3 Places for Winter Boondocking in Arizona

Camping connects you with nature and allows for a rejuvenating time away from the stress of everyday life. While there are many choices for getting to campsites, RVs and camper vans are longtime favorite vehicles. Places like Arizona provide beautiful backdrops for your retreat. When you want to plan a camping trip to take advantage of winter splendor, we’ve got three great destinations for boondocking in Arizona.

Chiricahua National Monument

A Volkswagen Transporter T4 van boondocking on the Bug river bank near Malkinia, Poland
A Volkswagen Transporter T4 van boondocking | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Cruise America, if you’re a fan of cool rocks in nature, Chiricahua National Monument is called the “wonderland of rocks.” You’ll enjoy quite awesome views of towering rhyolite rock formations standing hundreds of feet tall. There are also all kinds of trails, bird watching areas, and historical sites to explore, which is 12,025 acres. 

The National Park Service details what passes are accepted to camp here. Fees at the monument’s Bonita Canyon Campground run $20 per site, per night, and $10 per site, per night for accepted National Park Passes like the Golden Access Passport and others. You can camp with RVs or trailers that measure up to 29 feet and no more than 24 feet past the Bonita Canyon Campground. 

There aren’t any water, sewer, or electrical connections, and ground fires aren’t allowed, though fire pits are allowed. When open, you can also take a tour of the Faraway Ranch Historic House. Self-guided tours are available now as the house undergoes renovations.

Scaddan Wash BLM Dispersed Camping Area

Quartzite, Arizona, has a great camping presence in the winter, according to Tough Top Awnings. The Scaddan Wash BLM Dispersed Camping Area is close to Interstate 10, so it’s a great option to set up camp or stop along the way to another destination for a few nights for some boondocking. The area hosts different events during the winter months as well that draw campers.

Reviews on Campendium talk about the great view of the stars at night and proximity to the nearby town where you can refuel and get water or liquid propane. RVshare mentions that you can also explore nearby old mining operations in Quartzite.

There aren’t any provisions for water, sewer, or electrical hookups on the campsite itself, nor can you dump water or waste. However, campers love that it’s no cost to stay on the grounds. In fact, you’re able to camp free for up to 14 days. 

Patagonia Lake State Park

According to Cruise America, if you’re looking for an Arizona campsite with more amenities, Patagonia Lake State Park is it. Campers have access to a lakeside beach and marina with available boat rentals. RVs can also enjoy private picnic areas with barbeque grills and full hookups to utilities. Arizona State Parks outlines that there are 105 developed campsites like this, with varying maximum RV lengths. Most will accommodate any size, though.

For the full boondocking experience, there are also two non-electric campsites. Both have a picnic area, fire ring, grill, and ramada area for shade. There is also space to park two vehicles. Alternatively, there are eight cabins available at Patagonia State Park. They all have covered front porches with picnic areas and barbeques, gorgeous lake views, and parking for cars or RVs.

Additionally, there are public restrooms with showers and water dumping facilities, but they aren’t open at the moment due to coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions and needed maintenance. However, the park does have portable toilets available in these instances. Check with the park before your visit for the status of these amenities.

Vehicles for one to four adults pay a park entrance fee of $15 to $20. Campsite fees vary by campground site and location number, but prices are quite reasonable. Once all set up, you can enjoy camping for up to 14 consecutive nights.

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