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We stayed here in January 2021 during our visit to Saguaro National Park due to previous good reviews. Classic BLM-style camping, meaning no amenities, dispersed, and pack out all waste.
This campground’s name is quite apt; it is indeed a cactus forest, and a beautiful one at that. However, watch where you step AND where you drive!!!! Some places are hairier than others, but we were very careful for our own safety and for the livelihood of the Saguaros, as young ones are quite tiny and need to be protected. We were traveling with our cat, and we usually let him walk around campsites with us, but decided it was not worth the risk at this campground. I would avise against dogs roaming here as well.
This is a great campground if you are just looking to get away for the weekend or want a quaint, quiet campground amongst incredible Saguaros. However, I personally prefer the BLM Pipeline campground to this one, as it’s more spread out, has less opportunity for cactus stepping, and has a much better proximity to Saguaro NP (especially the East park/Tucson Mountain Park).
Date of Stay: 1/20/21 Vehicle: Subaru Crosstrek w/ tow-behind popup
I was a bit wary of this campground due to lack of reviews, but after an unsuccessful attempt to camp at another campground close to Saguaro NP East, we decided to give this site a go - and I’m SO glad we did. This is the perfect BLM campground - very dispersed, quiet, and FREE!
We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon with only about two other groups there. Directions from the Dyrt are perfectly accurate, but the turn is a bit tricky to see, as it is a narrow dirt road surrounded by brush. You can actually turn left or right when prompted by directions, but we went right and drove about ¾ of a mile down (you’ll see a sign addressed to campers so you’ll know you’re in the right place). Road is mostly very flat but does have the occasional bump/washout, and there is no shortage of rocks. Had no problem in my vehicle w/ trailer.
I honestly don’t know how many “campsites” are here, as they seem to be scattered pretty randomly around. There are little side roads that branch off the main road as well, we went down one of those and found a quaint little spot with camper-made fire pit that isn’t visible to the main road. Because of this, I would highly recommend arriving to this spot during the day, as we would have never found our great spot had it been dark.
As for the spot itself, it isn’t the prettiest because it’s mostly desert brush and dirt, but the Saguaros most definitely make up for it. Our specific campsite is marked by a towering, twenty-foot high Saguaro that I love waking up to every morning. There is little to no shade, but during the winter, the sun is very welcome. As for wildlife, we’ve seen several coyotes and roadrunners but not much else, at least during the day.
Location of this site is optimal - about five minutes from a local mart with all essentials, and ten from a Speedway and Dollar General. About 35 minutes from Saguaro West/Mountain Park and the same into central Tucson. Overall, I highly recommend this site for any avid BLM camper who is accustomed to no amenities. This may be my favorite BLM site I’ve ever camped.
I booked a week stay at this resort. They charged my credit card the usual one night stay, until check in. NO NOT BOOK at this resort IF there is the slightest chance that you MAY HAVE TO CANCEL! Our dates were Jan.13-19. On the 10th, I called and spoke with Ashley, and informed her that we had to cancel does to an emergency. She informed me that she would cancel the reservation and REFUND me the one night charge….AND send me an email for my records. On the next day,the 11th, STILL within the 48 hour cancellation policy, I had received NO EMAIL. I called back and spoke with Diana, informed her about my call to Ashley the day before. Diana said she would cancel the charge and send e an email. NONE. On the 12th, I called THREE times and reached the answering service. I left messages. I called my credit card company, explained what was happening, and opened a FRAUD case. On the 13th, I saw that the Casa Grande Resort, CHARGED MY CREDIT CARD AGAIN on Jan. 12th! I called the credit card company, reported the second charge as FRAUD. I have contacted this resort THREE more times, and my call goes straight to voice mail. They DO NOT call you back as they state. I have RV'd all over America for years, and have NEVER had such a bBAD experience in cancelling a booking. DO NO STAY HERE, if there is any chance that you may have to cancel. Completely NON PROFESSIONAL STAFF at this place!
CAVEAT: As a woman traveling alone, I didn't feel comfortable stopping to ask questions here, much less stay, but your experience and comfort level may differ.
Gila Bend is a charming little bump in the road between Phoenix and San Diego. It has a very Mexican feel to it, with souvenir shops and a good old-fashioned carneceria, and is also home to the Space Age Restaurant, which some consider a must-visit.
This particular RV park, however, would probably not be your first choice of places to stay, even though the other cheap choices here would be the parking lots at Pilot (east end) or Love's (west end). Someone has tried to liven up the fence line with new bougainvillea plants, but in general the place looks rundown/slumlike, and is mostly fixed-in-place mobile homes, not RV spaces. There are one or two places where mobile homes have just been left to decay where they sit, and there was a large trailerload of debris outside the office that looked like it had been there for quite a while. Given that the beautiful and pristine Painted Rock BLM park is only 30 minutes down the road and about a fifth to a third the cost, I'd give this one a miss.
Relatively easy access from main road for most any vehicle, just take it slow and watch for ruts, especially after a rain.
There are many cool places to pull off and camp, but stay on established open spaces, we saw little baby things trying to grow all over the place so don’t squash them. We arrived on a Wednesday, and it was peaceful and quiet and serene until that Friday, when a group of guffawing dude-bros took up camp across the road from us. Voices carry here, especially this type of voice. The ranger drove down Pipeline Rd in a truck to check on things several times, something I always appreciate.
You can hear road noise the closer you are to the main road (W Avra Valley Rd), especially trucks driving to and from the quarry, which can sound like thunder. Beautiful landscape, saguaros everywhere, beautiful sunrise and sunset, very peaceful despite the truck noise. If we had a rig that could make it in further we would have camped further away from the road to minimize the noise. Pretty regular traffic going in and out on Pipeline Rd, campers and ATVers.
Free range cattle also in the area.
Good verizon and AT&T service.
This is an extremely well-maintained park. Campsites are nice sized and well spaced with some shrubs and trees. Bathrooms and showers were spotless. Beautiful pool. Management is very accommodating and efficient. Covid safe.
I am not sure why it was listed within Good Sam but we were unable to get a good Sam discount. 47.50 is a bit more than we are used to paying as full time traveling RVers.
My only advice here is that it’s not fun for dogs. (And maybe not fun for young kids either?) It’s incredibly prickly everywhere. Imagine that, prickly in the cactus forest? You’ll want to avoid wearing sandals too. (I found myself with a piece of a cactus stuck to my foot and then when trying to remove it I got my hand stuck to the cactus that was stuck to my foot. Tools were required. Pain, lots of pain.) Seriously, NO SANDALS. But! PROS: the saguaro cactus are huge and impressive. We really enjoyed driving through this area at sunset and seeing all the iconic cactus. But then our overnight of camping on this random BLM land was just hours of dodging prickles. It’s quite an interesting place, but fair warning, is prickly. Act accordingly.
Free BLM dispersed camping between Why AZ and Organ Pipe Nat Monument. Turnoff is just past mp #55 heading south from Why, right turn off hwy just past the concrete bridge over gunsight wash. Entrance is a bit back to right over a cattleguard. Hwy road noise can be an issue so the farther west into the area the less road noise. Cell service for Verizon and Tmobile was 4 bars lte..however ATT was nothing. Why AZ has gas, ice, restrooms. Filtered water is across hwy at community center kiosk..five gals $1. Note that the Border Patrol has a checkpoint at mp 57.5 just before Organ Pipe boundary.