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12 Tucson Boondocking & Tucson Free Camping for Rodeo Week

Experience a day at the Tucson Rodeo

Choose one of the Tucson boondocking areas to be home-base, so you don’t miss out on this week-long event, February 19-27, 2022, celebrating 97 years of rodeo. Plan your trip to take in one of the top 25 professional rodeos in the country. The Tucson Rodeo Grounds have hosted “La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros” since 1925. Six shows featuring top cowboys and cowgirls put their talents to the test, and local kids compete in the Justin Junior Rodeo Exhibition and RAM Mutton Bustin’.

Jump to Why Tucson Is Definitely Worth A Look-See
Jump to What to Know About Tucson Free Camping Sites
Jump to 5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Tucson
Jump to 5 Tucson Restaurants You Can Sidle Up To
Jump to 12 Tucson Boondocking Areas

On February 24, 2022, the Tucson Rodeo Parade is held. It attracts more than 200,000 spectators annually which is why we suggest you pick out your Tucson free RV camping spot well in advance. The parade is described as the “World’s Longest Non-Motorized Event,” The 2.5-mile parade route has horse-drawn coaches, riders wearing full regalia, folk dancers, and marching bands.

Open from January through early April, the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum also offers tours of its collection of vintage wagons, carriages, and buggies. Check out the images taken by renowned Cowboy Hall of Fame photographer Louise Serpa, who documented more than 50 years of rodeo history.

Tucson boondocking - Tucson Rodeo Week

Spending some time in Tucson is worthwhile because there are numerous gorgeous mountains, mouthwatering Mexican food, and enormous Saguaro cactus to appreciate. Tucson, located in the Sonoran Desert, provides a contemporary view of the old west. Visitors will find enough to do in the city, which is home to numerous museums and historic monuments. Your Tucson free camping locations gets you close to hiking trails, golf courses, and some of the most unusual flora and animals in the world.

Tucson will take you outside with its stunning desert environment and more than 300 days of sunshine annually. That’s where we come in. Check out the 12 Tucson boondocking areas for Rodeo Week. These are well placed areas that will allow you access to all there is to see and do while visiting Tucson all year and especially during Tucson Rodeo Week.

Why Tucson Is Definitely Worth A Look-See

1. To start with, there are still Authentic Cowboys here. Tucson residents are extremely proud of their vaquero heritage. Every February, La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros honors the American bronc-buster in all its splendor with a week of rodeo and the greatest non-motorized parade in the nation, so get in your saddles!

2. Tucson is the coolest place to travel on two wheels. The Old Pueblo has pedal power down pat thanks to events like the bi-annual Ciclovia, which dedicates many miles of public streets to bicycle and pedestrian usage, the 107-mile “El Tour de Tucson” ride in November, and Outside Magazine’s designation of Tucson as the country’s “Best Bike Town”.

3. Do You Want Sun? We have it. Summer, Spring, and Fall are the only real seasons in Tucson. Every year, we essentially skip Winter (what everyone else refers to as “winter” we refer to as “sweater weather”) and jump right into spring. Think of all the Tucson boondocking you can enjoy year round. You’ll never have to endure the notion of shoveling snow again because there are more than 350 days of sunshine per year.

4. However, when it rains, it pours. Since we only receive six inches of rain on average per year, you can count on seeing a few hippies dancing in the flooded streets when it does start to rain. The Sonoran Desert was not designed to survive any weather other than the hot and dry. The positive, of course, is that because there is so little rain, most residents have grown to cherish our annual monsoon shower. The monsoon season in Arizona typically lasts from June through September. The National Weather Service has set the fixed dates as being from June 15th to September 30th. The wettest month is typically August, with 2.4 inches of precipitation.

5. An Alpine Forest Is Accessible by Bike from Tucson. Okay, so perhaps an hour’s trip from Tucson up Mount Lemmon isn’t exactly what the average person would consider “riding distance,” but you’re likely to see a lot of dedicated bikers along the way. The most exciting aspect of this drive? Mount Lemmon becomes South Arizona’s own tiny bit of Colorado due to the height variation.

