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Gila Bend, ARIZONA

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Most Recent Gila Bend Camping Reviews
Great stay!

This is a working farm. The RV spot was between date palms and next to the dog agility course. The tent sites were in the back and seemed nice and private. The property has a farm stand where you can pick up eggs, homebaked goodies, and other produce anytime using a self-pay box. Janna was very prompt in her response and squeezed us in last minute. After checking Airbnb and Hipcamp this was the best place we found close to the city.

Great for a one night stay

We stopped here on our way westward and it was just what we needed. Although the sites are a bit close to each other than we prefer, the amenities were very well taken care of. The laundry facility was one of the nicest we’ve ever used! Pool was a great bonus for our family after a long day of driving.

Close to town, yet far enough away for hiking and relaxing

Another Maricopa County parks campground which is great for hiking and relaxing. 

Very well taken care of. The park has beautiful hiking trails and a great nature center, which offers activities and the regional library. There are a couple of playgrounds in the park as well. 

Some hiking trails are within walking distance of the campground, others you will need to drive to.  Maricopa trail runs through the park. 

The campground itself is very clean, including the restrooms and showers. It is quiet and the campsites all have electric and water hookups, picnic table and fire pit. Sites are far enough from each other so it doesn't feel crowded. Not much vegetation on the campground itself, so sunshine in abundance.

Okay for the day "Summer"

Really not much to brag about here, too hot for the summer season. Recommend coming here late Fall thru early Spring.

Hiking trails and Day Use

Hiking trails are well established and marked with emergency location tabs. Maricopa County park required fee. Has a wonderful library and nature center on site. Baseball and softball field, along with shaded ramadas for picnics and get togethers.

Fast get away

From beginning to end always great views from the trials. I can go for a few hours hike or all day.

Quick Stop for Overnight

Had a wonderful and peaceful night at the beautiful Leaf Verde. Didn't have much time to enjoy the amenities, however from the looks of the grounds and how the place was kept up, everything looked well taken care of.

Jewel in Buckeye

Moved to Buckeye in Oct of 2018, when exiting off Watson road off I-10 always seen the signs of the Skyline Regional Park. Spent a few months pushing it off from visiting, until I decided to go take the drive up and realized how this hidden jewel was in Buckeye. Well maintained and marked trails with unbelievable views. Restrooms at the parking lot very clean. Overnight campsites which are primitive. However a wonderful and peaceful place to visit to clear your mind or soak up the views.

Beautiful

Super clean trails with amazing views and saguaro cacti for days.

Wonderful KOA

The best KOA park we've been to very clean with friendly staff.

Great summer fun

Large spacious sites. Several camping options available. There is dry camping, T-sites or Resort camping. T sites have only electric and water. Resort has everything. Lake swimming not your thing? Pool available with showers and store. Well managed and great family summer fun.

If you’re into boating, a great place to go. Make reservations.

Sites are rustic, they’ve water and electricity, no sewer. There’s a dump station as you leave the park. No store, be sure you’re well stocked with everything before you head out.

Nice campground close to Phoenix

Leaf Verde is in Buckeye, AZ which is only 30 minutes from Phoenix. The pool is refreshing and if you aren’t into swimming there is a pool table, dog park and shuffle board to keep you busy. The sites are gravel and close together but nice.

Desert Camping With Great Hiking

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.

TIPS:

  • 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.

Bring water and take a hike

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.

Lots of solitude to offer

This isn't the greatest campsite in the world, more of a glorified rest stop with a painted-rock exhibit. I got there late at night traveling from Texas to California and it was pretty easy to find. There are restrooms, dumpsters, and picnic tables.

Don't expect much from this place as it is funded by the honor system, but the solitude is nice and it makes for a decent stop to break up your road trip.

So much fun

This was a wonderful place to camp with family and water toys!

First to Review
A most amazing dog park.

Although I was just spending one night on my way home I was so surprised to find the most amazing K-9 Park ever. 3 separate secure areas with large grass areas in two of them. My pup had so much fun. They have water, toys and baggies readily available. Also the entire park as well as the K-9 area was very clean and well kept.

Free Park Entrance

Free entrance to the park with a $20 overnight camping fee. Choice of 7 campgrounds, with nearby restroom, ramadas, beautiful desert setting, and 18.5 miles of hiking trails. No electricity or water

Peaceful

If you like the natural dessert, you’ll love this place. Large camp sites welll spaces.

Desert park & campground

County Park located just west of Phoenix metroplex, in White Tanks Mountains. Roomy sites, with a mixture of gravel and sand. Had a picnic table and grill. This was a shakedown for our new travel trailer, so we wanted to be near town in case something went wrong. Lots of nearby hiking trails, and restrooms and showers were clean. Campsites are behind a rise, so you see stars, not city lights.

