Arizona boasts itself as the gateway to the Grand Canyon. And, it’s true: There’s no better place to set off into the red- and orange-painted cliffs, winding canyons, and rippling rivers of this wild and grand desert landscape. But, camping in Arizona doesn’t stop at The Big Ditch. From Flagstaff to Sedona, and beyond, you’ll find some of the best desert camping in the U.S. right in this state.
The Colorado River carved through 277 miles of ancient sandstone and limestone to form the Grand Canyon. Stop along the edges of this natural wonder for some of the most famous and scenic camping in Arizona. Go straight to Grand Canyon Village and camp at the Mather campground on the South Rim to experience the best pit stops and catch jaw-dropping canyon views on the Bright Angel Trail. Or, opt for areas less saturated with people and head to Desert View Campground on the South Rim. Hike to Coconino Overlook to sample views of the massive canyon or put your boots on the Arizona Trail, one of the country’s National Scenic Trails.
For those interested in venturing into other parts of Arizona, head to Sedona for more red rock desert camping. There’s a variety of things to do in Sedona, and camping, of course, is one of the best. From red rock canyons to rock formations fabled as energy vortexes, you’ll find views and adventures in Sedona unlike any other. Camp at Pine Flat Campground, where tall ponderosas brush up against red rock walls. Get up to hike for sunrise or start out at sunset to see the best colors amidst the desert. Or, bring your bike along for the ride to experience world-class mountain biking trails right in Sedona.
Whether it’s hiking, biking, or just sleeping beneath the desert sky when camping in Arizona, the state is truly an outdoor-lover’s desert mecca. So grab your tent and head to the edges of the Grand Canyon or into the quiet nooks of Sedona and discover a land of red-rock beauty.
Give yourself time to explore and enjoy the surroundings.
To get to the campground you must first go through the Saguaro National Park and the drive is just as fun as it is beautiful.
I suggest viewing the aerial map of campsites before hand. I had selected about 9 different sites before arriving and that was good because I ended up at my #6 choice. Which was still a great site.
Very quite and peaceful. However, it's the desert so you should bring an air mattress or cot. Most sites have tables and are close to water and restrooms. The restrooms were very clean and upkeep. Heads up there are no showers at this campground.
I felt very safe there and actually left my campsite unattended for about 10-12 hours and not a thing was out of place.
Tents are $10 a night and RVs are $20. Tents can camp in any RV space but you can't the use power at the campsites (30 amp). You can charge small devices using the power outlets in the restrooms. Also Verizon cell/data service was great out here.
I can't wait to go back next year.
Secluded and very private. Large enough for your every need. Two nearest towns are 15-20 miles away. Sierra Vista has anything anyone would want and Tombstone is a tourist haven. Recommend this site to anyone that wishes to avoid large crowds and loves open skies and spaces.
Checked in to this quiet well kept KOA for very reasonable price with barely anyone in the park for one overnighter. There was a game room, store and DVD rental library. Very surprised to see pool/jacuzzi were clean & warm for nice soak (nice after a long haul in November) Talked to quite a few Alaskans that were passing through morning after at the clubhouse coffee social which was very pleasant while waiting for laundry! Daughter said shower was nice and hot. Not much more you could ask for.
Turn off Hwy 74 between Apache Junction and Florence, Turn East on Cottonwood Canyon Rd. and there is dispersed camping with ZERO amenities starting in about 2 thru 5 miles on both sides of the road.
This is a very popular off road spot for Motocross motorcycles, Jeeps, ATV's, and Side by Sides so be prepared for some dust and some noise from vehicles. There are lots of trails to ride.
This is Arizona State Trust Land so a permit is required but can be purchased and downloaded from their website at a cost of $21.00 and it is valid for 1 year for the family pass.
The location was clean and well cared for buy the people that camp there, and there are rock rings for fires but you will need to bring your own wood to burn as there is little in the desert and nowhere close to purchase any.
We stayed with a group in November and the weather and the sunrise and the sunsets were absolutely amazing to behold. We will definitely be back both for the wide open spaces and the great places to ride.
Campgrounds have clean bathrooms with showers. Most spaces are not too close to your neighbors. If you reserve early enough (up to 6 months in advance) you can get some very premium sites. I recommend the “Ruddy Duck” or “Red Head” loop sites. Kayaks are also available for rent. Most sites are full hookups
At Rose Canyon Lake. Lots of spots. Though the campground was very nearly full, it was quiet. Has several loops separated by shallow ravines. Pit toilets. Very clean and well-cared-for. Friendly, helpful camp hosts.
It was almost deserted when we camped there in October but in the winter months you really need a reservation.
