Best Campsites In Arizona You Should Not Miss
Are you tired of staring at the same four walls every day? Does the thought of camping underneath the desert sky excite you? Whether it’s camping on the shores of a stream or lake, hiking a strenuous trail, or being out in the desert and in the open with nothing but nature surrounding you, Arizona has it all. There are numerous campsites to choose from, each with its own unique aspects. We’re taking a look at what we think are the best 9 campsites.
Table of Contents
9 of the Best Campsites In Arizona
Lost Dutchman State Park
This is the best camping option if you are interested in exploring the Superstition Mountains. Located about 40 miles from Phoenix, this park charges an affordable fees for each entry. There are 134 campsites to choose from, and each has a barbeque grill for camp cooking, a picnic table, and fire pits. 68 of the sites have water and electric outputs. If you have pets then you’d be happy to know that this campsite is dog-friendly. Scattered around the campsite you’ll find shower buildings, restrooms, a gift shop and a dishwashing station. There is a lot of space in all the campsites, enough for several tents and one or two vehicles.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of activities you have at your disposal. There are numerous trails you can follow that lead from the campsite to the Superstition Mountains. The trails also vary in terms of the elevation and the type of scenery. For instance, if you simply want to enjoy the beautiful scenery, without exerting yourself through hiking, then the Treasure Loop trail is your best shot. There are also several biking trails and rock-climbing spots.
Alerts: Visitor facilities closed.
If you love camping near a lake then you’ll enjoy what camp Marshall Lake has to offer. At this campsite, you’ll enjoy wooded hiking trails, a starry night sky, spacious campsites and peaceful natural surroundings. You can find this campsite 9 miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Each of the campsites is spacious and has pine trees surrounding them that provide ample protection from the elements, be it rain or sunshine. If you are looking for privacy, then the trees will provide this too. The roads accessing the campsite are accessible although you’ll have a greater advantage if you have a 4×4 vehicle. There is no entry or camping fee. Although it is cheap, you will have to compromise on the facilities available. The campsites are primitive at best. There are no toilets, picnic tables or drinking water. The lake does have enough water in it during most years, but occasionally it can dry up. Even when it doesn’t exist, it still does make for an interesting campsite. The activities you can enjoy include wildlife watching, picnicking, fishing (occasionally), photography and mountain biking.
Alerts: Visitor facilities closed.
The Mogollon Rim
This is the campsite to choose if you are looking for the best views of the Coconino National Forest. The Mogollon Rim is located 2.5 hours away from Phoenix. The Rim is part of the Colorado Plateau in the eastern part of Arizona. The location is best for overnight car-camping. One of the star attractions of this place is the clear star-gazing the Rim provides. The great expanse of the dense forest makes it a great hiking site too. You can explore and hike during the day, then wait to watch the sunset and later stare at the starry sky.
There are numerous campsites for you to choose from. There are some that are a first-come-first-serve basis, while with others, you will need to make a reservation. Other activities you can enjoy include climbing, fishing, bicycling, horse riding and nature viewing. There are 8 different campgrounds in the Mogollon Rim. Some of the camps have drinking water, picnic tables, vault toilets and a camping tent. You may need to carry your own portable stove. There are a number of trails that vary from easy to strenuous, including Cabin Loop trail, Kinder Crossing trail and Babe Haught trail.
Alerts: Visitor facilities closed.
Pine Grove Campground
You can find Pine Grove about an hour’s drive from Sedona, Arizona. It is a beautiful campsite surrounded by pine trees, lakes and meadows. This particular campsite does not get the credit it deserves. This little-known gem is suitable if you want to enjoy the outdoors without crowds. All the campsites in this area are clean and have a number of camping facilities that are luxurious. There are picnic tables, camping fans, coin-operated showers, first aids, drinking water, cooking grills, fire rings, drinking water, and toilets that flush and are handicap-accessible. As you can see, anything you could possibly need in a campsite you can find at Pine Grove campground. You will also enjoy lots and lots of space.
Pine Grove is the kind of campsite you go to if you want to enjoy the peace and serenity. It is great for meditation and quiet walks along the trail. The campsite sits in a grove of pine trees, complete with a meadow. An hour’s drive away lands you in Sedona which is full of trails for you to hike.
Alerts: visitor facilities closed.
Patagonia Lake State Park
This wide 250-acre part is found 7 miles south of Patagonia and 70 miles southeast of Tucson. If you’re coming in from the north, you’ll begin to enjoy your camping trip long before you arrive thanks to the scenic beauty on the route. You’ll be driving through the countryside with rolling hills and the Santa Rita Mountains in the distance. If you expect to use the park for just a day, you will pay $15. If you intend to camp there overnight, you should expect to part with $25 a night.
