Dispersed Camping on the Coconino National Forest (USDA Forest Service) – Info, rules and maps of all areas where camping is allowed.
I’ve seen conflicting information about whether dispersed camping here requires Recreation Passes and Permits, such as America The Beautiful Annual Pass (including Senior Pass) and the Red Rock Pass (required pretty much anywhere to park for hiking, etc.). I spoke to a ranger at the visitor center and he said no pass or permit is required for dispersed camping at the sites listed below (FR 525, etc.). He added that if an area does not specifically have a sign saying a pass is required, then it does not. He reiterated that there is a 14 day stay limit, that all vehicles must be self contained and no dumping of any kind is allowed.
Current Red Rock District Road Status (USDA Forest Service) – Updated status reports on road conditions and if closed due to weather, etc. Click on road and it shows Google Map images.
Coconino National Forest – Recreation Opportunities Map (lists camping info with size limitations, maximum stay, etc.). Click here for other map options.
FR-525 (Loy Butte Road)
GPS: 34.8462, -111.9132
I drove up SR 89A several times before I finally saw this sign and I only saw it when coming from Sedona toward Cottonwood since it’s on that side of the road.
Campendium.com – A lot of campers remarked on how busy it is out here and how much traffic on Loy Butte Road due to Pink Jeep tours, etc.
FreeCampsites.net – Great, very private, however our first night a couple of men broke into our campsite. Other than that the campsite is beautiful! View of the devils bridge trail/
Sedona Arizona – RV Info (33 and Free – 5/21/16)
Helpful info about experiences boondocking on Loy Butte Road (FR 525). Nice pictures and info on the surrounding area and where to dump, etc.
Boondocking Sedona (Small House Big World – 4/21/16)
There is plenty of free land to settle down on about 15 minutes west of Sedona. Just a few horribly bumpy miles, and you can park with spectacular views of the colorful mountains not far away. The problem is that the road to get to it is very bumpy and a total washboard.
Sedona Boondocking (Watsons Wander – 3/13/13)
So what if we had to drive 8 miles down a dusty, bumpy dirt road to get here. The view alone was worth the layer of red dust that now covers the airstream. We’re perched high up on bluff above the town with views of the famous red rocks. (Also info on hikes)
GPS: 34.8613, -111.9442 – Further up FR 525 (Loy Butte Road)
Campendium.com – Go west on 525, a.k.a. Loy Butte Road, from 89A. Plenty of spots along 525, but continue to the 2nd cattle guard and take a left to get to 525c. Our 31′ 5th wheel had no issue with the roads, nor did we need 4WD. Our spot was secluded, with big views of the cliffs in front of us.
Intersection of Forest Roads 525 and 525C. That’s about 3 miles from the turn onto FR-525 from SR 89A. 525C veers to the left and 525 goes straight, leading to Palatki Heritage Center in about another 5 miles (really interesting ruins of ancient cliff dwellings which I highly recommend). Also, Honanki is about 6 miles from Palatki, and if you’re out here, you shouldn’t miss it either.
The views are really beautiful here, but since I like to get out and about during the day and explore the area, I honestly wouldn’t want to have to drive those roads on a regular basis.
Loy Butte Road (Campendium.com) – We stayed in a larger site on the east side of Loy Butte Road (FR 525). Being somewhat familiar with the area, we came in from Dry Creek Road in Sedona because we knew we wanted to be at the North end of the road. Either way is going to require several miles (4 – 6) of rough road — gravel, dirt, & rocks with several washboard areas and some fairly substantial exposed rocks. It is nothing that cannot be negotiated in a passenger car – or pulling a 38′ fifth wheel – as long as you take it slow and easy (we drove 10 – 15 mph most of the time).
GPS: 34.8136, -111.9007 (on the other side of SR 89A from FR-525 above)
(Photo from Campendium.com)
Off grid camping with great views and cell phone service.
Deer Pass Trailhead
GPS: 34.813444, -111.900406 (Next to Angel Valley above)
Map from USDA Forest Service – North of Cottonwood on 89A, turn right on 89B. Immediately on the right is the Deer Pass Trailhead, apparently a popular place for horse enthusiasts.
FreeCampsites.net – Perfectly situated just South of Sedona, toilets for use and holds a good data connection for smartphones. (My friend and frequent boondocker, Ron Bunge of HitchItch.com, recommended this spot.) On 89A North, go 1.6 mi past N. Page Springs Rd, turn right.
Coconino National Forest Campgrounds – Links to info on Cave Springs, Manzanita and Pine Flat Campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon Recreation Area. Be aware there are hairpin curves between Sedona and Flagstaff on Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive (14.5 miles total). Not long after getting on the road from Sedona, I saw a sign that said nothing over 50 feet allowed 12 miles ahead.
Red Rock Campgrounds Table – Info on 5 campgrounds that accept reservations (Manzanita, Cave Springs, Pine Flat, Chavez Crossing Group Camp and Clear Creek) Coconino Forest Campgrounds do not accept Credit Cards on location (except for Cave Springs Campground). We accept cash and in-state checks only. When making a reservation through Recreation.gov, you may use a credit card.
Links to More Sedona Boondocking Info:
FreeCampsites.net – Sedona boondocking info, including Oak Creek Canyon and nearby Flagstaff.
Schnebly Hill Road – East of Sedona (Free Campsites.net)
The road from Sedona (Schnebly Hill Rd) is a rough, steep mountain road with switch backs. It is wide enough for vehicles to pass each other but not for RVs to travel on. The first mile is paved. The next 6.5 miles are rugged and rough. Do not take this dirt road in wet conditions. High clearance required! During five of those miles, you ascend 1,800 feet to Schnebly Hill Vista. I would feel ok bringing a truck camper or van up this road. Trailers and RVs should come from the I-17 exit.
Boondocking in Sedona (Jack and Jill Travel)
They travel in a Sprinter van, so I don’t know if their info is appropriate for larger RVs, but they have nice photos and info from their experiences.
Overview of Camping and Picknicking Locations in Red Rock Country (Red Rock Country.org)
True Boondocking in Sedona (Shell on Wheels – 3/21/15)
This was our first actual boondocking stay. We had dry camped and overnighted numerous times, but this was our first instance of just setting up camp out in the middle of nowhere. It was fantastic, free, and liberating. We would not be having a typical Sedona visit: no jeep tours or aura readings, just a couple of days in the outdoors alone.
Sedona Boondocking (Aluminarium)
Loy Butte Road is the hot spot to boondock this season. The views are spectacular and its proximity to Sedona and Cottonwood make it a perfect basecamp.