Sometimes, when we want to experience nature to its fullest, there’s nothing like getting away from it all with some boondocking. And as one of the most scenic states in the nation — and one of the states with the most public land — Arizona has something to offer every camper.
To help you find the best boondocking spots in the Grand Canyon State, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites. Best of all, because you’ll be off-grid in these parks, there’s a decent chance you’ll get to enjoy camping for free.
Mogollon Rim: Breathtaking boondocking
Located in Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, the Mogollon Rim rises to some 7,000 feet of elevation. At 2,000 feet higher than the land around it, it makes for some truly impressive scenery.
RV Share reports that boondocking locations are plentiful here. Forest Service Roads 300 and 171, right at the top of the rim, make for popular stops with boondockers. At lower elevations, Fire Control Road also offers some great spots.
While you’re there, Visit Arizona invites you to enjoy the historic hiking and horseback riding trails. You can also bike, rock climb, and more.
Quartzsite: Stunning sunsets
Quartzsite offers the chance to truly get away from it all at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Well off the beaten path, this beautiful spot doesn’t offer any amenities, but few who come here care about that.
Campsites here are hidden away in cliffs. The Dyrt says the sunset views you’ll enjoy here are “some of the most stunning sunsets you’ll see in the states.”
At Quartzsite, you’ll never need to worry about battling the crowds or noise. There’s plenty of room for all, and those who come here often use solar power to keep generator noise in check.
Mittry Lake Dispersed: Scenic backdrop of 3 mountain ranges
Located about 18 miles northeast of Yuma, this spot offers peaceful free camping and the opportunity to enjoy Mittry Lake. You can park your RV right by the lake for easy access.
Amenities are few and far between, but the scenic backdrop of three mountain ranges, along with the lake, more than makes up for it. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, or exploring the nearby trails.
Florence Box Canyon: An off-roader’s paradise
A box canyon is a canyon with steep, basically vertical walls on three sides that allows for entry and exit only on the fourth side. Florence Box Canyon, located southeast of Phoenix, is a unique example of this geological phenomenon. It’s a great place for off-roaders to explore.
The majority of boondocking spots here are found along Cottonwood Canyon Rd going east from AZ-79. While you’re there, you may enjoy exploring some of the old mines that dot the landscape. (Just remember that you do so at your own risk.) You’ll need to obtain an Arizona State Trust Land permit before camping there. Permits cost $15 for an individual or $20 for a family.
Snyder Hill: Boondocking lite
Snyder Hill is located just outside Tucson, south of Saguaro National Park. The Dyrt reports that this spot offers free camping and is popular with boondockers who might not have the time to get farther away from the city. Given its relatively urban location, you can expect it to be more crowded than some other spots on this list.
Stays are allowed for up to 14 days. During that time, you can enjoy the desert scenery and views of the city lights at night.