As a KOA this one is at the bottom of my list. I don’t mind the trains, kind of nice to see them. I do however mind that they don’t offer a cable hookup of any kind. Especially in a location that has zero channels to pick up using my antenna. It’s 2018, how hard is it install a satellite and offer the campers something to hook up to.
This place has great reviews and sounds wonderful, but in person it was not what we expected. The roads on the property are full of potholes. There are overhanging branches in most spots that can damage your awning. The layout is disorganized and you may or may not get a nice spot. The bathrooms are very smelly, they smell like vault toilets even though they flush. The grounds are not maintained well. This place must have been gorgeous at one time but it needs a good clean up. This might be a good place if you are a) in a tent or pop up b) right on the creek c) have very young kids who would enjoy the creek. For older kids and adults who want a pleasant experience in nature, this is not the place. It's also a long drive from Sedona and not much to offer in the nearby town.
Great campground with the Homestead trail running through it. You can hike or bike all day or kayak on Lynx Lake. The sites are varying sizes so read the description and look on the map if you're bringing an RV. Bring your own shade as many spots get full fun. This campground is close to town and a great spot for families.
This is a very pretty campground with easy access to the town of Prescott. Hiking and biking trails run right through the campground. Many sites have big boulders that kids love to play on. There is some road noise but this is one of our favorite campgrounds. I've camped there in spring, summer and fall.
This is a dispersed camping are so no facilities. It's pretty rock so 4x4 is highly encouraged. It's really quiet except the occasional hunting activity. You can find plenty of spots right off the road or walk in a little farther. You'll be able to pull your truck in no problem and some spaces are large and flat enough for RVs and campers. Sedona should be on your list of must-sees if you're a visitor to Arizona. Take a jeep or helicopter tour! Visit Slide Rock when it's warm enough out to swim. Airport lookout and the vortex offer great photo ops at sunset.
Lake Havasu is party city as far as lakes are concerned. Plenty of drinking and skin showing. It is large, however, so you can get away from it a little if you find a quiet cove. I've never seen this lake quiet but it's still an escape from the heat and also a good place for water activities as a group and not to mention, it's beautiful. Or, if you're social, boat up to a sandbar. The water always seems to be warm. You can camp right on the shoreline. Part of our group was on the shoreline by the little lighthouse while we stayed in the trailers.
This camping area is on Saguaro Lake and only offers boat-in camping. You'll need a Tonto National forest permit with watercraft sticker. It's beautiful here. The lake itself can be crowded but I think it's worth a chance, especially considering most are coming for day use. Nearby you can do Salt Water River Tubing or visit the (now second) tallest fountain in the world at Fountain Hills. Once you get off the highway, the drive down is beautiful. The water always looks so blue and seeing wild horses is almost a guarantee!
Bugs, bees and trash seem to be more prevalent than normal but you can find easy access to the shoreline for fishing or camping. You need a permit to visit which can be purchased at the Marina. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend the flats or the yellow cliffs (you’ll see the signs). Great fishing lake! The drive is beautiful and towns of Carefree and Cave Creek are pleasant and unique. If you go in monsoon season, you’re sure to see some amazing skies! Cell service is intermittent.
Sometimes getting a permit into the Grand Canyon is impossible. I have applied and been turned down. But don't be discouraged. There are some awesome trails and campsites in the Kaibab National Forest. Crazy Jug is probably the most famous but if you have all wheel drive or an off road Bike, you can get almost any where in the forest for a great adventure.
make sure you have a road map. There are hundreds of back roads that act as a maze so don't get lost :)
A stay here is like a stay right in the mountains where you can see everything around you and truly appreciate the atmosphere. Up at this camp anyone can come and enjoy stretching out and enjoying a day or weekend away at a reasonable rate with good company all around you. There wasn't a single camper that I met here that wasn't pleasant, maybe it is that mountain air.
When I visited there were not any events going on here so it was a typical day in the middle of the week, there were still plenty of other campers here but it did not feel overwhelmingly full by any means. I opted for a site without water because there were plenty of spigots around so I didn't figure it was a must have at that moment. My site was pretty basic with a picnic table out of stone and a grill but it was nestled in the mountains and seemed like my own little piece of happiness. Only $17 for my site seemed more than reasonable and I felt like I had plenty of room to really spread out.
This campground has a little piece of history being a part of the jobs created during the Great Depression. At that time they put people to work etching out paths through the mountains, some of those are still in use today and as you hike along the many trails here you are hiking along the path with such an appreciation for the beauty that you tend to forget that this once was a place which reminded people of hope in the midst of tragedy through minimal wages.
While there I checked out the Aspen Peak trail which was awesome and I recommend it as a must see!!