6. Tucson Residents Are Pros When It Comes To Throwing A Party. There is always something entertaining going on in this oasis in the desert, between the weekly ‘Heirloom Farmer’s Markets’ at St. Philip’s Plaza and the monthly ‘Second Saturday’ activities downtown. Favorites include the ‘Tucson Meet Yourself’ cultural event (locals call it ‘Tucson Eat Yourself’) and the ‘All Souls Procession’, a huge parade that ends with fire and live music show. It’s inspired by the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos.

7. Tucson Boondocking Has Been Around for More Than 4,000 Years. Tucson is arguably the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. Although the Santa Cruz and Rillito Rivers have long since dried up where the Hohokam Indians first resided, remnants of their presence can still be seen around the town in the shape of pottery shards and crumbling adobe pit homes. That is most likely why the Arizona State Museum has the biggest collection of Southwestern pottery in the entire globe.

8. Centuries-old Culture. Take a look back at Tucson’s past to observe how the Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo cultures have come together in the city today.
★ The area around the Mission at San Xavier del Bac has gone through several changes, from New Spain through Mexico to Arizona.
★ Explore the ruins of the San Agustin del Tucson Presidio, which served as the foundation for the City of Tucson, which was founded in 1775.
★ One of Tucson’s original neighborhoods, Barrio Viejo, is a beautiful collection of adobes.
★ The world’s longest non-motorized procession and horse and cattle competitions are featured at the rodeo every February.
★ To remember and commemorate love and loss, the All Souls Procession, which takes place in November, brings together cultural customs like Dia de Los Muertos.

9. Tucson Is Spiritual AND Spirited. Few people are aware of Tucson’s eerie past, despite the fact that tourists from all over the world travel to Southern Arizona to visit the San Xavier Mission or consult a local shaman for spiritual guidance. Visit the Historic Hotel Congress and stay in a haunted room, or search for La Llorona (the crying woman) by the dry Santa Cruz River. But be careful, it’s rumored that seeing her is a bad omen.

10. We Really Do Mean It When We Say “WILDlife”. Did you know that in addition to the usual creepy-crawlies like tarantulas, rattlesnakes, and scorpions that inhabit the desert southwest, there are also herds of deer, javelina, mountain lions, and even a few jaguars there? While hiking or using one of our Tucson boondocking sites, be watchful and be safe. Since the region has the greatest variety of bird species outside of the Amazon rainforest, Tucson is also a popular destination for bird enthusiasts.

11. Tucson Is A Rock Climber’s Dream Come True. It’s not difficult to understand why adrenaline junkies and outdoorsy types frequently find their way here given Rocks and Ropes’ reputation as a world-class climbing gym and the fact that the desert is literally made up of thousands of rocks and sheer cliff sides. All levels of hikers, boulderers, climbers, and slackliners can have a good time pretty much anyplace inside or around the city. Remember to rest often back at your Tucson boondocking areas because of the heat. Don’t forget to hydrate.

12. Our Desert Is Almost Ridiculously Beautiful. There are few Tucson boondocking locations more beautiful than the Sonoran Desert when the water is running at Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon and the wildflowers are flowering in Saguaro National Park. The beautiful skies and calm, chilly evenings make for perfect campfire clichés at any of the great Tucson free RV camping grounds.

13. Sunsets In Tucson Are Easily The Best. There is nothing quite like twilight reflecting off the Santa Catalina Mountains—it is the epitome of “purple mountain’s majesty,” yet perhaps you have to see it to believe it. What better way than being outside sitting around your campfire with friends at your Tucson boondocking campsite.

What to Know About Tucson Free Camping Sites

Visit the second-largest city in Arizona, a year-round outdoor playground. In Tucson, you can choose to be social or alone depending on your choice of Tucson boondocking sites. The University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, and the bustling downtown are all located in the city’s central business district. To find unlimited outside space, venture outside in any direction from the interior. Tucson is renowned as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy for its cuisine and culture, both of which can be found anywhere in the city.

