BLM Arizona camping is the bomb! When people ask me “What are the pros and cons of living in Phoenix Arizona?” I answer … the camping!
The usual follow up question is “Where can I go camping in Arizona?” I answer … almost anywhere!
We do most of our dispersed camping in National Forests in the summer months … and … enjoy free boondocking on Bureau of Land Management property in the winter.
In This Post:
Camping Near Wickenburg AZ On BLM Land
Within a short drive from the Phoenix metro area, you can find free camping in the most beautiful landscapes you have ever seen!
One of our favorite spots for fall and winter camping is near the Vulture Peak Trail on BLM Arizona camping permitted land just outside of the town of Wickenburg Arizona.
Most full time RVers will tell you the best place for Bureau of Land Management Arizona camping exists in Quartsite (the wildly popular place for long term camping in Arizona) but that is not the only place to get pricked by a cactus while camping in the wilderness in the state of Arizona.
My husband told me to quit telling the world about “OUR” secret public land free camping sites because they won’t be “OUR” personal spots too much longer. LOL 😉
“OUR” Wickenburg spot is a nearby, fast little getaway for us that actually feels like we have the entire Sonoran Desert all to ourselves.
The views go on forever with stunning saguaros, jumping chollas, ocotillos and prickly pears not to mention the kit foxes, geckos and the occasional tarantula.
VIDEO: Free Camping Near Phoenix – Bureau Of Land Management Camping Near Wickenburg
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Where’s The Best Place To Go RV Camping In Arizona During The Winter?
The BLM land near the Vulture Peak Trailhead is the perfect camping location for mild winter camping temperatures.
We have been there during every season but we prefer the months of January and February.
There is a 14-day camping limit on the BLM land so don’t plan on being a super long term visitor.
When you are there, you are truly boondocking so be prepared to be fully self-contained.
There is a vault toilet at the trailhead but there are no other services in the immediate area.
BUT, because these incredible BLM sites are only about 10 miles outside of the town of Wickenburg, you won’t have to go far if you need supplies.
The drawback to this location is that there are not tons of spots and once they are full, you don’t have many options for alternates.
Hence, one of the reasons my husband wants me to quit broadcasting “OUR” secret spots … but this location and the scenery is too good not to share. 😉
Navigating Public Land While Camping
We don’t use a BLM land map of Arizona because we want all of the different public lands on one map as well as the road maps for Arizona and a statewide map of AZ.
If you grab one of these Road And Recreation Guide Atlas guides … you’ll be set to find your way to this location as well as the Arizona State Trust Land that allows camping with the proper permit.
If the BLM camping spots are full, many RVers will set up in the parking lot.
As an alternative, the AZ State Trust land that allows camping is just north of the BLM land off of Vulture Mine Road.
You’ll see signs that permit camping … and … other signs that prohibit it, so it is pretty easy to identify the legal spots.
It is good to have an annual recreation permit from the Arizona State Land Department in your back pocket in case you need to camp out there because your BLM camping location is full.
Cautions When Boondocking In Arizona Deserts
If you stay in the designated camping area and explore the terrain by staying on a trail … you should be fine.
BUT, remember the desert vegetation can be unforgiving. 😵
You would swear the “jumping cholla cactus” really can jump!
Of course, it can’t … but, you want to be extra careful when you are in the desert wilderness … the spines of a cactus can easily attach to your clothing, skin and shoes … and they HURT so take extra precaution around these amazingly beautiful and resilient spiny succulents.
He wanted me to include this picture to discourage people from wanting to camp in “OUR” spot. LOL 🤣
I recommend long sleeves and long pants with heavy hiking boots for protection.
Safety tip: Make sure you “understand” the surroundings before you venture out in the wilderness while boondocking.
Talk to other campers in the area and pay attention to warnings/cautions posted by the governing agency at the BLM camping site as well as their website.
Be ready with tweezers or some other type of tool to remove cactus spines you accidentally encounter.
I actually had to use kitchen tongs to remove this mess from my husband’s soft-soled shoes.
Make sure you bring waaaaay more water than you think you need when you are hiking in the desert.
Check out our Tips For Day Hiking In The Arizona Desert Like A Gila Monster post for more helpful tips and inspiration for desert hiking.
Wickenburg Arizona Elevation And Weather
I am totally serious when I say there are great places to camp throughout the year in Arizona without having to sweat or freeze!
Yes, there really is an elevation for every season for year-round camping in AZ.
The Wickenburg area BLM camping spots are our go-to winter camping destinations.
The elevation is around 2,480 feet above sea level and the winter, spring and fall temperatures are NICE!
