It might sound that everything you can see in Quartzsite is explained in the name, but fields of quartz are far from everything this arid Arizona region has to offer. If you love the backcountry and enjoy camping under endless star-lit skies, these will be some of the best places for boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona.
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There are about two dozen good campsites, and for those who are just here to relax a bit and enjoy the scenery each of those will work just fine. But, there are five that stand out for specific tasks, especially if you are going with an RV:
- Road Runner Campsite
- Hi Jolly Camp
- Dome Rock Mountain
- Kofa Refuge
- La Posa LTVA
As anyone who has ever camped in Arizona knows, the two things you can expect are winds as hot as a blow-dryer and a huge focus on nature preservation. All littering will be met with extreme prejudice, and you don't want to test the zealotry of the local land managers, either federal or private.
Best Places for Boondocking in Quartzsite
Unlike most mountainous regions of Arizona in the east, this part is focused on RVs and trailers. Hiking small distances in the early morning can be fun, but the desert will quickly turn the heat up and anyone without shelter will start having a progressively harder time.
Thankfully, all of the places mentioned here are in general directions of the best places to visit. Here you can sleep and refuel, taking off in the early morning to drive near the best spots and visit them on foot.
In this region, most camps are RV-friendly as well as pet friendly. Also, there are a lot of places just off-road where you can set up camp and enjoy the changing colors of the arid landscape. At night, the sky becomes a milky blanket, which is a sight you can only see in places that are dry and clean.
Road Runner is a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campsite just south of Quartzsite. It's more or less in the middle of the desert, which has both benefits and drawbacks. There are no water and power hookups, but there are few people either.
Generally speaking, if you are looking for a great place to have a BBQ or roast some marshmallows over a fire pit, this is the place for you. Make sure it is a pit because if a spark is blown into any of the bushes you will have a biblical scene in front of you in seconds.
There are a couple of hiking destinations from here, such as the Magic Circle which is less than two miles northeast. But, what you really want to have here is a dirt bike. There are so many awesome gravel roads made by both the wind and other bikers that this is a haven for anyone on two wheels.
Just be aware that the camp host will not always be there, so it is always best to call in advance if you need something or have any questions.
- Not crowded
- Close to town
- No hookups
- Little shade
- A camp host is not always there
Hi Jolly camp is just north of Quartzsite and is nested on a mild slope, making it not as windy as most places. The camp is ideal for RVs because there is more than enough space. Regretfully, because it is so close to town, it also usually has a lot of people.
Additionally, there are no quiet rules so you might see lights and generators working well into the night.
Still, it is a great base for riding dirt bikes and ATVs, and it has a bit more foliage than most spots in the region. Having a BBQ is fine, but you will want to carry a propane grill. There aren’t that many fire hazards nearby, but the ground is hard gravel and you won’t be able to make a pit that easily.
To the northeast, there are also archeological sports that are worth visiting, roughly ten miles either by road or across. This is a road you want to take with the vehicle because the Arizona sun shines here as well.
- Close to town
- Good management
- Often crowded
- Few on the spot amenities
- No good hiking in the vicinity
Dome Rock Mountain Campsite
Named after the mountains surrounding it, the Dome Rock camp is a collection of campsites for different means just west of Quartzsite. It is in a valley between the hilly surroundings that start as you get near the Colorado River.
The terrain is a mixed bag and it comes down to what you are looking for. It is nowhere near as flat as some of the other BLM campsites in the region, but that also makes it a lot less windy and with smaller temperature differences.
Also, there is a lot more shrub and even some trees here, leaving you to have a bit of natural shade if you want to relax during the day.
The price for those benefits is that there are a lot fewer spaces you can reach with your RV. And for motorbikes and ATVs you will need to have a bit more experience to avoid injury.
- Very close to town
- Water, fuel, and power are accessible
- More greenery
- Close hiking trails
- Not that much space
- Can be crowded
- The terrain is harder to traverse
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Kofa refuge is probably one of the nicest places to visit around Quartzsite when it comes to nature and relaxation. And, it is just 30 miles southeast of town. Regretfully, unless you can fly, you won't be able to take a direct route.
There is an option to get to the Palm Canyon, which is the western part of the NWR, and go on foot, or camp there. Or, you can drive all the way around to the east of Yuma county and go upwards. That will be a three-hour drive.
Even if you pick the Quartzsite part of the reserve you will find many trails and perfect camping spots where you will want to stay for the full two weeks that you are allowed.
- Very lush
- Close hiking trails
- Good temperature
- No crowds
- Far from town
- No amenities
La Posa LTVA
La Posa is a campsite that is practically inside Quartzsite. It sprawls across the south side of town taking almost 11,400 acres. The area is flat, accessible, and well maintained.