Outdoors

Tucson has more than 350 days of sunshine a year, and locals enjoy taking advantage of it. On hot summer days, travelers swarm to the Sky Island of Mount Lemmon, where temperatures are milder and pine trees provide a respite from the Sonoran Desert. Tucson boondocking areas are strategically near hiking trails that lead to drinking holes filled with monsoon rain become increasingly popular. Tumamoc, which is nearer the city, has miles and miles of views. The Loop, a more than 130-mile-long paved multipurpose track for cyclists, equestrian riders, and power walkers, surrounds it all.

National Saguaro Park
Giant saguaros can be seen in their natural habitat in Tucson’s Saguaro National Park, which also offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and scenic drives. More than 91,000 acres of Saguaro National Park can be explored, and it spans both the east and west sides of the city. Tucson boondocking areas can be found near by.

Sabino Canyon
Looking for a location with both simple and difficult hiking trails? This is the location. Sabino Canyon, located on the northeastern outskirts of Tucson, offers a range of topography, including miles of untamed land to explore or a paved trail for a lighter choice all with Tucson boondocking areas found near by.

Madera Canyon
With its milder climate, vast path networks, and mountainous scenery, Madera Canyon is a popular destination for both birds and human snowbirds.

Catalina State Park
At Catalina State Park, you can bring your horse, bike, or just your hiking boots and be sure to have a fantastic day. This area of Tucson boondocking, which is less than 20 miles north of Tucson, is full of fantastic trails, from simple loops to unmaintained challenging routes.

5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Tucson

1. Rattlesnake Bridge
Broadway & Euclid

Rattlesnake Bridge - Tucson Free RV Camping

In Tucson, a large metal snake assists travelers as they cross a busy road. The Diamondback Bridge, which was built in the astonishingly exact shape of a large rattlesnake, may be the most significant of these projects in Tucson, Arizona, a city that is dedicated to public art.

The bridge, which was built in 2002, was created by a local artist who wanted to include the local wildlife in his city project. Although abstract, the bridge is fairly biologically accurate. The bridge’s entry is designed like a snake’s gaping maw on one end, with the long teeth serving as support beams beneath menacing reptilian eyes. The body of the snake, which is painted in the precise colors and gradient of a real rattlesnake, is formed by a metal mesh that covers the bridge itself. A 30-foot-tall monument in the form of a tail rattle emerges from the opposite end of the snake; it is also constructed and painted in a manner that is consistent with biological reality. Finally, if you walk precisely at the proper spot when leaving the bridge, you’ll hear a loud and jarring “goodbye” rattle from hidden speakers (as if this particular serpentine lily needed any further gilding).

2. Colossal Cave
16721 E Old Spanish Trail
29mi SE of Tucson (via I-10 E)

Colossal Cave - Tucson Free RV Camping

According to legend, train thieves hid their loot in the depths of this peculiar cave. What is thought to be the biggest known dry cave in the United States is located not far from Vail, Arizona. Its geology and human history are equally fascinating. In Colossal Cave, the mummified remains of two Hohokam people were found. It has reportedly been used as a hideout by railway robbers at least once, who are said to have hidden gold beneath its depths, according to local mythology and historical records.

Colossal Cave stretches around 600 feet into the mountain, so it would have also formed a wonderful hiding place. Because the water supply is no longer active and the cave’s geological features aren’t growing, it is referred to as a dry or dead cave. The cave’s geological formations are highly remarkable, yet some have historically been harmed by relic hunters. The internal temperature, which stays at a virtually constant 71 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, makes it quite comfortable as well. Colossal Cave is quite a fascinating location to see and tour because it is “frozen in time” and no longer inhabited.

3. Hotel Congress
311 East Congress Street

Hotel Congress - Tucson boondocking

Have a stay at the Congress Hotel in Tucson, Arizona. Just be aware of two things: one, it’s beautiful and historically significant; and second, you might become engrossed in a recreation of John Dillinger’s capture. This historic hotel, constructed in 1919, has a design and feel that are reminiscent of the most affluent aspects of the Jazz Age. The upscale hotel even had a posh appearance when it was first built on the newly paved Congress Street, where it is still located today. Naturally, with of this magnificence in the otherwise growing town managed to draw some notable patrons, including some of dubious reputation. the gang led by John Dillinger.