Summer gets too hot for us so you probably won’t see us in “OUR” Wickenburg BLM Arizona camping location unless we ran out of gas on our way to the high country! LOL
- JAN 66°F High / 33°F Low
- FEB 69°F High / 36°F Low
- MAR 75°F High / 40°F Low
- APR 83°F High / 44°F Low
- MAY 92°F High / 52°F Low
- JUN 101°F High / 60°F Low
- JUL 105°F High / 70°F Low
- AUG 102°F High / 69°F Low
- SEP 97°F High / 62°F Low
- OCT 86°F High / 49°F Low
- NOV 74°F High / 38°F Low
- DEC 65°F High / 32°F Low
Can I Freely Travel Around The Wilderness In Arizona?
Arizona is filled with wilderness areas just waiting to be explored.
There are rules regarding what you can do and where you can do it.
Determine which regulatory body has jurisdiction over the land you are traveling in … and check the governing agency’s website for details.
For BLM land, get specific information about your BLM camping plans visit by visiting the official U.S. Department Of The Interior Bureau Of Land Management website.
More Free Camping In Arizona
When the temperature gets a bit too warm in the Wickenburg area, we head for a little higher elevation and set up camp near Sedona.
We have been there quite a few times but one of our most favorite visits included a surprise when a hot air balloon landed at our campsite!
Check out the VIDEO of our free camping in Arizona experience in our blog post Best Free RV And Tent Camping Sites Near Sedona Arizona Are On Forest Road FR525.
When people ask me “Where is the best free camping in the US you’ve ever stayed?” I can honestly answer … there are so many places … I really can’t pick a favorite! 😎
What Is The Best State For Dispersed Camping?
You know I might be just a tiny bit biased but I can sincerely say … Arizona is the best state for dispersed camping!
Can you live in a United States forest forever? I could … but I won’t because it is illegal. LOL 😳
If you need a few tips, check out our Camping In National Forests post for more info.
Arizona Camping Like A Local
Arizona state has some of the most beautiful campgrounds, national conservation areas, BLM areas, not to mention the Grand Canyon National Park with the amazingly majestic Colorado River … so when I ask myself where should we go camping … I have to spend a few hours (or days if I am really indecisive 😂) planning our next camping adventure.
We truly don’t run out of places to experience in this magnificent state we happily call “home”.
Cellular Coverage While Boondocking On BLM Land Near Wickenburg AZ
Verizon is our service provider and we have very good coverage when we are camping in our preferred BLM camping spot near the Vulture Peak Trailhead.
The coverage is a little sketchy while driving on certain parts of Vulture Peak Road but the loss of signal is temporary and minimal.
Road Conditions For Route Between Wickenburg, AZ and BLM Arizona Camping Near Vulture Peak Trailhead
When it comes to boondocking locations in Arizona, you can encounter some pretty rough terrain but this BLM Arizona camping location is NOT one of them.
You are on pavement all the way up to the parking lot (where some people actually camp) and the dirt road that leads to the dispersed campsites is not too rough … but, it is narrow enough to prohibit 2-way traffic in some areas.
There is nothing obstructing your views … it is not difficult to see opposing traffic so you can pull off at a wide spot in the road.
Directions To “OUR” Spot BLM Arizona Camping Near Wickenburg AZ
To get to the BLM Arizona camping area nestled near the Vulture Peak Trailhead, from the I-17 and Loop 101 in Phoenix, you should expect a drive of just over an hour. You’ll take the I-17 northbound and transition to AZ-74 (also known as Carefree Highway) until you dead-end at the US-60. From there you take the US-60 northwest bound and you’ll drive through the town of Wickenburg (don’t be scared … you’ll have to do a roundabout but Arizona drivers are getting better at navigating them LOL 😉). You’ll stay on US-60 (here it is called Wickenburg Way) until you get to the stoplight at Vulture Mine Road. There is a Safeway grocery store there so you can stock up on food and drinks if needed. You’ll turn left to head southbound on Vulture Mine Road. Don’t freak out when you pass The Spa at Los Caballeros and the Los Caballeros Golf Club … you really are getting close to the Arizona wilderness … really! Keep going and enjoy the scenery but don’t take your eyes off of the road for too long because it does begin to twist and turn a bit. Eventually you will come up on the Arizona State Trust Land where you will probably see people dispersed camping … keep going just a bit further and you will arrive at Vulture Peak Road where you will turn left into the parking lot (where some people camp in their RVs) and if you continue past the lot, you will enter the area of dispersed campsites … keep going and you’ll hit the Vulture Peak Trailhead.
Here’s a link to the Google Map.
BLM Arizona camping is just one of the ways to explore this big beautiful state!
Get the insider secrets on other destinations for camping in Arizona during every season of the year!