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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.
Must visit this KOA RV campground resort!
Wow, what an awesome AZ State Park! If you live in Arizona and haven’t camped here you are doing something wrong! It’s a quick weekend getaway from Tucson or even Phoenix. The camp hosts are friendly and stopped by to say hello, leave us maps, and give us the run down on a few rules. Kartchner is a designated Dark Sky park, so they do a great job of making sure everyone keeps the lights off after 8pm so you can enjoy the stars. It really is an awesome perk of the park! The campgrounds are immaculate. Like the cleanest and most well taken care of sites I have ever seen. Everything was perfectly raked and swept prior to our arrival. *We didn’t use the restrooms, showers, or dish washing stations due to covid, so we can’t report on those. We did notice family restrooms, which is always welcomed with little ones! We walked around the loops, like we always do when camping, to make note of the best ones for future trips. There were too many to count! All the sites looked spacious (for state park standards), clean, and had plenty of mesquite trees (perfect for learning how to climb trees for the first time!) The hiking trails are aplenty and dog friendly. The caverns are a quick 5 min walk from the campsites. We didn’t visit due to covid, but in the future plan to visit the caves, discovery center, and cafe. Although the campsite seemed to be most occupied by snowbirds, it really is the perfect destination for families too! We can’t wait to go back!
This is an open desert State Park campground with a fancy, cavernous registration center you have to park and walk a few hundred yards to enter. The gift shop was closed.
The campsites are close together affording little privacy. Each has water and electric hookup, a picnic table and fire ring. The back in sites are paved and level. The bathrooms with showers were clean and well appointed.
The Camp Host greeted me once I was settled. He Wanted me to be aware of the rules and regulations of the campground. Before he left, he asked me if I was traveling alone. The campground host circled the campground in his golf cart several times each day peering into each site on his way by. The only other campground I experienced his behavior was in Lost DutchmanState Park up near Apache Junction.
I hiked the Foothills Loop which was challenging in spots especially around the apex. Walking sticks are recommended. The views were awesome.
I’d give this four stars, but I don’t like feeling surveilled
In general its a lovely state park with good provisions. Ended up in the group site, which appears not be an actual group site, as sites are individually reservable and functions as overflow camping. You are unfortunately….right on top of each other. We had maybe 8 ft between us and the camper van next to us. That said, other campers were quiet and respectful.
I thought the sites were all decent sized. Almost the entire campground is set up for RV's but most of the sites don't have anyone behind them and are spacious, so tents would be fine in those spots if you don't mind an RV a site over. The couple tent spots they have are okay. All 5 of them are right off of the road so they have more noise traffic. I think our spot in B2 was the most private and away from the road. The restrooms are clean. There's also a nice dishwashing sink. The location is ideal for exploring the west side (Tucson Mountain District) of Saguaro National Park. The stars here were great and I love the sound of the coyotes in the night.
Dispersed camping, no amenities, but FREE.
Easy drive in on partially washboarded flat gravel road (E Yucca Farm Rd). The dirt road into Road Canyon is manageable, just drive with caution. Area is wide open and quiet with multiple spots. Did not see many people during our stay here, just a few hikers and ATV’ers, and one trailer camping down the road. As you are driving in there are several decent spots to pull off and camp. There are stone fire rings that people have made and the area is free from left litter.
Further down the dirt road you come upon a “no trespassing” sign indicating that it is State Trust land and that a permit is required to go any further, and to call 602-542-2119. Arizona Trust Land Permit is $20/year for family of 4, $15/year individual.
Saw some antelope on our way out but no other wildlife. There are free range cattle but did not see any. Nice quiet place to let the dogs run free.
There are other camping areas further up the main road.
Good Verizon and AT&T reception
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.
If you have to stay in an RV park, this is the one to stay in. It is absolutely not your typical RV park that feels like a parking lot with rows of RVs all side by side. This is a combo of an old timey motel, vintage trailers that are rented out on air bnb, a cool hangout area and pool with music playing and they have movies on some nights on the big screen in the pool area, and a couple of FHU(30 amp only) RV spots(for$35/night) Also saw camper vans there too. It’s right off the road so there are road noises, as well as noise from neighboring businesses and trains.
The owner Toni and her daughter have put so much time and energy into building this place, and their love of all things vintage shows. Toni will tell you the history of the trailers and busses on site, including a 1970’s rock n roll tour bus and a trailer that the Dead are said to have used for travel while on tour. Vintage electric car and a car called Wedge and looks as the name implies. There is one washer and one dryer available for use, as well as a bathtub/shower, kitchen, and a hangout room with TV, music, and a free table arcade game with multiple 80s video games to choose from.
The motel rooms are available for rent as well, though when we stayed there in our RV all the rooms were occupied by a film crew and the artist in residence. We asked about tent sites and the owner seemed willing to work with guests on that, though we didn’t see a good spot where tents would go.
There is also a chicken coop and a small garden! You may get lucky and get some fresh eggs in the morning.