On the evening of January 22, 1934, they were there when a fire broke out in the establishment. The criminals fled the building in a bid for their life, leaving behind baggage holding their weapons and thousands of dollars in cash. They attempted to maintain their cover by paying off a few local firemen to return for the bags because they had checked in using false identities. However, the firefighters were able to identify the miscreants, and the Tucson Police Department quickly apprehended them.

4. Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
4455 East Camp Lowell Drive

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures - Tucson Free Camping

Miniature artwork with a big narrative to tell. By examining each special miniature work of art, visitors to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures are taken across space, time, and imagination. The unique stories told by each figurine and miniature scene inspire visitors of all ages to engage their imaginations. The museum offers a sensory, interactive experience that includes encounters with magical creatures as well as glimmers of history and culture.

275 dollhouses, room boxes, relics, and figurines are permanently housed in the museum and are on display in three captivating exhibits: the Enchanted Realm, History and Antique Gallery, and Exploring the World. The Enchanted Realm transports the viewer to an imaginative setting where witches, forest creatures, snow towns, fairy castles, and other ethereal items all have their own special and fascinating tales to tell. The History Gallery offers viewers brief peeks into history by representing various historical eras. It also demonstrates the evolution of craftsmanship and technique. The oldest tiny house in the country, built in 1775, is part of this exhibition. A variety of nations are represented in the Exploring the World exhibition, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Thailand, and Spain. The museum puts together transient exhibits at various points during the year that highlight particular historical moments, renowned miniature painters, or miniatures in a particular setting of society or culture.

5. The Franklin Auto Museum
1405 East Kleindale Road

Tucson boondocking - The Franklin Auto Museum

One of the largest private collections of Franklin Automobile Company vehicles. The Franklin car, formerly a high-end luxury vehicle on par with Cadillac, has virtually vanished into obscurity. However, fans have been able to preserve the automaker’s legacy in locations like Tucson’s Franklin Auto Museum.

John Wilkinson created the Franklin automobile in 1900, and businessman Herbert H. Franklin produced them. It stood out from other cars thanks to its air-cooled engine, which did not require the radiators, hoses, or pumps of water-cooled engines, which were bulky and susceptible to temperature changes. The firm, situated in Syracuse, New York, swiftly rose to become the nation’s top producer of air-cooled cars.

The Franklin Automobile Company, however, was destroyed by the Great Depression, much like so many other businesses of the time. Approximately 3,700 of the 150,000 Franklins produced between 1902 and 1934 are still in existence. To protect the memory of these distinctive vehicles, the H. H. Franklin Club was established in 1951. It holds an annual gathering in upstate New York and has roughly 900 members. And a substantial collection may be found in Arizona as a result of one Tucson businessman.

5 Tucson Restaurants You Can Sidle Up To

You’ve heard the refrain, and it’s a noble one: “Eat like a local.” But what if you want to be an unapologetic tourist and try an Arizona restaurant you’ve been hearing about for years? There’s a reason these places are famous, right?

 
1. El Ggero Canelo Restaurant
2480 N Oracle Rd.

Daniel Contreras was born in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, and opened his first hot dog stand in Tucson in 1993. Today, Contreras owns and operates three Tucson-based El Guero Canelo restaurants, another in Phoenix, a meat market in Tucson and a tortilla factory in Magdalena. The menu at El Guero Canelo highlights the hot dogs (obviously), which are made in traditional Sonoran style: bacon-wrapped and topped with pinto beans, grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, mayonnaise and jalapeño sauce. So notable and beloved are El Guero Canelo’s franks, they won the “American Classic” award from the James Beard Foundation in 2018. In addition to the hot dogs, El Guero Canelo’s menu offers burros, tacos, tortas and other Mexican specialties.

2. Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery
266 E Congress St.