Fantastic hiking! Camping. . . not so much.

Skyline Regional Park, Buckeye AZ

www.skylineregionalpark.com and camping page www.skylineregionalpark.com/camping/ 

This is a brand new park in the city of Buckeye, AZ at the south end of the White Tank Mountains and is located about 20 miles from White Tanks Regional Park in the Maricopa County Parks district (see my review). The park itself is very pretty, all of the amenities are new and fresh, and several of the trails are under active construction. 

This is a very popular and BUSY park for mountain bikers - I was surprised to see the trailhead parking lot nearly full (almost 2 dozen cars) on a Thursday late afternoon/evening, and as people came back to the lot to leave nearly all of them were mountain bikers, with a few hikers mixed in.

The good - 

It’s neat and clean, nice new restrooms with flush toilets and sinks that also have motion lights to conserve energy - they stay dark at night, so there are fewer bugs swarming around the entrances, although the restrooms are marked with bee warnings.

The campsites are level, evenly spaced away from each other on a long loop, and have big sturdy concrete picnic tables along with a fire ring and standing grill. The parking spaces are easy to back into and help to block the view of some of the campsite from the road.

I stayed in site D, which is at the top of the low hill that composes a loop of 7 sites (A-G) but sites E and F would be my choice next time, as they are terraced into the hill as it comes down from the peak sites of C and D - each of the sites E and F have an erosion wall that makes nice seating (see photo)

Site G is currently under construction, and was not available for reservation as of my stay in the middle of October, but will be the site closest to the restroom and trail head when it’s available. Not a big issue, as each site is only a few dozen yards from each other.

The trail head has a nice map of the available trails, covered ramadas with recycle containers along with trash receptacles, and even a shaded horse hitching post area with an automatic horse waterer. There is no potable water for people to drink in this park.

The sites are cleared of brush/cacti and have a nice wide gravel path to the restroom - I carried a UV light but didn’t see any scorpions anywhere near the road or my camp, which is certainly not the case just up the road in White Tanks Regional part, where the campsites are more desert/less groomed (but have water&electric).

The less than good - 

It’s pretty boring. There are 7 sites that are basically identical with the same view of the trailhead parking lot - it’s nice that the restroom is close, but there’s not much privacy for any of the sites. No trees of any significant size, so none of the sites have appreciable shade available.

I’m not sure who these sites were designed for - they are deep enough for RVs to back in, but there is no electric or water, and they recommend driving 5 miles away to a truck stop as the closest RV dump site and pay showers, so that can’t be very convenient for non-tent campers. 

The campsites have a nice flat area for a tent, but it’s next to the “driveway” rather than at the back of the site so your tent has NO privacy from the road/trailhead parking lot, and the entire camping loop is located on a very uninteresting section of terrain. 

The park is far enough from the freeway (2 miles) that it’s quiet, and tucked into the foothills enough to block the city lights from Phoenix, so stargazing is quite nice. However, it’s under a flight path from Phoenix to San Diego/Los Angeles, so every few minutes a jet blinks through your sky space. It’s also apparently under a flight path for Luke Air Force Base, and I had several noisy jets pass overhead just as I was settling in for the night. I live in the area so those jets are a constant background noise in my life and they were no big deal to me, but might be unsettling for someone who was really looking for a “peace and quiet” camping experience.

There was a fire ban in effect during my stay and they don’t announce them on their website - you have to remember to call and ask before you get there. However, even during a fire ban you can use your fire pit and grill, so it’s really not a big deal unless you were planning to set up camp way out in the desert somewhere.

My least favorite -

The mountain bikers take these trails seriously and are out on the trails with head lamps and bike lights until LATE at night, and their voices carry all over the park so this is NOT a quiet place to camp. 

The signage all says that the trails are open from sunup until sundown, and that the park gates close at 10pm. The reality is that the hikers and mountain bikers wear lights and stay out on the trails until far after sundown because even though my campsite reservation said I would need to use a gate code to leave the park after 10pm, that is not the case. The gate leaving the park has an auto-opening feature, so you can drive up to it in the middle of the night and it will be triggered to open and let you out. Day-use park visitors can and do stay until very late, as there is no consequence for being in the park after the trails “close” or even after 10pm, since they don’t risk being locked in. I didn’t see any park employees driving around to enforce the park closing time, and I did become a little concerned (as I was the only camper that night, and alone with my dogs) when someone drove up to use the restroom at the trailhead at 11:30pm (car headlights shining directly into my camp of course) - again, not much privacy.

