The Best Free Dispersed Campsites in Arizona

Arizona is bursting at the seams with free campsites.

Around 42% of the state is covered by public lands like national forests and BLM land, the vast majority of which is open to dispersed camping and boondocking.

Here are 11 of my personal favorites (each with nearby alternatives) to help you plan your next trip.

Quick Overview

Here are the free dispersed campsites I cover below:

Click on the one you want to know more about to jump down for more info or browse them all on our Arizona dispersed camping map.

Please always follow the Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, especially packing out all of your trash, including human waste.

My Favorite Dispersed Campsites in Arizona

Here’s what makes each of my favorite dispersed campsites in Arizona so special, along with GPS coordinates, official motor vehicle use maps, and links to relevant YouTube videos as well as nearby alternatives for each.

Schnebly Hill Road

A campsite near Schnebly Hill Vista Overlook.

Schnebly Hill Road (Forest Road 131) is my absolute favorite place to camp near Sedona.

Although it looks quicker on a map, absolutely don’t try to access these campsites directly from Sedona, unless you have a 4WD vehicle with high-clearance. Instead, take the long way around to I-17 and arrive from the east to avoid the roughest parts of the road.

RVs and trailers should set up camp within the first mile or two west of I-17. Even the biggest rigs can fit here. After a mile and a half or so, the road gets substantially rougher. You don’t necessarily need 4WD, but high-clearance is very helpful.

You’ll reach Schnebly Hill Vista after about six miles. The campsites at the overlook have absolutely incredible red rock views, but are smaller, less level, and much more exposed to the elements. I personally prefer camping a mile or two before the lookout where it’s more wooded for the shade.

Important Tip: Camping isn’t allowed from Schnebly Hill Overlook west to Sedona.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Loy Butte Road (Forest Road 525) is the closest place to Sedona for free camping (although it’s now designated dispersed).

See on YouTube:Schnebly Hill Road Sedona Overlanding Part 1” by MERICA MARK

My Full Review: Dispersed Camping on Schnebly Hill Road

More Info:

Schnebly Hill Road is part of Coconino National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Red Rock Ranger District for more info: (928) 282-4199

Official Map: South Coconino National Forest MVUM

GPS: 34.891306, -111.677000

Related Post: All Of My Favorite Dispersed Campsites Near Sedona

Edge of the World

Dispersed campsite looking out from Edge of the World.

It’s hard to think of a more scenic place to camp in Arizona, free or paid, than Edge of the World.

Although this little slice of heaven isn’t far from Flagstaff or Sedona as the crow flies, getting here requires navigating almost 25 miles of slow, rough, and windy dirt and gravel roads.

I’ve seen low-clearance vehicles make the drive (high-clearance is helpful), but I definitely don’t suggest driving all the way to the mountain rim in an RV or trailer. Those in such rigs should stick to the first 10 or so miles (along Forest Road 535) before the road gets narrower and rougher.

Once you reach Edge of the World itself (off of Forest Road 231), you’ll find several spacious campsites – many with fantastic views of the beautiful Red Rock Wilderness far below.

Important Tip: Edge of the World is sometimes called East Pocket, End of the World, and Top of the World among other names.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: You’ll pass by dispersed campsites almost the entire drive in to Edge of the World, including boondocking spots for rigs of all sizes.

See on YouTube:Edge of the World Camping in Northern Arizona Hidden Gem” by MERICA MARK

My Full Review: Dispersed Camping at Edge of the World

More Info:

Edge of the World is part of Coconino National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Flagstaff Ranger District for more info: (928) 526-0866

Official Map: North Coconino National Forest MVUM

GPS: 34.985917, -111.826639

Coconino Rim Road

Looking down Highway 64 towards Red Butte Mountain and the Grand Canyon.

Coconino Rim Road (Forest Road 310) is my go-to spot for free camping near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Most of the campsites are spacious and flat, although the access roads are often quite rough. I’ve seen plenty of RVs and trailers here, but it’s best to take things slow (and maybe even scout ahead) if you’re in a larger rig.

The easiest way to get to these campsites is via the South Entrance to the national park. Continue along the Desert View portion of Highway 64 for about 15 miles until you reach the turnoff for Coconino Rim Road.

The campsites nearest Highway 64 fill up quickly during the peak months. However, there are hundreds of additional spots on various spur roads, such as Forest Road 307.

