Boondocking Site Review – Ogilby Road, Imperial County/Yuma, CA/AZ

Polly and I check out an old ore shoot in the hills by our boondocking spot

A huge boondocking area with tons of interesting mining history ~14 miles west of Yuma, AZ on the CA side of the AZ/CA border.

Note/ Review updated as of last stay Jan, 2015

Location: Ogilby Road, CA, S34 (no specific info on the web, but you can download a detailed PDF BLM map of the area HERE)
Coordinates: Approx. 32.817215N,-114.837856W (= SW corner of boondocking area). Link to map location HERE 
Cost: FREE (2 week stay limit)
How We Found It: We asked around about Yuma boondocking sites on the RV forums and this was one of the options given. It seems to be one of the lesser-known areas with no specific info (that I could find) on the web so it took a bit of “digging” to get to.
Nearest Dump/Water: Nearest propane and dump is at the Chevron Station at 611 Sidewinder Rd directly off I-8 a just few miles east of Ogilby Road, however it is expensive ($20 for dump only!). Cheaper dump is either Gold Rock Ranch RV Park (just up the road on Ogilby) that only charges $15 for water PLUS dump. Alternatively the Loves station in Yuma has a dump and only charges $10 (no water though).

  1. Access – 4.5/5
    Very easy access for any sized-rig here although as usual a little extra effort is needed to access the best spots.
    Directions -> From Yuma, AZ take I-8 west ~14 miles to Ogilby Road (S34, Exit 159) and turn right to go north. Drive approx. 5 miles on Ogilby Road (easy, paved road) until you cross some railroad tracks. Immediately after the tracks there will be 2 wide, flat, firm dirt roads going off to your right. The first is Sidewinder and the second is American Girl Mine. Both are good boondocking options. Also almost everything on East side of Ogilby from the train tracks northwards is BLM so there are additional dirt roads north of these two options if you want more choice.
    Boondocking Spots -> BLM land surrounds both of the dirt roads going back multiple miles and you will see “14-day camping” signs all around. For easy boondocking simply drive down either dirt road and pick a spot close-by. For more scenic spots drive several miles back towards the hills and take anyone of the many “dirt spurs” off the main road. Towards the very back the dirt roads can get washed out, narrower and bumpy so scope out these areas before bringing in a big-rig.
  2. Nature – 4.5/5
    It’s all nature out here, but might be considered a too “barren” for some. This is dry, scrub-like, rocky desert. The boondocking area is mostly flat-land with large barren spots, some select shrubs here and there, a few smaller trees and some ocotillo cacti. The hills towards the back are rocky mining areas. Lots of interesting browns, minerals & texture, but not alot of wildlife or green.
  3. Isolation – 4.5/5
    Very good isolation with only only a few dings. This is a huge area and seems lesser-used so if you’re willing to drive around and explore you can certainly find a spot to yourself. One minor ding is there can be some noise from the railroad tracks depending on where you park. The second (more significant) ding is that American Girl Mine is now an “active” gold-mining operation (since 2013) and gets ALOT of truck traffic all day to/from the mine, so if you don’t want to hear the truck traffic and/or experience the dust make sure you park a good jump away from the road.
  4. Pet Friendliness – 5/5
    Another great 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 “scrub” desert so not alot of cactus around which is a big positive for doggies. The rocky ground, especially back by the hills can be rough on paws so give your pet paws time to acclimatize/harden if you’re out hiking in the area.

Overall Rating = 4.6

Summary: This area seems to be one of the lesser-known boondocking spots around Yuma and took a bit of “digging” to find. It’s a large, flat easily accessed spot ~14 miles West of Yuma and ~5 miles North of I-8 on Ogilby Road. Once you get to the area 2 wide, flat dirt roads take you back across several miles of open, flat boondocking landscape. There are also additional boondocking areas north of this spot (the entire East side of Ogilby Rd north of the railroad tracks is BLM). We drove as far back as we could towards the hills finding a lovely and quiet spot by ourselves, but you can choose to be closer to other rigs too. Be aware that the railroad does travel through the area (so, you will hear trains every now and then, especially close to the rail tracks), plus American Girl is an active mining operation with lots of trucks travelling back/forth along the road (so, park well away from the road to avoid the traffic noise & dust). Most of the area is very flat, firm/rocky and fairly barren, but the hills are a fascinating place to explore esp. if you take the time to discover the old mines and fabulous ghost towns. Lots to do and see (click HERE and HERE), plus you are close to Los Algodonoes, Mexico for dentistry. We always have a most relaxing time here and come back on a regular basis.

Extra Info: No water or facilities. Excellent cellphone/data signal -> both Verizon LTE and AT&T LTE at 4 bars unboosted.

