Quartzsite booms each year as thousands of RVs, trailers, vans, and more flock to the small Arizona desert town as winter approaches.
For just $180, RV snowbirds and full-time boondockers can dry camp at nearby Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) managed by the Bureau of Land Management for up to 7 months between September 15th and April 15th (skip to our full LTVA breakdown below).
Quartzsite is also home to an abundance of normal BLM land for dispersed camping (for up to two weeks at a time) that’s free to use year round.
Related Post: The Best Dispersed Campsites in Arizona
Please always follow the Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, especially packing out all of your trash, including human waste.
Best Dispersed Campsites Near Quartzsite
Jump to the free campsite you want to learn more about:
- Plomosa Road
- Scaddan Wash
- Road Runner
- Hi Jolly
- Dome Rock Mountain
- Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
- La Posa LTVA
- Midland LTVA
- Imperial Dam LTVA
Or, use our Quartzsite dispersed camping map to browse the area’s best free campsites.
My Favorite Free Dispersed Camping Near Quartzsite
Not everyone is looking for long-term boondocking. For those that want a more traditional dispersed camping experience, here are my favorite free campsites near Quartzsite.
Plomosa Road is one of my favorite places for free camping near Quartzsite.
It’s located just north of town, off Highway 95. Campsites appear almost immediately after turning off onto Plomosa Road. But, for the most private sites, continue in for several miles (or, better yet, drive nearly all the way to Bouse before setting up camp).
This area is absolutely huge with plenty of room to spread out. It’s mostly flat and level, which is perfect for RVs and trailers. Do note that it is quite exposed with very little shade. The ground is also quite rocky for tent camping.
Plomosa Road isn’t the closest BLM dispersed camping area to Quartzsite. But I much prefer it over Hi Jolly, for example, which is also on Highway 95 and closer to town, because it’s typically a lot less busy.
Keep a lookout for “No Camping” signs which start about three miles down Plomosa Road and continue for several miles but eventually do let up. Make sure you’re not in a restricted area before setting up camp.
Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from town, Scaddan Wash is perfect for those that want to be close to all the action.
It’s the ideal free campsite for checking out the town’s wintertime events, like the extremely popular Big Tent RV Show, or just for running errands. It’s a short bicycle ride into town so you don’t even have to deal with moving your rig during your stay.
Of course, all this convenience does come with a downside. Like every dispersed camping area close to Quartzsite, Scaddan Wash gets extremely busy during the winter, especially during events.
Luckily, however, camping here the rest of the year, especially before Thanksgiving or after February, doesn’t come with nearly as much hustle and bustle. Even during events, you can find a little privacy by driving in a mile or so off the highway.
I typically prefer a more remote dispersed campsite, but Scaddan Wash is ideal for those who wish to socialize with other boondockers or explore the town of Quartzsite without moving their vehicle.
Road Runner is yet another free BLM camping area near Quartzsite.
It’s located just south of La Posa LTVA. Although it’s still just a short drive into town, it’s typically much less busy than other nearby dispersed camping areas.
Road Runner is perfect for RV boondocking, even in a big rig, thanks to the wide-open spaces and hard-packed level ground. This is also a great place to camp with large groups of friends or family.
The marked entrance is best for RVs, trailers, and normal passenger vehicles. Other access points are best suited for high-clearance and 4×4 vehicles which lead to more private campsites.
Like nearly all the dispersed campsites near Quartzsite, Road Runner is beautiful. Sweeping desert views with a rugged mountain backdrop greet campers. Sunrise, sunset, and stargazing are all incredible.
It’s no wonder that Hi Jolly is one of the most popular places for boondocking near Quartzsite.
For starters, it’s just a few miles north of town on Highway 95. Access is easy for all vehicles, including low-clearance passenger vehicles and the biggest RVs.
Like most Quartzsite dispersed campsites, Hi Jolly gets busy in the winter, especially during January and February. But there’s a good amount of space to spread out to find something more private, especially if you’re willing to brave a few washes.
