Boondocking Site Review – Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ

Lovely Dome Rock desert landscape

A very easy and natural boondocking spot ~6 miles west of Quartzsite in east-central AZ

REVIEW updated as of last stay Feb, 2015

Location: Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ (info on camping HERE)
Coordinates: 33.64203N, -114.31374W. Link to map location HERE 
Cost: FREE (2 week stay limit -> free pass provided by camp-host)
How We Found It: I initially heard about Quartzsite several years ago on the RV forums and found more detailed info on the individual camping areas from the web (links at bottom).
Nearest Dump/Water: Water and RV tank dump are all available in nearby Quartzsite. Household trash can be dumped for free at the Refuse Transfer Station north of Quartzsite between mile markers 111-112 on Highway 95 (open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday).

  1. Access – 4.5/5
    Very easy access here although a little extra effort is needed to access the best spots. The Dome Rock BLM area is a large, open spot on the south side of Hwy 10 just west of Quartzsite. You enter the BLM from either side of Dome Rock Road which parallels Hwy 10 (west entrance is at exit 11, east entrance exit 17). Dome Rock is paved and easily drivable and you can boondock anywhere off the pavement on either side. Towards the Quartzsite side (east) the boonocking area is large and flat with super-easy sites even for a large group of rigs. Towards the back (west) it gets more hilly with many dirt roads leading off in various directions towards the hills. If you want to stay in the hills, which I would consider the prettiest, be prepared to scope out the area before you bring in your big-rig. All dirt roads/spots are super-firm with space and support for any sized-rig and lots of choices of spots. Only minor ding is that if you want to get really back and remote in the hills the dirt roads can become rather narrow and uneven/bumpy.
  2. Nature – 5/5
    Lovely nature here. Up on the west end by the hills you have sweeping vistas of Quartzsite in the valley together with pretty views of the surrounding hills. Days worth of hiking and exploring in the hills as well as the prospecting mines hidden therein.
  3. Isolation – 3/5
    Medium to good isolation here depending on time of year. The hills provide lots of open knolls and “hidden” boondocking spots so you can generally find a site with good privacy, especially towards the western end of the area. Also, this is one of the lesser popular boondocking areas, so it tends to have decent space. However around the annual RV show (last 2 weeks in Jan), the area is popular and can become very heavily used. The only other minor ding is that you are ~1-1.5 miles from Hwy 10 so unless you are well back in the hills you will hear some noise from the freeway. Plus you will occasionally get locals coming to do some ATVing in the area. We found neither to be bothersome, but if you’re looking for perfect quiet this may not be the spot.
  4. Pet Friendliness – 5/5
    Fabulous pet spot. You have days-worth of hiking and exploring in the surrounding hills, plus lots of space to hang out in camp. Also this is mostly “scrub” desert so not too much cactus around which is a big positive for paws on the ground.

Overall Rating = 4.4

Summary: Dome Rock is one of 5 “designated” limited-stay boondocking sites around Quartzsite (see below for info on the others) and is probably our favorite in the area. It’s super-easy to access off paved Dome Rock Road (which parallels highway 10 for ~6 miles west of town) and has the attraction of being somewhat higher than the town and right “in the hills” giving lovely sweeping views of both Quartzsite and the surrounding area. Free Boondocking is allowed on either side of the paved road and accessed by firm, dirt roads that run back in all directions into the hills. The far east side of the BLM is flat and open, but the far prettier section is towards the west side in the hills. Lots of knolls and gently hilly sites with good privacy, yet enough areas firm and flat enough for small multi-rig groups. It’s easy to find a site and you’ll see plenty of fire-rings from previously used locations all around the area.  The only dings we can give this place are that it does get some noise from Hwy 10, plus it is sometimes used by ATVers. However neither bothered us and if you’re adventurous you can drive far enough back into the hills that neither will be a problem. A lovely spot and we will most definitely come back.

Extra Info: No water or facilities (nearest facilities in Quartzsite). There is an on-site camphost (near exit 17) where you can check-in and get your free 14-day pass. 4 bars of strong Verizon LTE signal,  5 bars of ATT 4G, so great data & voice access.

Extra, Extra Info – OTHER BOONDOCKING? There are 4 other “designated” limited-stay boondocking sites in and around Quartzsite (Hi Jolly, Plomosa Rd, Scaddon Wash and Roadrunner) as well as long-term (LVTA) sites in La Posa. Dispersed camping is also allows on BLM land outside these areas unless otherwise posted. Detailed info and directions to all sites in these links:

Our spot in Dome Rock
Another view of our spot from up the hill. You can (just barely) see cars on Hwy 10 in the far background.
Front view of our site
Our spacious “sitting area”. Not another rig in sight.
Typical “site” view. You’ll see home-made fire-pits and flat spots all over the landscape.
Another RVer tucked into a spot. The dirt road in front leading to the rig is typical of the roads in the area. Quartzsite valley is in the background.
Walking with Polly along some of the more uneven dirt roads further back in the hills. There’s a lone truck camper in the back left.
An RVer camped in the very flat section of the BLM near the east entrance.
Driving down Dome Rock Road from exit 11. Camping is on either side of this paved road
Map showing general Dome Rock boondocking area. We parked on the hilly side.
Map of Quartzsite BLM areas
Overall Map of Quartzsite BLM areas. Blackened areas are LTVA (long-term, paid), grey areas are the free 14-day spots. Dome Rock is the greyed area on the left-hand side of town.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Mary says

