Oak Flat Situated along the Gila-Pinal Scenic Route, Oak Flat campground is located in the rolling hills near Devil’s Canyon. There is an abundance of large oak trees that provide natural shade. The surrounding area is known for its numerous recreation bouldering opportunities. Families and individuals like to come to this site for its natural desert beauty and rock climbing.
While working on the Woodbury Wildland Fire here in Arizona my Ambulance was staged at Oak Flat Campground. It was nothing but desert, a few picnic tables, with some trees with nice shade and two bathrooms. It’s probably the least nicest campground I’ve been to. Luckily we weren’t staying there for the night just parked there during the day. It appeared to be free, it was a decent distance off the main highway. If you’re just looking for a place to stop and rest for the night then it’s not a bad spot but I wouldn’t take my family there for a vacation.
This campground is found between the town's of Superior and Miami, Arizona, so if you are not am experienced camper, you could always drive to town in a pinch if you needed something or forgot something.
Some of the campground is along a wash, with a small pond on the west side. The official campground site is relatively small and has more established sites, but remote camping is found further down the road. Oak Flats Road provides a few miles of rougher trails (some might call them Jeep trails, but someone who knows what they are doing could get through most of it in a car) and would be great for a short overland type camping experience.
There are some great views with just a short hike and can make for a rewarding one day camp, or camp for a couple days.
There are is a bathroom within the small, more established campground, but no other facilities (including trash) so you must pack in and pack out whatever you are going to use.
Just south of highway 60, West of Superior, AZ (about 4 miles). Paved road to the turnoff for the campsite and then dirt but not too rough. My Prius made it just fine. Though there are definitely some roads farther on that are extremely uneven granite dells.
Two pit toilets are the only amenities, but there is plenty of hiking. You can hear road noise from highway 60. There’s a nearby mine and I occasionally heard muffled explosions but I did not feel them. On two of the days I was there I saw or at least heard low flying fighter jets (but within FAA regs) go by and a couple of multi-rotor helicopters. Had the skies not been overcast I’d have seen all of them. They were very loud but it was maybe five minutes total out of my week-long stay.
There’s no WiFi, even if you have a yaggi antenna. There’s enough cell service for text and phone calls (maybe/iffy) on the Verizon network.
We came here for our wedding anniversary in November since it wouldn’t be too cold. We enjoyed the peace and quiet, but not much else to say. The sites were pretty small, but we have a pop up so not bad. It was very busy that weekend. It was only 5 minutes from Superior, which was nice for gas, food, water, etc. There was a few vault toilets throuout the grounds. Each site had a fire ring and tables. It was clean for the most part, but there was some sketchy people there and a couple sites reported theft. There was recently some vandalism as well. It’s only about an hour from Phoenix, but we probably won’t go back
I wish I could call this an "oasis int he desert" but… I can't. Lots of desert plants with some not so friendly critters and very little shade when it comes to the campsites. They are relatively flat but you won't find the ground forgiving at all (so bring something soft to sleep on). There is a dried out creek bed through the grounds but I doubt there is ever water in it. There are a few single stall bathrooms that are in fairly good shape but smell like a skunk may be living in the bottom.The big kicker for me here was the plastic tarp teepees as you come into the campground. It looks like a few people may have set up permanent residence in these and threw a weird vibe into the place.
Oak Flat is a Forest Service campground in the Tonto National Forest and is about 90 minutes from Phoenix. It's a short distance off a windy mountain highway which means it's easy to get to but traffic can be heard from camp. (Luckily it's not a busy interstate and traffic is pretty infrequent at night.) It's not spectacular location but there are decent views of the oak scrub desert surrounding the camp.
There are a handful of campsites with picnic tables and firepits, plus several flat and open areas for RVs or tent cities. Some sites are open and others have a few shady tree for hammocks, slacklines, and more. There is a bathroom which was clean and well-stocked with toilet paper, despite the campground being quite full when I stayed here for a few nights in April. There is no water, however, so be prepared with as much as you'll need. The elevation is just shy of 4,000' which means nights are typically a few degrees cooler than in the Phoenix area.
There are no hiking trails from the campground but there is a network of dirt roads which take you back into the desert scrub oak forest and through hundreds of bouldering problems of all levels. Just a few miles away, however, the Arizona Trail crosses the highway and heads north into the Superstition Wilderness.
This campsite is pretty basic but is a good place to kill some time, especially given that it's free! It's also a great place to set up your base camp if you want to do some bouldering.