Another great thing about Hi Jolly – as well as the other main BLM camping areas near Quartzsite – is the on-site camp host. They’re full of information on events happening in town as well as nearby amenities and services.
Also worth mentioning is the scenery. Expect beautiful desert views and magical sunrises and sunsets. Very dark night skies make for great stargazing.
Dome Rock Mountain
Boondocking at Dome Rock Mountain is ideal for RVs and trailers of all sizes.
In addition to its proximity to Quartzsite, I love that you can drive into Blythe for supplies without navigating through Quartzsite traffic.
Dome Rock Mountain has plenty of flat, level, spacious campsites. But, know that much of it is quite a bit rougher and hillier than other BLM campsites nearby (most of which are flat open desert).
Like all free BLM land near Quartzsite, it does get busy here in the winter, but there’s more than enough room to spread out and find a relatively private campsite. Just avoid the central area where most big rigs seem to congregate and look toward the outer edges.
There’s some road noise from the highway but it should be little more than a low murmur, unless you’re camped right next to it.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Although it’s a bit farther from town than other options, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is hands down my favorite place for dispersed camping near Quartzsite.
It consists of 665,000 acres of open desert and rugged mountains. Free dispersed camping is allowed almost everywhere as long as you’re within 100 feet of a road.
The most popular dispersed campsites are located in the Crystal Hill area along Blevens Road and Pipeline Road. Other places to look include King Road and Castle Dome Mine Road.
My go-to place for camping here, however, is along Palm Canyon Road as well Queen Canyon Road (which branches off of Palm Canyon Road). The campsites here are spacious, level, fairly secluded, and offer beautiful views.
I like camping on Palm Canyon Road (and elsewhere in Kofa) because it’s a lot less busy than the BLM camping areas nearer Quartzsite. It’s a longer drive into the town, but the seclusion is well worth it, in my opinion.
Boondocking at La Posa Long Term Visitor Area
La Posa Long Term Visitor Area is the largest and most popular place for dispersed camping near Quartzsite.
It’s broken up into four distinct sections: La Posa North, La Posa South, La Posa West, and La Posa Tyson Wash.
The northern section is notable for its proximity to town (it butts right up against the Big Tent RV Show) while the southern section is notable as the hub for the LTVA’s amenities, including vault toilets, potable water filling stations, and RV dump stations. Dumpsters are available in all four sections.
Nearly the entirety of La Posa has smooth and level gravel ground. There’s more than enough room for even the largest RVs as well as large groups of RVs wishing to camp close together.
As mentioned above, a permit is required to camp here. A long-term permit is just $180 for up to 7 months (between September 15th and April 15th). A short-term permit is $40 for up to two weeks. Off-season (April 16th to September 14th) rates are $15 per night.
Long-term permits purchased here are also good at Hot Spring, Imperial Dam, Midland, Mule Mountain, Pilot Knob, and Tamarisk LTVAs, so feel free to hop around if you like.
Both short-term and long-term permits are available to buy at the entrance to each of La Posa’s four sections, at the Yuma Field Office, or online.
Learn more about boondocking at La Posa Long Term Visitor Area.
Other Long Term Visitor Areas Near Quartzsite
La Posa isn’t the only Long Term Visitor Area near Quartzsite. Although several others are located in Arizona and in nearby California, Midland LTVA and Imperial Dam LTVA are closest to Quartzsite (aside from La Posa, of course).
Midland Long Term Visitor Area
A little over a half hour drive from Quartzsite, Midland LTVA is perfect for boondockers that prefer a quieter scene.
Like La Posa, this is dry camping in open desert. There’s little shade, a lot of wind, and a good amount of dust. Amenities include an RV dump station and trash service. Unfortunately, there is no potable water here.
Midland LTVA is huge with plenty of space to spread out. You’ll likely have neighbors wherever you go, but should be able to get far enough away to eliminate generator noise, at the very least.