Sites are first come first serve so get there early on busy weekends.
Check their site for special events, they often host off road events here because of the terrain in which case sites fill quickly.
I had been staying in this area for a while searching for various campsites and had been to the Arizona Hot Springs a couple times, continually seeing people pulling in via boat and never knew where they were launching from, until I found this place. it seems like this place is where it all begins for those adventures.
With much of the area being desolate looking around, this was like an oasis just waiting to be discovered. It isn't that there is some magic lawn that spawns up out of the desert sands and makes it look like something it isn't, though there is grass that isn't what I am speaking on. Instead it is that this place is very commercial in comparison to almost every other campground in this area, much of which are barebones and basic. This site however has nice showers and bathrooms, a restaurant, gift shop, a marina, fishing dock, boat rentals and a laundry. Unlike so many campgrounds the sites here are also WIFI ready.
The tent site I checked out was $30 but included access to the ramp which is why a lot of people choose this site for their adventures. This is one of the best launch areas in way of well maintained sites you will find on this side of the Lake Mead Recreational Area.
I enjoyed a great shower here with amazing pressure, had awesome night sky views down by the water and finally was able to figure out just where all these people were getting their water fix. Not to mention there was some great access to rock scrambling along the shore line for some amazing peaceful places to relax and take in the clearness of the water.
Come early or call in advance, there are only 6 tent sites. Everything else is set up for an RV.
Check out their discounts available for veterans which is a great deal.
I wanted to find a site as close to Oatman as I could. It took me three trips that way to find this campground and finally I was happy I did. Located only about 8 miles away from Oatman, it allowed me to have a full day to explore Oatman and surrounding areas including the many mines which are closed but "open" to the person wanting to really explore.
This place is a smaller park and though mostly they do have RV campers they do accept tent campers. The owners are very friendly and you meet them when you check in, this is not a chain so they take pride in what they give in way of service to those passing through.
My space was clean and level for camping in a tent. I only paid $15 which was very reasonable and like I said location was key!! My site had a picnic table and was pretty basic but it was peaceful and I had a great night there as a result.
They do offer long term RV camping at a very reasonable rate, however when I was there it didn't look like they had a ton of that traffic at the time. I will say that unlike a lot of long term lots which appear to be a bit trashy this one was maintained.
Use this as a basecamp for going to Oatman where there are a lot of stores, a great cafe, mines to explore and of course pictures to take.
Bring what you need with you. The closest full grocer is in Kingman which is about 25 minutes away so if you don't want to have to drive into town then just pack it in your car.
If you are looking for a good camping spot this is a spot with very limited amenities. Dry camping to say the least. I would regard this more for the events they host here which include impromptu concerts, biker events and gatherings.
I liked the location because it is the closest thing I could find at the time to Oatman, I have since found another site which is ok as well.
Port-a-potty is about as close as you will get to amenities although they do have vendors at the events. Some tables are around camp but mostly what you bring is what you get.
This is a place you go to be social. It’s only about 15 minutes from Kingman and 20 from Oatman (all the winding roads).
- Come with everything and be prepared to socially share.
- Bikers, RVs and Tents all welcome
If you like rock scrambling there is plenty of that at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Staying here you will find that hiking is your major focus as typical desert style camping is made special by the excitement of the trails around you.
The family campground is not one of the largest campgrounds you will find in this region but it fair sized. Spaces are large and spread out making it a great fit for tent campers or RV campers.
When I visited I stayed in campsite 29, on the top of the far side of the loop on the one way drive in. I was a few hundred yards from the restroom facility on a back in space which outlooked toward the desert entirely. The outer ring of the loop, you can literally hike right out of your campsite and be in the middle of everything. I will say however that had I have known a bit more about the area before visiting I probably would have selected sites 19 or 20 which are literally on the hiking loop for Ironwood.
My campsite was pretty typical with a rocky flat area to set up my tent, a grill and picnic table. My site had no shade which was ok when I visited in early spring but would have been way to hot to have stayed here during late spring or summer. This was considered to be a developed site which was $32 a night but I managed to somehow get it for a semi-developed price of $22, still not sure how that happened. LUCKY ME!!
While out here it was truly all about the hiking!! There were over 10 trails which circled and wound around ranging in intensity and distance for any skill level. I tackled the moderate ironwood trail which runs into the Ford Trail, one of the longest trails at the park. I didn't do the entire Ford Trail and instead cut over to another trail at an intersection which looped back into camp. From there I ended up driving to another trailhead, Mule Deer, and moving on from there because it hiked by the nature center.
The nature center here was very cool and I always recommend stopping in if there is one available, if nothing else to get a better idea of what kind of wildlife to watch out for in the area you are visiting.