Important Tip: Make sure to continue down Coconino Rim Road until you pass the sign for Kaibab National Forest (just pass the first cattle guard). Make sure you’re out of the national park before setting up camp.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Long Jim Loop Road is another great spot for dispersed camping near the South Rim. It’s also in Kaibab National Forest just outside of Tusayan.

See on YouTube:Free Camping in the Grand Canyon – Coconino Rim Road” by Grumpy’s Diy

More Info:

Coconino Rim Road is part of Kaibab National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Tusayan Ranger District for more info: (928) 635-2443

Official Map: Tusayan Ranger District MVUM

GPS: 35.961944, -111.963250

Related Post: All of My Favorite Dispersed Campsites Near Grand Canyon National Park

Saddle Mountain Overlook

Looking down into the Grand Canyon from Marble Viewpoint.

Image Attribution: “Trails – Marble Viewpoint 2013” by Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, CC BY 2.0

Saddle Mountain Overlook is another spot for free camping with absolutely amazing views.

These campsites are located on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Get here by turning off Highway 67 onto Forest Road 610 near the North Rim Country Store about 6 miles before the national park’s North Entrance.

The campsites with Grand Canyon views are about 14 miles down this gravel road. However, you’ll pass dispersed campsites the entire way in. Expect moderate washboarding, although the road is usually passable to pretty much all passenger vehicles.

The campsites near the overlook itself are quite tight without much room to turn around. I don’t recommend camping here in an RV or trailer. Instead, boondockers should find a campsite within the first few miles after turning off Highway 67.

Important Tip: There are only a handful of campsites with views. But, don’t worry! It’s very easy to hike to various lookout points, even if you do have to camp away from the rim.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: This part of Kaibab National Forest has nearly unlimited dispersed camping opportunities. But check out the area around Marble Viewpoint for more campsites with Grand Canyon views.

See on YouTube:Free Camping on the Grand Canyon North Rim” by One AdVANture At A Time

More Info:

Saddle Mountain Overlook is part of Kaibab National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the North Kaibab Ranger District for more info: (928) 660-2443

Official Map: North Kaibab Ranger District MVUM

GPS: 36.302472, -111.995111

Forest Road 9350

Dispersed campsite on Forest Road 9350 overlooking the Mogollon Rim.

Forest Road 9350 is my favorite spot for dispersed camping on the Mogollon Rim.

Located about 30 miles east of Payson just off of Rim Road (Forest Road 300), many of the campsites here look over the rim itself with expansive views of the forest thousands of feet below.

Rim Road is well-maintained gravel and is easily passable in RVs and trailers of all sizes. Forest Road 9350 is quite a bit rougher, but rigs up to 30 feet should be able to make it work if you find an open campsite within the first mile or so before the road gets rougher and rockier.

My favorite thing about camping here is actually the elevation. At roughly 7,500 feet, these campsites stay fairly cool during even the hottest summer months, especially compared to Phoenix.

Important Tip: You’re now restricted to about 40 designated dispersed campsites only along Forest Road 9350.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: FR 169 Campground, FR 195 Campground, and FR 171 Campground are other designated dispersed camping areas nearby. Young Road (Highway 288) is an excellent place to find true dispersed camping if all the designated campsites are full.

See on YouTube:RV Living at Forest Road 9350 Campground” by AB Roadrunners

My Full Review: Designated Dispersed Camping on FR 9350

More Info:

Forest Road 9350 is part of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Designated dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Black Mesa Ranger District for more info: (928) 535-7300

Official Map: FR 9350 Campground Map (USFS)

GPS: 34.339602, -110.982761

Peralta Canyon

View from trail in the Superstition Wilderness.

Just a half hour east of the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler, Gilbert, and Mesa, the dispersed campsites in Peralta Canyon boast unbeatable views of the nearby Superstition Mountains and surrounding desert scenery.

The unpaved access road is bumpy but not terribly rough. It’s passable by all vehicles, including large RVs and trailers. Big rigs should take it slow though, especially through the dry washes.

Many of the campsites here are little more than roadside pull-offs. However, more secluded campsites can be found down the various side roads. Just know these side roads are typically narrower and rougher than Peralta Road.

You pass through the small community of Gold Canyon to reach these campsites. Make sure you’re out of the neighborhood area (and past the Arizona State Trust Land sign) before setting up camp.