Located in a historic building on Congress Street in the urban renaissance that is Tucson’s downtown, Hub’s hipster cred comes from its ever-changing lineup of more than 40 funky ice cream flavors. Not Your Granny’s Coconut Cake, Pistachio Orange Blossom and Guava Tamarindo Chamoy rub elbows with Mexican Wedding Cookie and classics like Salted Caramel and Banana Cream Pie. Homemade and organic, the ice cream is available as a grab-and-go treat, but we recommend sticking around to enjoy it with a cocktail or glass of wine at Hub’s bar and lounge—open until midnight and perfect for night owls.

3. Silver Saddle Steakhouse
310 E Benson Hwy

In keeping with dusty Old West traditions, Silver Saddle Steakhouse uses a custom steel and brick mesquite wood grill and pit. The pit produces temperatures that can exceed 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pitmaster yanks on an antique buggy wheel with welded horseshoes to raise and lower the cooking grate over the fire. During the golden era of cowboy cookery, mesquite wood lent a unique flavor to the standard fare of beef. Silver Saddle continues this tradition, in addition to making sure you leave stuffed. The dinner menu keeps things simple and classic, featuring a juicy 24-ounce porterhouse, a premium 10-ounce New York Strip and a full pound of fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs.

4. The Parish
6453 N Oracle Rd

The Parish is truly one of the best places to eat in Tucson. Not only does it offer scrumptious Southern specialties, but it also exudes a vibrant Mardi Gras vibe. What’s more, it has an evolving selection of infused spirits, making it the coolest hangout in the area. You can’t go wrong with their drunken angel pasta. Cooked perfectly in Burgundy wine, this hearty pasta dish is filled with tasty and rich seafood, including shrimp and lobster broth.

5. American Eat Company
1439 S 4th Ave

Laid-back food court with numerous comfort foods plus a beer & wine bar, coffee & ice cream. If you want variety this is the place for you! This facility has multiple restaurants all in one place. We went with my son and his family and we all got to choose from all the different restaurants, it was great. I would definitely go again so I can try a different restaurant. From traditional American to local cuisine you can get it here. Lots of seating for large groups. It has a friendly and casual atmosphere. Try it out, I think you’ll enjoy the experience!

 

12 Tucson boondocking Areas

EAST TUCSON

1. Tucson Boondocking – Bigelow Road – Santa Catalina Mountains

Address
Bigelow Rd.
Mount Lemmon, Arizona
GPS: 32.413776, -110.720987
Elevation: 8383′

Management: Forest Service

The road in is Dirt and 1 miles from a paved road. There are 16-29 Tucson free camping spots at this location. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Eastside of Tucson. It’s about 17 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking. There’s a sign that says the road will be closed 12-15 to 3-15.

Best Review:

All Tucson boondocking sites appear to be open, though if possible you may want to arrive early in the day to find a spot as it was busy even on a Monday/Tuesday before 11am. Dusty road, moderately trafficked. The dust was no bother to me, but my site was up on a hill. Flies and other bugs in surprisingly large quantities, though seemingly not a lot of biters. Fabulous 4g cell reception, thru Verizon, but again not sure if the hill was helpful in that. Excellent sites with both sun and shade. My 110w solar panel was bangin, while I hung out in the remarkably cool shade. It was around 72° the whole time and fresh clean air. Tucson free camping sites are spread out pretty well for privacy. Can see the observatory from camp. Stayed here with a passenger vehicle and a tent.

Best Trail:

Freeman Homestead Nature Trail

Freeman Homestead Nature Trail

Nice trail down a small canyon. Coming back through a dry river bed so ground is a little soft. Saw an owl.

