FREE permit required from the Mesa Ranger District office at 5140 E. Ingram St, Mesa, AZ 85205; 480-610-3300. Permits can be requested online or by email. The permit will be emailed to you within 48 hours (except weekends and holidays).
This space is very large so it may be best to divide it by the access points. The point I'll be using is Access #3- Forest Road (FR) 10, south entrance: This access point is reached from Apache Junction. From Mesa: Travel 15 miles east on the Superstition Freeway (US 60) to the Idaho Street exit. Follow Idaho Street north 4½ miles to McKellips. Turn right on McKellips and travel ½ mile to the Wolverine Pass Road and turn left. Follow it for 7/8 mile and turn right on Tonto Road. Travel north on Tonto Road for ¼ mile to Cactus and turn left. Follow Cactus to McDowell Road and follow it to FR 10 gate.
Easy to get a permit from the ranger station. Just email your name, address, phone number and driver's license number to email@example.com and you'll get your permit within 2 days for free. I love that it's not far out of town but an easy place to forget you live in town. I've seen all types of vehicles out there. Better to have a 4 wheel drive with decent clearance for some of the trails. Most camp spots aren't too deep in so it's easiest to access.
FYI the entrance that this references is actually further west than shown on the map. Less than a mile west of the bridge over Salt River at Pebble Beach.
I love Bulldog Canyon but some spots get overrun with quads and side by sides. Fun place for four wheeling but if you want to camp I would recommend getting into Bulldog from one of the south east entrances off the 88. If you follow the trails back far enough you reach beautiful canyons and lots of sandstone and lava rock formations. 4x4 is definitely necessary if you want to go very far but I did it in a 95 Cherokee without a lift so it’s not too rough. This is pack in pack out camping, find a spot wherever you can. Make sure to get a permit in advance, you can get one in person at the ranger station off Higley day of or online if you have a few days to wait. You can definitely get to feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere pretty quick here with the winding canyons.
I use the north entrance off Bush highway. I've camped here 5 or 6 times. No water or bathrooms. Leave no trace. You need a permit and gate code. Most ATVers but not loud during the week. Ive had wild horses walk by. Love it there.
Probably one of the closest places to camp on the east valley of the Phoenix area. This place is most used by OHVs so it can get noisy on the weekends. I’ve also seen spots that people use for shooting. This area is just for dispersed camping, no services, cell phone coverage is good with Verizon.
I have camped at every dispersed camping place within 150 miles of Phoenix. 99 percent are over run by noisy, disrespectful ATV AND DIRT BIKE riders. If they see people camping they like to rev their engines really loud and create big dust flumes to show how nasty they really are. Last year I never saw a dirt bike or ATV in blue point, but this year there's been a lot. Come on guys and gals you have control of every single other spot this was just one place the family could go and have some peace and quiet. NOT THIS YEAR!!! the ATV'S AND dirt bikes have been tearing down the roads making sure they really rev their engines and creat dust when they go by campers. Just be jerks. But besides that, compared to any other place, this is the quietest. Don't park near the gate, the sound from the road can get really loud. 6 am every morning a helicopter comes overhead it's extremely loud, just so you know. Make sure you go to the Tonto national Forest Mesa ranger station and get a permit for bulldog canyon on Ingram street in Mesa. You need the gate combination codes to open the gate and be in there. The rangers do come through and check your permit and ID's to make sure you are the one on the permit. Ive only seen coyotes and wild horses in there.the horses actually came up to my window, it was awesome.you can have fires, but there's no water or toilets. Try to stay away on Friday and Saturday nights. Allot of kids go there to drink and party. One more thing, if you open the gate, close and lock it! I have seen people call the rangers and tell and the rangers came down and took the person's permit away.enjoy!
We went for a quick overnight stay not too far from home for Questival with Cotopaxi. A lot of space to set up camp. My only concern was we heard cars passing throughout the night.
Fun. Free. Great little spots to camp. Peaceful.
We came, we made a fire, we cooked and rapped!
We had a lot of fun! Very secluded but easy to get to!
This "campground" is in the middle of cactus, dirt, and things that stab you. The only real redeeming quality is the view. If you come out here for an amazing sunrise or sunset you will not be disappointed. However, it's worth throwing out that this is the desert and that it's hot during the day, cool at night, and full of things that will sting/bite you. Personally, I wouldn't bring my toddler out here for the plant life. In this particular situation I wouldn't bring my toddler out here because of the trash/abuse. When we were scoping spots there was trash EVERYWHERE. PLUS. the camping needs to be roadisde (or from an established pull out) which means very little privacy from the road. If you do camp here you MUST have the Bulldog Permit. The road will vary (especially on the recent weather/rain).