Do note that, in addition to the lack of potable water, there are no vault toilets here. Because of this, you must camp in a self-contained vehicle (a rig with a toilet). Tent camping isn’t allowed.
Midland has the same fees as La Posa ($40 for two weeks, $180 for up to 7 months) between September 15th and April 15th. But, because it’s across state lines in California, it’s managed by the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office.
Learn more about boondocking at Midland Long Term Visitor Area.
Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area
For boondocking near Yuma, look no further than Imperial Dam LTVA.
Although it’s an hour south of Quartzsite, it’s still a great option for those hoping to check out the town’s winter events while escaping the hustle and bustle of La Posa and nearby BLM land.
The proximity to Senator Wash Reservoir is the first thing that makes Imperial Dam LTVA so special. Several campsites are set right on its banks – although I believe these aren’t part of the LTVA (just part of the normal two-weeks dispersed camping area).
The other highlight is the abundant amenities. There are several fresh water fill-ups, RV dumps, and dumpsters for trash. Toilets include the usual vault toilets as well as a couple of flush toilets with sinks! Hot outdoor showers are even provided!
The fees to stay at Imperial Dam are the same as La Posa and Midland: $40 for two weeks or $180 for up to 7 months between September 15th and April 15th. Buy your permit on site, from the Yuma Field Office, or online.
Learn more about boondocking at Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area.
Additional Tips for Boondocking Near Quartzsite
Most of the standard rules of boondocking also apply to boondocking in Quartzsite. But here are a few additional location-specific tips, especially for those planning to stay long-term.
- Nearby Services – Two small grocery stores (Roadrunner Market and Coyote Fresh Foods), several propane fill-ups (RV Pitstop is perhaps the best), and two laundromats (Main Street Laundromat and Palm Plaza Laundromat) are located in town. The nearest Walmart is in Parker but there’s an Alberton’s in Blythe.
- Generator or Solar – No hookups are available in Quartzsite’s LTVAs. An on-board diesel or stand-alone gas generator works well. But solar is where it’s really at. It’s the desert so there’s plenty of sun to go around. Boondocker’s Bible has an excellent guide to help you figure out how much solar you need for RV boondocking.
- RV Dump Stations – La Posa LTVA has a dump station. Several others are located in town. Third-party “honey wagons” also frequent the area and will empty your tanks for a fee. Or invest in a Blue Boy Portable Waste Tank so you don’t have to move your RV each time your tanks are full.
- Prepare for Weather – Quartzsite is boiling hot in summer. But it still gets quite warm in the winter. Bring a canopy for shade. Winter nights get quite cold, sometimes cold enough to warrant a portable heater. Wind (and the dust that comes along with it) is also common in Quartzsite.
- Leave No Trace – Always follow the Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping in Quartzsite, or anywhere else for that matter. Most importantly, pick up all your trash, properly dispose of human waste, respect stay limits, and avoid any off-limits areas.
The town of Quartzsite’s website has more info on local businesses, services, and things to do in the area. Some of this may be of interest to long-term boondockers (think: public library info and post office mailing info).
Related Post: Best Apps to Find Free Campsites
Enjoy Boondocking in Quartzsite
Quartzsite is one of the best places for winter boondocking in Arizona, especially if you plan to stay for a while.
In addition to La Posa LTVA and the surrounding BLM land, the warm winter weather, friendly townsfolk, and abundant RV-related services beckon boondockers from across the country.
But, for many campers, the highlight of boondocking in Quartzsite is community. The town and surrounding desert come to life in the winter with thousands of the same faces returning year after year again.
Annual events (held largely in January and February) like the Quartzsite RV show, Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (as seen in Academy Award-winning film Nomadland), several major gem and mineral shows, and countless swap meets and flea markets present further opportunities to connect with like-minded folks.
In my opinion, every camper should visit Quartzsite in the winter at least once. But it does get very crowded – and will most likely become increasingly more so over the coming years.
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