Important Tip: The dispersed campsites along Peralta Road are on Arizona State Trust Land. A recreational permit ($15 for individuals, $20 for families for a yearly pass) is required to camp here – and is strictly enforced.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Hewitt Canyon Road, about a half hour east (GPS: 33.312041, -111.239800), is another good spot for dispersed camping nearby.

See on YouTube:Arizona State Trust Land Camping | Peralta Road” by LivingOurDreamNow

More Info:

Peralta Road is on Arizona State Trust Land.

Designated dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time (free with a $15 to $20 recreational permit).

Call the Arizona State Land Department for more info: (602) 542-4631

Additional Resource: Camping on Arizona State Trust Lands (Boondocker’s Bible)

GPS: 33.363639, -111.388611

Palm Canyon Road

Landscape in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near King Road.

Image Attribution: “King Road area, Kofa Wildlife Refuge” by dedhed1950, CC BY-SA 2.0

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is my favorite place for boondocking near Quartzsite (even though there are options closer to town).

Although there’s a ton of room to spread out across the sprawling wildlife refuge (it covers more than 665,000 acres of desert and mountains), I most prefer the dispersed campsites along the beautiful Palm Canyon Road.

This dirt road is well-maintained, but expect minor washboarding. Boondocking spots are numerous, but I recommend big rigs stick to the campsites closest to Highway 95 as the road does get much rougher the closer you get to the mountains.

The best thing about camping here is the solitude. Even during the busier winter months, it’s easy to find something private without crowds, especially if you have 4WD with high-clearance.

Important Tip: Cholla is abundant, so keep a close eye on your dogs.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: King Valley Road and Crystal Hill Road (both also in Kofa Wildlife Refuge) have great dispersed campsites, including some that are RV friendly.

See on YouTube:Is Kofa Wildlife Refuge Really as Amazing as People Claim?” by AZ Overland

More Info:

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call Kofa National Wildlife Refuge for more info: (928) 783-7861

Official Map: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge Public Use Brochure

GPS: 33.357639, -114.131222

Pinery Canyon Road

Road running through Chiricahua National Monument.

Image Attribution: “Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona (36)” by Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0

Stop by Pinery Canyon for some excellent dispersed camping next time you’re in Southeastern Arizona.

Just 45 minutes away from Wilcox and right on the edge of the fabulous geologic wonders of Chiricahua National Monument, the best campsites here are located right on the edge of a small stream about 5 miles after turning onto Pinery Canyon Road from Highway 181.

Rigs of all sizes are doable here. The first several campsites (including a large dirt “parking lot”) are the best for large RVs and trailers and the access road is well-maintained up to this point. I personally wouldn’t venture in much farther than about 7 miles in an RV or trailer.

This part of Arizona is comparatively under-the-radar, but quite unique. In addition to world-class birding and amazing stargazing, I recommend checking out nearby Cave Creek Canyon.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Excellent dispersed campsites are found throughout Coronado National Forest, including in the surrounding Chiricahua Mountains.

See on YouTube: Camping in Pinery Canyon Arizona” by Broken Arrow Farm

More Info:

Pinery Canyon Road is part of Coronado National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Douglas Ranger District for more info: (520) 388-8436

Official Map: Douglas Ranger District MVUM

GPS: 31.969806, -109.318694

Craggy Wash

Landscape near Lake Havasu City.

Craggy Wash is one of the most popular places for dispersed camping near Lake Havasu.

Although it’s just 10 miles north of Lake Havasu City and 12 miles south of I-40 (and just one mile from a Walmart), this is still a surprisingly pleasant place to stop for a few nights despite the sometimes rowdy crowds.

The dirt access road is a bit bumpy, but doable in all vehicles. That said, RVs and trailers are better off boondocking in the spots within the first mile or two after the turn-off from Highway 95 as the road does get rougher and sandier the farther in you drive.

You won’t exactly find any solitude here, but those with high-clearance, 4WD, and a willingness to explore can find a bit of privacy by exploring the various side roads and driving in as far as these roads allow.

Important Tip: In addition to road noise from the highway, you’ll likely hear gunshots (from target shooting) and noise from OHV riding in the distance

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Lone Tree, also on BLM land, is located just off Highway 95 about 4 miles north of the turnoff for Grassy Wash.

See on YouTube: Craggy Wash, Dispersed Camping, Lake Havasu Arizona” by Lorries Way

More Info:

Craggy Wash is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Lake Havasu Field Office for more info: (928) 505-1200

Official Map: Lake Havasu Field Office Visitor Map

GPS: 34.592583, -114.348528

Badger Creek Overlook

View of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.