Length: 1.8 km
Elevation gain: 33 m
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

2. Tucson Free Camping – Incinerator Ridge

Address
865 Mount Lemmon Highway
Mount Lemmon, Arizona
GPS: 32.409167, -110.701334
Elevation: 8140′

Management: Forest Service

Incinerator Ridge is open May – Nov. Free Dispersed camping in the Coronado National Forest’s Santa Catalina Ranger District. No reservations. First come, first served. This is a high elevation location. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Eastside of Tucson. It’s about 18 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

September, this spot was excellent. There are a number of Tucson free camping sites all with different attributes. I went to the top and chose to hike in about 150m from the car park. The sunrise was absolutely amazing. I believe most of the spots have some kind of view but if you go to the top you get a great overlook view. Lots of butterflies and bees as well. The temperature dipped down to about 60 at night so I had to put the fly on the tent, but if you can brave it the stars are beautiful and it’s wonderful to hear the wind blowing around the site. I will definitely come back to this spot again.

Best Trail:

Cow Head Saddle Trail

Cow Head Saddle Trail

Long Trail, you will need lots of water because there is no water until you get there. It’s a good idea to stop at Junniper Bassin Campground to rest for a few hours while the sun is high. It is not an easy trail but very rewarding. Nice views and different fauna throughout the trail.

Length: 41.8 km
Elevation gain: 2,310 m
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Bird watching, River, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

3. Tucson Free RV Camping – E Redington Rd – Santa Catalina Mountains

Address
Tucson, Arizona
GPS: 32.261879, -110.649788
Elevation: 3766′

Management: Forest Service

The road in is Dirt. There are 16-29 Tucson free camping at this location and the maximum RV length is 32′. You may stay 14 Nights at E Redington Rd – Santa Catalina Mountains. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Eastside of Tucson. It’s about 16 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

We went on a weekend, BAD CHOICE. We drove all the way up to the top in 4WD Toyota 4Runner. The higher you go the worst the roads are. Barely enough room for Vehicle and an ATV. No rails along road – complete dropoff areas. Literally 100’s of ATVs running up and down road. Every designated Shooting Range was packed. We could not find a single place to camp. Hopefully, weekdays are better. Good Luck

Best Trail:

Tanque Verde Ridge

Tanque Verde Ridge

Beautiful scenery. Trail is easy to follow but no mile markers so hard to tell when you reach the end of this trail. The whole trail goes on for over 40 miles. Stay on the trail. Lots of rattle snakes and hundreds of painful cactus thorns. Bring lots of water and go early.

Length: 5.3 km
Elevation gain: 282 m
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Running, Views, No shade, Fee, No dogs

You May Also Like: 14 Amazing Sedona Free Boondocking Spots Plus UFO Thrills 

4. Tucson Boondocking – Golder Ranch Road

Address
Tucson, Arizona
GPS: 32.482084, -110.886479
Elevation: 3261′

Management: Arizona State Trust Land

A permit is required to camp on Arizona State Trust lands. The price is $15 online and then it is free for 365 days in all of the Arizona State Trust lands. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Eastside of Tucson. It’s about 18 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

We are at this Tucson free camping spot right now and it’s nice. Note though that you need to go down the road at the back of the lot with the corral. There is a sign that says no camping within 1/4 mile of the corral. There is some traffic, car, horse, mountain bikers and hikers but for the most part it is very quiet. Great views of the Catalina’s. Permit is easy to buy online. If you are a mountain biker, the trails near here are very popular.

Best Trail:

Tanque Verde Peak and Rincon Peak

Tanque Verde Peak and Rincon Peak

Not the easiest trail ever but very much worth it. One just have to be vigilant while navigating through the rocks and the out come of this almost two mile hike is well beyond earned. The water levels have been falling year after year but this is still a place to visit

Length: 72.1 km
Elevation gain: 4,129 m
Route type: Out & back

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Forest, Views, Wildflowers, Rocky, Scramble, Fee, No dogs

5. Tucson Free Camping – E Via Rancho Del Cielo

Address
Santa Rita, Arizona
GPS: 32.077793, -110.633864
Elevation: 3527′

Management: Arizona State Trust Land

A permit is required to camp on Arizona State Trust lands. The price is $15 online and then it is free for a year in all the Arizona State Trust lands. This Tucson camping location is close to the Eastside of Tucson. It’s about 19 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

Pretty desert out here. We saw the sheriff so make sure you have bought and printed out your state land permit. The price is $15 annually and then it is free for a year in any Arizona State Trust lands. Quite a few houses further down Pistol Hill Rd so there is some traffic and locals come out to roost their dirtbikes and atvs at times — one came at 10pm to make noise right next to us. Verizon signal is there but didn’t work for us without using a booster. Also most of the few Tucson boondocking sites are small and need high clearance. I would not recommend going down any of the 2-tracks without scouting.