All in all - I’d come back to this park to hike any day of the week. The trails are wide and new and well maintained, and it’s a new area to explore. As far as camping goes, there are plenty of nice parks not far from here, so I’d probably recommend driving an extra half hour to one of the Maricopa county parks at Estrella Mountain or White Tanks to take advantage of the same or better mountain views with more amenities.

NASCAR, Rodeo, Golf, Camping? No need to decide.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park feels like it’s out in the desert, but it’s close to everything. It’s right down the street from Phoenix International Raceway, so you can go see a NASCAR race. It’s right next to a rodeo arena, and there’s usually an event scheduled there if the weather is nice, and it’s flanked on the west side by a golf course - a win for everybody in your camping party.

This feels like the most “park like” campgrounds in the Maricopa County parks system with big expanses of grassy fields and eucalyptus trees, and it has a huge collection of shaded playground equipment on the east end. There’s lots of open camping areas that are often used by scout troops and other groups, and numbered campsites along the southern edge of the “flat” park, up against the base of the Estrella Mountain range. Campsites are typical for the county parks system.

Wear orange. Lots of orange.

This is a regional park along Hwy 85 south of Phoenix - one of those stretches of freeways that Arizonans cruise past glassy-eyed on their way to or from San Diego…

What a great place to stop for a picnic during nice weather, or a camping trip to get away, but not too far away. The campgrounds is filled with gentle rises that give nice views of the west valley of the Phoenix metro area, and I’ll bet the city lights are pretty from here at night.

This park is flanked by a Sherriff’s firearms training range, as well as open desert hunting grounds. I visited during dove season and hunting was audibly present around me as well as several warning signs. Keep that in mind if you are sensitive to the sounds of shooting and hunting.

Typical RV park. Snooze.

This is an RV Park not far from my home, so I reviewed it so I’d have some practical advice for friends and family members traveling through the area. It’s nothing exciting - just a big paved RV parking lot crossed by paved streets. The speed limit in 1/2mph increments was entertaining, but I think I’d recommend this place only if all the local county parks happened to be full. Boring.

5 "Star" mountain park

Have loved this park since first visit over 25 years ago and today it is super improved, family friendly and just beautiful. Public golf course next door, horsemanship activities abound, huge amphitheater for outdoor evening activities, and the absolute best "super playground" I have EVER seen.

Red flag flying!!

Next to the Floss shooting range and the Sheriff's training range is a gem of a recreation park with great views of Buckeye and the Phoenix valley. Only one vault toilet, no water or electric, but no signs stating camping not allowed either. Although almost every sight has a grill or fire ring of some sort, but since May no fires of any type are allowed, probably due to wild fire hazards. This would be a superb star gazing adventure site for primitive camping. You just need to pack in/out all essentials like water and food.

RV parking lot

No tent camping. RV camping only. That being said, this is a giant parkinglot for RV "camping" that is popular with Snowbirds being it is close to groceries, store fronts and I10. There is a swimming pool, "The Barn", a salon, and a horseshoe pit.

Stargazing in the city

Fantastic park for seeing the stars and getting away from Phoenix city lights. Lots of well marked trails and access to water and facilities as well as access to a county library and education center at the entrance.

I just camped in this park last night in space 17 - the family camping is about 35 sites in a big loop with a central restroom and marked pathways from each campsite to the facilities. Some sites are pull-in/back-in, and others are pull-through along the road. The lowest and highest numbered sites are closest to the staff "residences" with their RVs. Each site has a fire ring, grill, concrete picnic table and water/electric posts. I think site 18 is my favorite, and sites 17-21 are closest to the family campground trail leg that leads to the Ironwood Trail for hiking access.

I've also joined two ranger-led hikes here (Black Rock Loop for sunrise hikes) as well as a county-sponsored astronomy night with access to multiple large telescopes and an astronomy presentation. Check the park website for their activities calendar as there's a good chance you can take advantage of some organized education during your visit.

A desert geode!

Located at about 203rd Avenue, on the westside of Phoenix, in Waddell Arizona is a tiny little Campground with phenomenal views. There is also a large group campground and a very primitive "camp ground" available, but primitive desert camping requires a LOT of preparation and packing in/out. There are numerous horseback, hiking and biking trails. Family campground has electric and water hookups with a very clean centrally located restroom, that hosts a shower and flushing toilets.

Views are amazing. Maricopa county operates the campground and has made significant improvements with ramada, gathering areas, grills, fire rings, monthly hikes, educational presentations, a huge public library…every bit in caliber with state and federal campgrounds.