Image Attribution: “Vermillion Cliffs NM” by Bureau of Land Management, CC BY 2.0

Stunning views are the name of the game when you camp at Badger Creek Overlook near Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.

Just 15 minutes south of the small community of Marble Canyon, these dispersed campsites are located on BLM land just off Highway 89A. The best campsites overlook the Colorado River (near the start of the Grand Canyon), but every campsite has amazing views of the Vermillion Cliffs in the distance.

For such a beautiful and easily accessible area, it’s surprisingly uncrowded here. The overlook (a small turnaround area) is busy with daytime visitors, but not many stick around to camp overnight, at least in my experience.

Several of the spots are big enough for RVs and trailers. The catch is a limited amount of room to turn around at the end of the road if all the campsites are taken. The dirt access road itself usually isn’t terribly rough, aside from minor washboarding.

Important Tip: Snakes, tarantulas, and other critters are common here – so watch your step and keep dogs close. There’s also no shade and it gets very hot. Make sure to bring shade of your own.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: Stateline Campground is another great place to camp for free near the Vermillion Cliffs. It’s a developed BLM campground (so no dispersed camping), but it’s free!

See on YouTube:Badger Canyon Overlook Camping AZ Hwy 89 – June 2016” by Ham Radio K7CAR

More Info:

Badger Creek Overlook is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Arizona Strip Field Office for more info: (435) 688-3200

Official Map: Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Map

GPS: 36.776528, -111.660083

Harshaw Road

State Route 82 between Nogales and Patagonia (near the turnoff) for Harshaw Road.

Image Attribution: “S.R. 82 Between Nogales and Patagonia, Arizona (4)” by Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0

Harshaw Road (also called Harshaw Creek Road) is a little over an hour south of Tucson and just 15 minutes from Patagonia.

The paved road (yes, paved!) follows Harshaw Creek through a gorgeous sycamore-shaded canyon until it crosses over into Coronado National Forest. Make sure you’re actually in the national forest before setting up camp.

The first dozen or so campsites you’ll see (coming from Patagonia) are large and fairly level. These are the best for RVs and trailers, including big rigs. After about roughly 7 miles, the road turns to gravel, but is occasionally maintained and usually in good condition.

Despite heavy daytime traffic from other recreationalists, work vehicles driving to and from the area’s still active mines, and occasional border patrol vehicles, things slow down at night. Expect plenty of peace and quiet once it gets dark.

Other Free Campsites Nearby: San Rafael Valley Road is another good spot for dispersed camping in Coronado National Forest near Patagonia.

See on YouTube:Boondocking – Harshaw Road in Patagonia, Arizona – Coronado National Forest” by Drivin’ and Vibin’

More Info:

Harshaw Road is part of Coronado National Forest.

Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 14 days at a time.

Call the Sierra Vista Ranger District for more info: (520) 378-0311

Official Map: Sierra Vista Ranger District MVUM

GPS: 31.506472, -110.677778

How to Find Even More Free Campsites in Arizona

Person stretching in front of red rock formations near Sedona.

Not satisfied with the campsites on my list? Luckily, Arizona has hundreds of other dispersed campsites. Here’s how to find even more:

  • Apps – and iOverlander are my favorite apps/websites to find potential dispersed campsites. Many of their recommended campsites come with user-generated reviews and photos.
  • Online Maps – I use satellite view on Google Maps to find potential dispersed campsites. Then I like to use Gaia GPS or FreeRoam to turn on public land overlays for national forest and BLM land to make sure these campsites are actually legal before heading out to find them.
  • Motor Vehicle Use Maps – Pick up paper USFS and BLM motor vehicle use maps (MVUMs) in ranger stations to identify roads with potential dispersed camping opportunities. These are often given away for free. Avenza Maps provides a digital solution to MVUMs.

Yet another option – that I personally only use in a pinch – is camping in store parking lots, like Walmart or Cracker Barrel.

Related Post: The Best Apps for Finding Free Campsites

Let Me Know If You Have Any Questions

Still have questions about finding free campsites in Arizona?

Consult our guides to dispersed camping in national forests and on BLM land first – but feel free to reach out in the comments below if you’re still left without an answer.

I’m always happy to provide additional advice and more recommendations!

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Post written by Jake Heller, the founder of Campnado. Read all Jake's posts. Or reach out to him directly:

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