Extra, Extra Info – OTHER BOONDOCKING? There is actually a ton of other boondocking around Yuma.

  1. LVTA SITES – For long-term stays there are four official LVTA BLM sites at Imperial Dam, Pilot Knob, Tamarisk and Holtville Hot Springs (LVTA fees apply at all sites). See more HERE.
  2. FREE (14-day limit) SITES – These are a little harder to find with less “official” info available on the web, but here are a few that I’ve discovered:
    Mittry Lake – This is ~18 miles NE of Yuma and can (apparently) accommodate any sized-rig. More info HERE
    Pilot Knob – Aprox. 1 mile west of Pilot Knob LVTA there is apparently a separate free 14-day stay area.
    KOFA National Wildlife Refuge – North of Yuma on the 95 (towards Quartzite). More info HERE.
    Tumco/Hedges Ghost Town – Just a few extra miles north on Ogilby Road. This is an official BLM area so you can boondock right on-site! More info HERE.
View of our spot back by the hills on one of the “dirt spurs”
View of a “site” along American Girl Mine. You’ll find people have built home-made fire-rings all over the place.
Another nice “site” view by the back hills
View of the wide flat-land to the right side of our site
“Aerial” view of our boondocking area as seen from the hills in front of our RV. Not alot of folks out here.
“Aerial” view towards the rigs boondocking near Sidewinder Road. Again, taken from the hills in front of our RV.
View of one of the many “dirt spurs” leading off American Girl Mine & Sidewinder Road. As long as you see this 14-day camping sign you’ll know you’re still on free boondocking BLM land.
“The beast” driving on American Girl Mine Road. This is a firm, wide dirt road.
Very approx. map of Ogilby Rd free boondocking area. I-8 is at the bottom and the railroad tracks are in red.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Terry Sarter says

    Hi Paul And Nina, I would like to thank you for the great description of the American Girl mine area. I’m a rock and mineral collecter and will be travelling from Ajo (Darby Wells BLM) to Anza Borrego. So will spend a couple of nights where you were camping checking out the mines. Right now I am still in Canada and won’t be heading for Arizona until the beginning of Jan. Like you, I love boondocking. Take care. Terry Sarter

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh you will LOVE the area. There are so many mines around there with tons of interesting stuff to discover. If you didn’t catch the link in my last post check out this map CLICKY -> just zoom out to see the other mines in the area. Enjoy!

  2. says

    Before we visited Yuma last year I looked into boondocking spots and found Ogilby Road. We had plans to visit Algodones (Mexico), however, so we ended up parking at a casino around 2 miles from the border. It’s certainly less scenic, but is another option for people heading to Mexico.

    • libertatemamo says

      Good tip Yair! I’d heard about the Casino from some other folks, but didn’t know exactly where it was.

  3. Susan Thomson says

    Being a first time boondocker and also having concerns about it, you have been such a wealth of information. You have also been a great confidence builder for me even with my husbands disability as we travel…we will just have to make more adjustments now than we would have under normal circumstances. Thank you so very much for all you do to help us RV’ers.

  4. don says

    just north of your boondocking area is

    go 3 miles north on Ogilby rd to gold rock ranch road then left (heading west) 1.25 miles to the campgrounds. water and dump available $15.00.
    or pay the $20.00 and spend the night, mention Passport America.


  5. Dave'n'Kim says

    RIP-OFF ALERT! The Shell station at 611 Sidewinder Rd is now Chevron, had no price signs up (1Feb15), charged $1/gal more than elsewhere for diesel, and a staggering $20 to use the dump! They also wouldn’t give any receipt. Methinks they’re ‘milking it’. The $1 for 5gals water machine was also ‘not working’ – perhaps they’re waiting for a technician to hike that machine’s prices higher too? Sadly we were leaving, full, and had to use it, not knowing where better to go.

    • libertatemamo says

      You are TOTALLY RIGHT!! We encountered the exact same rip-off leaving Ogilby road this past stay (just last month) and I totally forgot to update my review. $20 to dump!!

      I found out that Gold Rock Ranch RV Park (just up the road on Ogilby) only charges $15 for water PLUS dump. Also the Loves station in Yuma has a dump and only charges $10 (no water though).


  6. Jason Reich says

    Hi Nina,
    Thanks for the clear description and information, we stayed just off American Girl Mine for an overnight boondock last week returning from Tucson, and it was very nice, much nicer than the casino parking lots we’ve used in the past.

  7. George says

    Thanks so much for this review! I have seen pictures from the area, but was not sure where it was. I am looking for next year, so will check it out then. Great Review!


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