Camping fans will love the variety of activities that this park has to offer. It even makes camping with children fun thanks to the different child-friendly activities they can engage in. You can enjoy activities like bird watching, hiking, canoeing, and water skiing. It is important to note that there are not many dedicated trails at this campsite. However, you can enjoy a fun walk around the shoreline of the lake. The campsite offers restrooms, fire pits, gift shop/boat rentals, showers, dump station, and picnic areas.
Alerts: visitor facilities closed.
View Campground Monument Valley
There is no way Monument Valley could be left out of the list. If you haven’t been to this iconic place, you may have already seen it featured in numerous movie scenes like in Mission Impossible 2 with actor Tom Cruise climbing; and Transformers Age of Extinction where the Autobots reunite. These are just but a few examples. The landscape is littered with fragile pinnacles and sand. The valley is not what you would typically associate with the wild west. In fact, when camping here, what you would be getting more is lessons on the Navajo culture. The valley is located on the border of Arizona and Utah.
The site is suitable for camping with children and there are restaurants, hot showers, flushing toilets, internet (but while you’re out trying to connect with nature, who needs it anyway?). The campground is next to the hotel that bears the same name. There are about 30 camping tent sites, and 10 cabins for rent if that’s your preference. The bathhouse is a welcome facility after the cold windy nights in the desert.
Alerts: the campsite is closed
Red Rock Canyon
Located 20 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, the Red Rock campsite sits in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon. The multicolored sandstone surrounds streams and springs.
There are 53 campsites that allow 10 people and two vehicles per site. There are also 6 sites for RVs that allow for one RV and another vehicle. If you are a large group, then you can camp at the large group sites that the camp offers. These sites accommodate 20 people and 8 vehicles. All of the sites are equipped with a picnic table, campfire circles and grills. There are vault toilets, drinking water and trashcans scattered throughout the sites. The different activities you can enjoy at this campsite include biking, climbing, hunting, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Elk sighting is one of the attractions of Red Rock, so ensure you have a pair of binoculars on you. The rocks feature no safety guard or rails so you’ll need to exercise caution.
Alerts: The campsite is closed
If you enjoy the activities that large campsites offer, but can do without the large crowds then you’ll enjoy this quiet and quaint campsite. The campsite sits 7500 feet high. Located in north-central Arizona, in a town called Heber is the Spillway Campground which sits on the shores of Woods Canyon Lake. Surrounded by pine trees, the site has 26 individual campsites and one group site capable of accommodating up to 25 people. If you prefer small and less-crowded campsites then this should be one of your considerations. During the summer, the lake is full of trout and makes for a good spot if you like fishing. The cool, clear waters are also suitable for canoeing and swimming.
The camp is elevated and can get pretty chilly depending on the time of the year. You will need to book a spot early. Privacy is a non-issue thanks to the tall trees separating each campsite. The sites are equipped with picnic tables, charcoal grills, fire pits, water hydrants and vault restrooms. Carry enough supplies and ensure you have first aids as well. The campsite is ideal for anglers, photographers, hikers, families and boaters. Other camping supplies such as camping shovels are easily available at the Woods Canyon Store.
Alerts: the campsite is closed.
Gilbert Ray Campground
This is the kind of campsite that will give you the feeling of being surrounded by the wilderness although you’re only a short drive away from Tucson’s main attractions. Located in Tucson, the campground is surrounded by mountain ranges to the west and plains to the east. In as much as you are surrounded by prickly cactus and saguaros, the camp has water and electricity. The short drive from Tucson’s main attractions makes it ideal for a quick weekend getaway. The campground is situated far from roads, thus adding to the serene environment. The best activity you can enjoy here is hiking.
There are 135 campsites, adequately spaced from each other, and 130 of these have electricity hookups. For the other 5, it may be a good idea to carry a portable charger. The sites do have a picnic table, modern flushable toilets, drinking water, and an RV dump station. There are no showers at this campsite. So, you may need a portable shower to freshen up and get clean while during your stay there. Charcoal fires are permitted, but limited to grills. You can use your camping shovels to put out any accidental fires you may start.
Some of the activities you can enjoy at the campsite include horseback riding, archery, hiking, photography, stargazing, and mountain biking. You can also view wildlife found in the area. If you need a break or need to dash into the city for supplies, Tucson is a mere 13 miles away.
Camping is a great way to unwind and take a break from the daily hustle and bustle of city life. Just being out in the open air with nothing but wilderness around you is certainly freeing. You can experience the beauty that these campsites have to offer alone, or you could choose to go as a group. Visit the official websites for the different campsites for a better understanding of the kind of experience you will have at each one. The bottom line is to carry your sense of adventure with you and have fun!
Following the directives from the CDC in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the campsites have been temporarily closed until further notice.