Unlike most places, La Posa has all of the amenities you might need and even offers local internet access for those who will stay for the full two weeks. That is very good because some providers like AT&T barely cover even Quartzsite proper.
Depending on when you get here, it might get crowded even with all the space. In that case, you will have the option to go further southward, but as you do you will get further than the city, so keep that in mind.
For a full connection, including power, water, waste, and internet, you can expect to be set back around $40. Depending on your usage, this might be worth it even for more nights in a row.
- Almost in town
- All Amenities
- Accessible land
- Town-based entertainment and dining
- Far from any hiking trail
- Can get crowded
- Can be noisy
Quick Guide to Boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona
Camping in Arizona has its particular rules, and that includes camping with an RV or trailer. Rules like taking care of the environment, as well as the fact that you might be entering private or tribal land, are always something to look after.
But, boondocking in Quartzsite has a few other special rules, usually when it comes to the elements. The arid desert is problematic for the unprepared, and the weather can turn on you before you know it.
Prepare for the Arizona Weather
Arizona may not be as dusty as way north in Nevada, but it can be just as dry. That doesn't just mean that you may want to bring in some moisturizer with you, but that the temperature can change depending on the sun.
Take bottles of water, skin moisturizer, as well as something to shield your head during the day and your torso from the cold during the night.
Prepare for the Dry Heat and Dry Cold
During the day it can become really hot in direct sunlight. Not covering your head, even if you are hardy, can bring on heatstroke and you don’t want that in places that are at least an hour away from the nearest assistance.
And at night, you might as well catch a cold. The nights might not be cold compared to winters in the north, but they are freezing compared to the temperature in the same place during the day.
Keep several sets of clothing, for both the cold and the heat, at your disposal.
Also, the fact that it is so dry means that bushfires are a thing. To not make one, if you want to have a campfire, use local wood and always dig a fire pit. You will even be able to find remnants of older fire pits in popular locations, so you can re-dig those.
Use Propane and Solar
Because it is sunny almost any day of the year, solar is a very popular option with RV campers in Arizona. You will collect more than enough during the day for most systems in your RV, of which the AC will be the most important one on most days.
For cooking, it is best to use propane. There is little local wood to collect and because of the aforementioned bush fires, it might not be a good idea at all, especially if it is windy. So, it is better to use propane and don't have to worry.
Manage Your Waste
When it comes to the region around Quartzsite the benefit is that most places will be RV friendly and will have a way for you to dispose of your waste safely and relatively cheaply. But, if you are planning a tour you might be traveling for a few days without stumbling on one.
Because of this, you will want to plan your route in advance. Campsites, where you will be able to hook up, will usually be only small detours so it will not bite too much into your plans, and you will be safer in the fact that you can use your facilities freely.
Take in Lots of Liquids
This general health tip bodes twice in the Arizona sun. The heat and the arid air will such the moisture out of you and you will want to replenish it frequently. Just for drinking, plan on a gallon a day to be on the safe side.
Also, try to abstain from alcohol, at least during the day, because combined with the air and the sun it might make you get drunk faster and suddenly, as well as be at greater risk from heatstroke.
Plan in Advance
In this lifestyle, this is a ground-rule. It is no different when boondocking in Quartzsite compared to any other place where every hour of planning before the trip will save you at least two hours of stressing on the other side.
Planning for supplies, routes, maintenance, and communication will be the key because in most cases it won’t be pleasant to walk to the next gas station. Better to return home with a surplus than to stay stranded and thirsty when you need it.
Ask if Going Off-Road
Most land around Quartzsite is federal, meaning that it is completely okay to get on it and you don’t really need anything more than the camping license to expand your RV anywhere you want.
But, you don’t want to work on this presumption. There are also private and even tribal campsites that can lead to a fine or even vehicle confiscation if you haven’t asked to be there.
If you have an off-road route in mind it is best to check tribal maps and see if you are entering an Indian Nation region or private property. If you are, best call and ask for consent then to have problems later.
Remember the 2-Week Rule
In the entire state, the maximum you can camp in one place is 14 days. On the morning of the 15th day, you will need to move at least 25 miles from the location you were staying. This is not negotiable and you don't want to pay the $4500 fine for breaking the rule.
For those who like dispersed camping and plan to stay in the region for longer, it is best to have a couple of places in line. That way you can always switch to somewhere else if your first location is crowded, or if you have overstayed the 14 days.
Many may argue that boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona is most akin to what people think when you mention the activity. Wide-open spaces, clear skies, and not a lot of people around.
But, there is more than meets the eye in these places, as well as some rules that prospective campers should follow if they want to have the best time. Conservation, hydration, and communication will be the keywords, and it would be in your best interest to follow them.
With a bit of preparation, calling in where you want to stay, and checking to leave everything as clean as it was when you got there will make your experience the best possible.