Best Trail:

Pink Hill, Loma Verde, Cholla Trail, and Cactus Forest Loop

Pink Hill, Loma Verde, Cholla Trail, and Cactus Forest Loop

Pretty walk with lots of saguaros, palo verde trees, and prickly pear cactuses. Very hot. Add in the short spur to the top of Pink Hill for an overlook of the area. We saw a rattlesnake on the Loma Verde portion of the trail.

Length: 5.3 km
Elevation gain: 24 m
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Horseback riding, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

WEST TUCSON

6. Tucson Free RV Camping – Park Link BLM

Address
Marana, Arizona
GPS: 32.612345, -111.209754
Elevation: 2310′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Dirt and 1 miles from a paved road. Park Link BLM is open Year ’round. There are 1-5 Tucson free camping spots at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 31 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

What a hidden gem! Had a little trouble finding this place, but so glad I did. Very secluded, and super quiet. Will accommodate any size rigs in this Tucson free RV camping area. If you love being among the cactus, you will definitely love this place!

Best Trail:

Diamond J and Avery Bryce Loop

Diamond J and Avery Bryce Loop

It was good. Took a left a the sign. The back side was uphill. About killed me. Lol. 75 degrees

Length: 7.0 mi
Elevation gain: 177 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Mountain biking, Walking, Views, Wildflowers

You May Also Like: 23 Flagstaff Free Boondocking Locations and Free Camping Areas 

7. Tucson Boondocking –  West Tangerine RD and I-10 Marana, AZ

Address
Marana, Arizona
GPS: 32.42496, -111.15914
Elevation: 2041′

Management: Public

The road in is Gravel. The maximum RV length at West Tangerine RD and I-10 Marana, AZ is unlimited. This Tucson free RV camping location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 19 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

I drove by it March, 2022. It is still here, and there were lots of semis parked there and 2 RVs. Just off I-10. Get off Tangerine RD exit and head towards Ora Valley. On the right you see a stretch of dirt off the road to park. I stayed multiple nights no problems. Can be a bit loud sometimes with traffic, but otherwise, a pretty good Tucson free camping area.

Best Trail:

North Trail

North Trail

Nice and easy flat stroll. The trailhead is inside the RV park. Not really sure how you’re normally supposed to access it – when we got here we asked the front office and they just let us park there and pointed us in the right direction.

Length: 2.0 mi
Elevation gain: 39 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Walking, Running, No shade

8. Tucson Free Camping – Ironwood Forest National Monument

Address
Marana, Arizona
GPS: 32.44358, -111.37506
Elevation: 2005′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Dirt and 10 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 Tucson free RV camping sites at this location and the maximum RV length is 45 feet. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 30 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking. Bureau of Land Management

Best Review:

Vast views and beautiful sunsets! The Tucson boondocking spots are well spaced out. This is a pretty area to get out, walk around and explore a bit. Not a lot of through traffic, just a few other campers around.

Best Trail:

Diamond J Caliche Flats and Ironwood Loop

Diamond J Caliche Flats and Ironwood Loop

Super simple trail. Super level except when you cross washes. More of a walk to hike but beautiful. Saw Gambel quail, phainopepla, curved billed thrasher, black tailed gnatcatcher.

Length: 4.8 mi
Elevation gain: 104 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Mountain biking, Walking, Views, Wildflowers, Rocky

9. Tucson Free RV Camping – W Manville Rd BLM

Address
Tucson, Arizona
GPS: 32.293854, -111.35112
Elevation: 2119′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The maximum RV length at W Manville Rd BLM is Any. You may stay 14 Nights at W Manville Rd BLM. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 25 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

I went down the road a ways after entering and found a lovely spot with abundant fire wood. Quiet and lots of room. Someone mentioned the Arizona ultra light air field near the entrance and that was enough info to find the park entrance.

