Just an hour drive southwest of Flagstaff is one of the best free campsites in all of Arizona.
Perched high on a mountain edge with many campsites overlooking the cliff, you’ll truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world when you look down at Sedona’s gorgeous red rock formations far below.
Below is my personal experience dispersed camping at the Edge of the World – and what you should know while planning your own trip!
Related Post: Where to Camp for Free Near Sedona
Please always follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, especially packing out all of your trash, including human waste.
Edge of the World is located in Coconino National Forest.
As an unofficial dispersed camping area, it goes by many names. East Pocket is the most common after Edge of the World, but I’ve also heard people call it End of the World and Top of the World.
Sometimes people refer to this area by road names, especially Woody Mountain Road. The best view campsites are off of Forest Road 231 but sometimes people lump this area in with the free campsites off of Forest Road 535 (closer to Highway 89A).
The most important thing to know about camping here is to expect a long, bumpy drive. You must navigate approximately 25 miles of unpaved roads before you arrive at the rim.
Luckily, the road never gets too rough. Any passenger vehicle should be able to make the drive in good weather. That said, high-clearance is helpful in a few spots and 4WD might be nice accessing a few of the campsites.
I’d personally hesitate to drive an RV or trailer all the way to the Edge of the World. However, there are a bunch of fantastic boondocking spots on the drive in.
Related Post: Where to Camp for Free in Arizona
Many of the campsites here are bordered by a 200 foot drop. This area is not recommended for families with young children. Please keep a close eye on all children and pets.
Important Info About Edge of the World
|Price: Free||Max Length Stay: 14 Days|
|Reservations: First-Come, First-Served||Season: Early Spring to Late Fall|
|Usage: Heavy||Elevation: Almost 7,000 Feet|
|RVs: All Sizes on Way In, No RVs or Trailers at Rim||Amenities: None|
|Cell Signal: 1 to 2 Bars for Verizon, AT&T, & T-Mobile||Noise: Little During Week, Moderate on Weekend|
|Safety: Very Safe, Just Watch for Cliffs||Wildlife: Black Bears|
|Best For: Vehicles w/ High-Clearance, Large Groups, Longer Stays||Not Good For: Quick Day Trips to Flagstaff or Sedona|
Dispersed Camping at Edge of the World
The views from Edge of the World are absolutely stunning.
If you’re lucky enough to snag an open campsite for the night, you’re in for mesmerizing views of Sedona’s incredible Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, one of nature’s most magnificent masterpieces, far below.
Composed of deep red buttes, canyons, and cliffs, many first-time visitors even compare it to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. The drive in might seem long, but the views make the 25-mile off-road trek more than worth it.
Depending on the route you take and where you set up camp, the campsites near East Pocket are around an hour from Flagstaff and an hour and a half from Sedona (despite the very close proximity as the crow flies).
Although cliffside campsites are somewhat limited, there’s a ton of room to spread out here and each campsite is quite spacious. You can easily fit several vehicles and several tents in the majority of the campsites, even the ones right on the rim.
Because of the awesome views and relatively easy access, the view campsites do fill up quickly, especially on weekends. Edge of the World is especially popular in the summer as the high elevation means it stays much cooler than Sedona – and way, way cooler than the Phoenix area.
That said, finding a campsite in the surrounding area won’t be a problem. There’s a seemingly unlimited supply of dispersed campsites in this part of the Coconino National Forest. Even if you don’t get a campsite with a view, you’ll find somewhere to set up for the night.
As I mentioned above, don’t try to take an RV or trailer all the way into Edge of the World or East Pocket. However, there are a lot of great boondocking sites earlier on before the road gets narrower and rougher.
Unfortunately, I don’t have exact GPS coordinates for these ideal boondocking campsites, but I believe the spots I saw best suited for larger rigs were just after the intersection of Forest Road 231 and Forest Road 535 (a little ways past a private residence).
Related Post: National Forest Dispersed Camping Guide
Fire restrictions are common here, especially early summer through mid fall. Please follow all current fire restrictions.
Pros and Cons of Dispersed Camping at Edge of the World
Keep in mind these are my personal opinions after staying here, but these are my top pros and cons about dispersed camping at the Edge of the World.
What I Like:
Here’s what I like most about Edge of the World:
- Great Views – The views from the campsites near the rim of the red rock formations near Sedona are absolutely incredible.
- Peaceful Setting – The forest here is quite thick (for Arizona) making the atmosphere very peaceful and serene.
- Lots of Campsites – Even if you don’t nab a campsite on the rim, there’s an almost zero chance you won’t find a great campsite in the area for the night.
- Stays Cooler in Summer – Like Flagstaff, the East Pocket area is much cooler than most of surrounding Arizona, even in the summer.
- Close to Flagstaff – It takes roughly an hour to drive the 25 miles of unpaved roads into Flagstaff.
What I Don’t Like:
Here’s what I don’t really like about Edge of the World:
- Very Popular – Expect crowds on the rim campsites, especially on weekends and holidays.
- Long Drive to Reach – Even though it’s just 25 miles from Flagstaff, nearly all of that is unpaved and minorly washboarded to quite rough, making for a slow drive.
- Long-Term Campers – I don’t believe this is an issue once you go in for a few miles, but the campsites closest to Highway 89A on Forest Road 535 are often filled with people clearly overstaying the maximum camping limit of 14 days.
Black bears are often seen near Flagstaff. Please follow bear safety best practices and properly store your food (ideally in a hard-sided vehicle).
How to Get to Edge of the World
There are a couple of different ways to access Edge of the World.
Google Maps often suggests turning off Highway 89A south of Flagstaff onto Forest Road 535 which eventually connects with Forest Road 231.
Although this route is doable, it’s quite a bit rougher than the alternative, especially the first two or three miles after you turn west off Highway 89A. High-clearance is helpful here.
Instead, I suggest taking Woody Mountain Road which starts just west of Flagstaff off of I-40 before it turns into Forest Road 231.
This route takes a little longer (especially if you’re arriving from Sedona), but Woody Mountain Road is much smoother than Forest Road 535.
Woody Mountain Road is also the best option for RVs and trailers looking for boondocking near the intersection of FR 231 and FR 535.
With that in mind, dispersed camping isn’t allowed for the first several miles along Woody Mountain Road (a sign will let you know when you enter Coconino National Forest), although it is allowed almost immediately after turning onto FR 535 from Highway 89A.
Other Free Campsites Nearby
This part of Coconino National Forest is absolutely filled to the brim with free dispersed campsites.
In addition to the nearly limitless campsites along Forest Road 231, Forest Road 535, and their many spur roads, look north of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest along Forest Road 222, Forest Road 225, and the countless others.
If you want to camp a little closer to Sedona, I like Loy Butte Road, Schnebly Hill Road, and Pumphouse Wash. Keep in mind both Loy Butte Road and Schnebly Hill Road are now designated dispersed camping areas.
Related Post: Guide to Dispersed Camping on Schnebly Hill Road
More Flagstaff Dispersed Camping Info
Edge of the World is part of Coconino National Forest.
Call the Red Rock Ranger District for the most current information: (928) 203-7500
If you still have questions about dispersed camping at Edge of the World, please feel free to shoot me a line!
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