Bring lots of water. Though there are fresh water stations around, the water seemed to have an odd taste to me, I would recommend bringing water especially if you are sensitive to tastes.
Check out the Ford Canyon or Goat Camp trails if you are really into a challenge. These have a lot of rock scrambling and some of the highest heights in the park. If you want an easy hike with a great view check out the Waterfall Canyon Trail.
"Rim refers to the Mogollon Rim that extends nearly 200 miles from just southwest of Flagstaff to the White Mountains of eastern Arizona." https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/southwestern/RimLakes/index.shtml
The recreation area encompasses the following lakes: Bear Canyon, Black Canyon, Woods Canyon, Chevelon Canyon, Knoll, and Willow Springs. You'll find a wealth of established campgrounds with facilities and even more opportunities for dispersed camping. Most of your destinations in this area do not require 4x4 but it'd be very wise. It will take a lot longer to get to where ever you're going and you won't be able to explore quite as much. In rain or snow, it's likely you'll get stuck. So, if it's an option, take the 4x4. Hiking and photo opportunities abound! You may be the only one around so be prepared.
The lake is beautiful as all the Rim Lakes are. The terrain for the sites is very rugged. The lake requires a downhill hike of less than a mile but the way back up is strenuous for most, especially if you are carrying a boat. If you have an ATV, I highly recommend bringing it. There are 6-8 campsites above the lake but if you boat to the other end of the lake you can also pitch a tent there (which I have yet to do). Because the lake isn't easily accessible, it's usually pretty quiet here and you'll only see some ATVers or fishermen and women. If you want to make use of the lake by meeting the challenge of getting watercraft down and back up, then camp at this spot. Otherwise, it's a long way out just to camp 3/4 a mile away from a lake.
This area is best for its hiking and photo ops, in my humble opinion. As with most desert campgrounds in Arizona, there is not much privacy between the sites but take advantage of the beauty. The waterfall trail is an easy hike and very doable with kids. You can only bring a stroller so far unless it's an off-roading stroller but the hike is worth it (especially if there's water flowing). There's a playground across from the trailhead in case all else fails and someone stays behind with he little ones. Restrooms are thoughtfully placed here. DO watch for rattle snakes on this trail and all for that matter. Also, bring a lot of water and then some. Stop at the Visitor Center and library on your way in. You're not far removed from civilization so anything you need is just a brief drive away.
Unlike some of the more popular lakes in the area, Black Canyon Lake offers more serenity. Don't expect a great fishing experience, however, as the lake is rarely stocked any more. Nonetheless, even with its low levels, it's a beautiful sight. Take a walk around the lake until you reach the dam. Walk back to your dispersed site, lay in the hammock or sit around the campfire and wait for the wild horses to stop by. Great place for seclusion except for the occasional firearm echos and the one time there was an exceptionally rowdy bunch. There are restrooms by the lake but that could be quite a distance for a potty break depending on where you set up camp so bring a shovel in case. Please be prepared to CARRY OUT your trash. Do not leave it. Do not burn it. Thank you! Enjoy!
If you camp for the pure love of nature, this place is for you. The drive alone is inspiring! There is a fee for camping which you should plan to leave in the box (yes, they do come around to check eventually). This campground fee is in addition to the fee you pay on the way up so carry cash. With so many views, trails, and photo ops, you couldn't ask for more. But if you do anyway, be sure to travel to the top of the mountain for some fudge in the gift shop and DO NOT miss the view of the creek. You may have to find a spot to park and walk about a half mile but it's just beautiful and it'd be sad for you to miss it since you're already up there. There is a lake within driving distance; you'll pass it on the way up. DO NOT feed the bears, please; for their safety (Seriously; they'll get euthanized).
Okay, so the sites aren't primitive but they're big enough, beautiful, and usually right on the creek. Cabins are also an option. This is a privately owned campground. They have plenty of activities for the kids as if being right on Oak Creek isn't enough and are very accommodating. Ask to use one of the wheelbarrows to bring down your firewood. Restrooms and showers are available but if you're hoping for a shower, just know the early bird gets the worm!
If the sites had a little more privacy, I'd give five stars. Whenever I take my family, I remind myself I'm not there for the actual tent camping, I'm there for everything else the state park offers. There are about eight small cabins as well. This park offers a much needed break from the Arizona heat in the spring and summer months. The "lakes" are really more like ponds but plenty large enough to fish in as is the Verde River, running through the park. Make sure to go down and take a dip during the warm seasons. They've recently improved the playground for young ones and offer horseback riding as well. Facilities are always clean. If you're tired of camping food, drive down the road to Cottonwood and be sure to visit Larry's Antiques (if you're into that of course).