Best Trail:

Explorer Trail: Sarasota Trailhead to Sunset Pass Trail

Explorer Trail - Sarasota Trailhead to Sunset Pass Trail

This is a great out and back trail to get in. I would recommend starting this hike before sunrise during this time of the year as it starts warming up fast. make sure to bring plenty of water!

Length: 5.6 mi
Elevation gain: 718 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Views, Rocky, Scramble, Off trail, No shade, No dogs

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10. Tucson Boondocking – Snyder Hill BLM

Address
Tucson, Arizona
GPS: 32.156941, -111.116493
Elevation: 2471′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Paved. Snyder Hill BLM is open All Year. There are 30 or more Tucson boondocking campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is Any. You may stay 14 days at Snyder Hill BLM. This Tucson free RV camping location is close to the Westside of Tucson It’s about 12 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

Don’t recommend if you have kids or concerned with safety. We arrived and saw multiple broken down campers and what looked to be homeless camps decided to play it safe and leave due to having kids with us. Also saw multiple beer cans all around hill and posted signs to not shoot weapons (signs just don’t show up unless there is a issue!).

Best Trail:

Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Trail Loop

Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Trail Loop

We had great cloud cover at 6am so the climb up to Bobcat Ridge wasn’t too hot. After a short break at the top, we continued across the Ridge, then climbed down off, and finally followed the trail back to the beginning. The ascent is a bit steep and rocky. I’m glad I had my poles.

Length: 4.1 mi
Elevation gain: 715 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Mountain biking, Running, Rocky, No shade, No dogs

11. Tucson Free Camping – Old Ajo Highway Campground

Address
Tucson Estates, Arizona
GPS: 32.1614, -111.1038
Elevation: 2507′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Old Ajo Highway Campground. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 11 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking. The road into this location is dirt.

Best Review:

There is LOTS of space to park, access is easy – we are almost 60′ long and were able to navigate in with ease, the land is level and the area is clean. We felt totally safe here and did not see any long term residents. The downsides are that the site is located between two relatively busy roads so there is some traffic noise – but surprisingly it was not too loud. Happy with this Tucson free RV camping area.

Best Trail:

Tucson Estates Trail to Yetman Trail

Tucson Estates Trail to Yetman Trail

The first part of the hike is an easy track. Open land with plenty of cactus. It did get Rocky at the end so you’re definitely want to wear foot gear with good ankle support.

Length: 2.6 mi
Elevation gain: 216 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Mountain biking, Running, No shade

12. Tucson Free RV Camping – Ironwood Forest

Address
Marana, Arizona
GPS: 32.451147, -111.375582

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road in is Paved. There are 1-5 Tucson free camping sites at this location. This Tucson boondocking location is close to the Westside of Tucson. It’s about 30 miles away. There are no facilities here, this is true Tucson boondocking.

Best Review:

Easy to find, hardpacked dirt, single dirt road through this patch of BLM Tucson boondocking (14 days posted). Mid sized cactus and trees. Good amount of Tucson free camping sites, fire rings. Quiet but heavy winds at times. Stayed 7 days to myself. Filtered water and provisions 9 miles in Marana. USPS 35 miles away in Tucson. Single path hiking. No snakes seen. No usable tv signal. T-Mobile 4g.

Best Trail:

Bittersweet, Camaro, and Sunset Pass Trail Loop

Bittersweet, Camaro, and Sunset Pass Trail Loop

Really enjoyed it. We started at 5pm & it was timed perfectly with the sun completely setting as we finished. We saw 1 rattlesnake right off the path that rattled to warn us. Overall, beautiful hike. We followed the directions on here to get to the trail head.

Length: 3.9 mi
Elevation gain: 380 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Running, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade, No dogs


The BLM welcomes you to explore and enjoy America’s public lands and waters. Millions of people visit public lands each year. It is the responsibility of each person to develop a personal set of outdoor ethics. Know Before You Go. The Bureau of Land Management’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.



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