Boondocking Site Review – Gunsight Wash BLM, Why, AZ
A pretty and easy boondocking spot around 2 miles south of Why, AZ in southern Arizona
Location: Gunsight Wash, approx 2 miles south of Why, AZ on Hwy 85
Coordinates: Entry to gunsight wash approx. 32.238105,-112.751037. Link to map location HERE
Cost: FREE (14-day stay limit)
How We Found It: We had heard about this area from other RV bloggers who stayed here and also found the site on freecampsites.net.
Nearest Dump/Water: $10 for dump/water at Coyote Howls RV Park just up the road in Why, AZ
- Access – 4/5
Very easy access here for any-sized rig with just a very few dings. The entry to Gunsight wash is located on the right hand-side just past milemarker 55 on Hwy 85 south (look for a large dirt clearing directly after the bridge). Once inside you’ll cross a gate and see the camphost. Stop here to register for your free 14-day pass (Note/ As of Feb 2015 several blog readers have reported there is NO longer any campsite host here. See comments below the post). There are two main dirt roads which lead back into the wash with many, obvious cleared areas for camping some of which will also accommodate groups. The only slight ding is that the road does become more bumpy as you go back. Large rigs should probably camp nearer the entrance and/or scout back before driving in. The camphost is also super-friendly and can help you get the lay of the land if needed.
- Nature – 4/5
Very nice nature in this area. The boondocking site is on a flat area next to a large wash. The desert here is lush and green with many small bushes, trees (some sites even have shade) and cacti. Lots of birds and pretty views of distant hills. On-site there are several dirt roads to explore on foot/bike, plus you are only 4 miles from the entrance to fabulous Organ Pipe National Monument. Only slight ding? No real hiking trails here plus this is listed as an area of “illegal activities” (see my thoughts in “summary” section below).
- Isolation – 3/5
Medium isolation here. This is a fairly well-known boondocking spot so you are likely to have company unless you come out of season. However there is plenty of space for everyone, and if you’re willing/able to drive further back into the wash you can find some decent isolation. There is also *some* highway noise from Hwy 85 although we did not find it bothersome.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5
Another great location for the paws. Lots of open space around camp plus plenty of dirt roads to walk/bike/explore. Good green surroundings with very little cholla (= easy on the paws)
Overall Rating = 4
BONUS ALERT = Camp in “lush” desert only 4 miles from fabulous Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument!
Summary: We chose this spot as a base to explore Ajo (~10 miles away) and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (~4 miles from entrance) and it turned out to be perfect. This is a “semi-managed” BLM area which means there is a camphost and a procedure of registration, but in all other respects it’s just a regular boondocking site (Note/ As of Feb 2015 several blog readers have reported there is NO longer any campsite host here. See comments below the post). There is a 14-day stay limit and no cost to stay. Access is super easy right off Hwy 85 and there are plenty of level sites for any-sized rig and even larger sites for groups. The surrounding nature is flat, “green” desert (quite lush) with several dirt roads to explore and pretty views of the distant hills. Lots of bushes, trees and birds. Some sites even have shade! Plus there is a free book-swap by the camphost in the front. The only slight dings? This is a well-known boondocking site so you’ll likely have neighbors, plus there is *some* noise from Hwy 85 (it didn’t bother us). Also, due to it’s proximity to Mexico this area has signs warning of “illegal activities”. This may bother some folks even though it’s a very common thing in southern AZ (these signs are all over the place here). Personally we felt quite safe. There are over 700 border patrol agents in the area, and the camphost (who’s been hosting here for 10 years) said he’s never seen any issues. However if that’s something that worries you, this may not be the place for you and there are plenty of inexpensive nearby RV parks as alternatives (see below). In our case we loved it!! The animals were enthralled by the green undergrowth, we loved the super-friendly camphost and we enjoyed a perfectly peaceful & relaxing stay. We ended up maxing out our 14 days and will most definitely visit again.
Extra Info: Strong (3-4 bars) Verizon 3G signal although we found it at times to be a tad slow (likely due to tower overloading). NO facilities (no garbage, no dump, no water).
Extra, Extra Info – OTHER BOONDOCKING: Gunsight wash is probably the easiest boondocking spot in this area, but there are plenty of other possibilities for those willing to explore:
- Darby Road (next to Ajo, AZ) has quite attractive spots, although most are probably better-suited to medium-sized rigs (I only found a few that were “beast”-size when we were scouting). It’s a gorgeous area if you can get in.
- Ajo Community Golf Course (just north of Ajo on Mead Road) has ~10 nice dry-camping spots where you can camp for free (for 3 days) if you play a round at the course (only $9 for 9 holes) or have a meal at the clubhouse.
- There are also many other BLM roads in the area, all of which allow 14-day stays.
Extra, Extra, Extra Info – OTHER CAMPING: For those of you worried about the “illegal activities” signs there are plenty of really nice, inexpensive RV parks right around the corner in Why, AZ.
- Coyote Howls is quite unique. The main park has natural (dispersed-type) campsites with no hookups and costs only $40/week or $130/mo (!). We really liked the look of this section…almost like a “managed” BLM area. They also have a hookup section for only $220/mo (+elec.). Very cheap!
- Hickiwan Trails RV Park is a simple, clean park that seems to be a local favorite and costs only $19/night.