11.4″W

    Proceed cautiously if you have a really big rig.
     

  • Free Dispersed Camping Off Fire Rd 310 (Coconino Rim Road)

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    Free camping and biking near the grand canyon.
     
    We boondocked south of the Grand Canyon but scouted these sites after the fact.

    These are some of the best free camping spots and are as good as it gets, but they’re popular.

    They’re big rig-friendly, but if you have a small rig, you stand a better chance of finding a spot.

    Our T-Mobile phones were useless and our Open Signal App showed no signals from AT&T, but a spotty signal from Verizon.

    But you’re camping near the Grand Canyon, so data doesn’t matter, right?!

    The coordinates for dispersed camping in Grand Canyon National Park are:

    35°57’46.2″N 111°57’55.8″W

    Again, this is a busy location, so have a plan B and C.

    Also, the dump station in the park is really nice with really tasty water!

 

Finding Potable Water And Dump Stations In Arizona

 

 
It seems like every other gas station in Arizona has a dump station. , Okay, perhaps not that many.

But a lot of gas stations offer dump stations. Some are free, some are not.

We try to fill up our fuel tank wherever we dump our tanks as a thank you.

We’ve found the safest source of potable water for our RV by buying directly from campgrounds in AZ.

That’s not the case in many other states, but most of AZ is a desert and water is more scarce.

When you live in your rig and only boondock, the potability of your water is crucial.

When in doubt, a national park usually has free dump station and fresh water.
 

 

Wrapping Up The Best Boondocking In Arizona

 
F250
 
Yes, Arizona is the perfect place for free boondocking! And for good reason.

It’s chocked full of BLM land and National Forests, all with some beautiful dispersed camping where we could always find a great boondocking spot.

You could easily spend a whole year dispersed camping all over Arizona and never get bored of the recreational activities available to you.

Remember to leave no trace, respect the locals and be kind to other RVers.

Unfortunately, many locations near Sedona, AZ such as Schnebly Hill Road have been shut down to dispersed camping because of high volume and abuse.

So again, leave no trace!

We hope you have a great boondocking experience!
 
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