    Nina, you really need to write a book on the wonderful places you find for big rigs. It would be helpful when we’re in some of those places in the boonies without having internet! We will definitely be at Dome Rock in January this year instead of our previously-used spot to the far east of Hwy 95. I had to laugh at your comment about the “few” ATVers you spotted this November. You would not believe it in January!!! This whole area swells to amazingly proportions. It’s not going to be the same as you remembered!!!

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re probably right that it’s going to be ALOT more crowded by Jan. I’d be curious to see how much more crowded this particular BLM gets. If you get a chance (and remember) let me know back on the blog! Enjoy your trip!

  2. says

    Nita, we too are in Quartzite, however being our first time here we decided to stay in the LT BLM area. The views are breath taking with 360 degree views of the mountains. We took a drive through the Dome area a few days ago and I have to agree that is a nice area to get away from the crowds, which I was wondered about the highway noise. If you happen to see a blue land cruiser, give us a wave. In the meantime happy trails and Happy Thanksgiving!! Deb

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhh I’m so sorry we missed you!! We’ve just moved onto Pheonix, so already on the trail again. Enjoy your time in Quartzsite!

  3. TJ says

    Other than common sense what do you do regarding security? I doubt Quartzside would ever be a concern but other areas perhaps… Leaving your RV and going on local hikes for several hours might be a concern. Any suggestions or thoughts?? Thanks

    • libertatemamo says

      I have to admit we’re pretty relaxed about security. We practice common sense when we chose a campsite and just lock up and and leave the RV when we need to. My personal feeling is that there is comparatively low crime in these kind of boondocking locations -> criminals are more likely to target bigger & easier concentrations of folks rather than spend time (and gas) driving around back-desert roads to find possibly empty rigs. At least that’s my take on it. My only “unsafe” experiences have been in big cities whereas I’ve always felt very safe in the backcountry. Hopefully my experience will continue to prove that true!

  4. Mary says

    Having been at Q many times during the “high season” of January/February, we have heard of portable generators and bikes being stolen…take them with you if you go siteseeing or at least use a very heavy chain to secure them. Some are even stolen at night! Everyone seems to leave lawn chairs, etc. unsecured. At any other time of year with less people around, we would lock most everything up. There will always be those, unfortunately, who look for opportune moments. This definitely should not discourage you from visiting. These are very few incidents in what is, basically, a city of millions in season. Just use common sense. It’s just like anywhere else.

  5. Bob Nuttmann says

    Last year a group of us were just east of Q off Dome Rock Rd E. You go about a mile east and then R on Mitchell Mine Rd. Nice camp area with a great view of Q at night. Very rocky though. So rocky it is hard to walk the dog or hike. We are going back there this Jan.

    • libertatemamo says

      Nice spot! Might be a bit too rocky for “the beast”, but it sure looks neat. If we come back in Jan, I’d love to meet up!

  6. Bill says

    Thanks for all the good information. We are excited to go for the first time.
    You write a great blog. Ever thought about doing a DVD on Quartzsite?

    • libertatemamo says

      You know it’s a good thought. If we go back to Q in Jan (we might…not decided yet) I’m going to do alot more in-depth posts about the place. It’s really a rather fascinating spot.

  7. Joy says

    Hi Nina,
    After seeing your pics I wanna go home…… I so miss my AZ desert, but life led us to where we are today, and I’m learning to make the best of it.
    Southeastern TX is WAY different from AZ, but I do like the gulf.
    Good luck to you both, know I’m missing my desert, and reading it trough your eyes :)

    • libertatemamo says

      The gulf of TX is a gorgeous spot too, but I know what you mean about missing the desert. There is something about the SW desert that is really addicting :)

  8. Rochelle says

    Hi Nina
    Based on your recommendation, we are camped on west Dome Rock Rd in Quartzsite. We randomly picked a site and when I checked your GPS coordinates we are .1 mile from your site in Nov 2011. We really do like the site. The big show is over and a lot of the crowds are gone. It’s quite windy today. Hopefully that will die down, but it’s not as dusty up here in the hills. We are getting TV signals with our Wineguard antennae. We’ve just started boondocking and it’s going well so far! I think our next stop is Anza Borrego based on your recommendation. Thanks you very much for writing your blog. Your recommendations are right up our alley and spot on. Wish our paths had crossed here in Q. We met Chris and Cherie in Sacramento during their recent storage cleaning trip. It’s fun and informative keeping up with you, Paul and Chris and Cherie.

    • libertatemamo says

      Excellent! Glad you’re enjoying the area. With all the big crowds gone it’s quite pleasant out there, plus you can still browse many of the rummage stores in town.



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