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Old 01-01-2015, 07:15 AM   #1
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Question Boondocking Southern AZ, mountain biking and kayaking

Howdy all,

I don't normally ask for advice on trips but I thought I'd give it a shot this time and see what happens. I'm heading for southern New Mexico and southern Arizona in a couple days (warmer weather). I'm all setup for boondocking and I love to spend as much time riding mountain bike as possible and/or kayaking (flat water). That said, I need reasonable cellular data coverage (Verizon + Wilson Sleek) as I still work during the day.

Using freecampsites.net, I see lots of places to boondock but finding them near good mountain bike trails is a bit harder. Several interesting options around Tucson and Casa Grande. Appears to be some kayaking opportunities south of Lake Havasu (as well as boondocking sites).

I'd sure love to hear suggestions - links are great too!

Thank you!
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:32 AM   #2
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I would look in the area bounded by I-10 and Hwy. 60. Most of it has good cell coverage, and there are plenty of good places east of Salome Road. I am particularly fond of the terrain along Vulture Mine Road, between Tonopah and Wickenburg. The closer you get to Wickenburg, the more interesting the terrain gets for hiking. I think that it may be paved all the way through to Wickenburg now, but can still be subject to some impressive flash flooding.

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Old 01-01-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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There is a boondocking spot SW of Tucson that's not in the wilderness but you'll be in prime position for some great desert mountain biking (no kayaking). Its just off the northeast corner of W. Ajo Hwy and S. San Joaquin Rd. Tucson Mtn park is just to the north with tons of trails and just above that is Saguaro Nat'l Park. Lots of mtn biking trails to choose from.

In western AZ a great location is south of Parker Dam. Plenty of good boondocking off of Hwy 95 on Cienega Springs Rd, which is also the easy off-road trail that takes you up to Desert Bar (Google it for more info, fun place). There is plenty of mtn biking right there. Also great kayaking on the Colorado River which is just across Hwy 95 as well as just above the dam in the Bill Williams Nat'l Wildlife Refuge.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:36 PM   #4
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Alamo Lake State Park or Lake Pleasant Maricopa County Park west of Phoenix might work for you. Although not boondocking, they do have dry camping sites. You might investigate further on those locations for boondocking around the parks. There's lots of open land.

Roosevelt Lake area has a lot of national forest land and also has some 'dry' campsites. Also, Lost Dutchman State Park has dry camping and nearby is the Apache Trail with some beautiful lakes.

You won't want to drive beyond the paved portion with a big RV but there's a forest campground along the paved portion that you could use. I'm not sure of the name.

Roosevelt Lake is at the other end of the Apache Trail and the small lakes along the trail could be accessed via your towed vehicle carrying the kayak. We've stayed at all areas and they're beautiful. Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmachine View Post
I would look in the area bounded by I-10 and Hwy. 60.
Thanks Mike, I had not been looking there but it does appear to be a possibility.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MandG-Fun View Post
There is a boondocking spot SW of Tucson that's not in the wilderness but you'll be in prime position for some great desert mountain biking (no kayaking). Its just off the northeast corner of W. Ajo Hwy and S. San Joaquin Rd. Tucson Mtn park is just to the north with tons of trails and just above that is Saguaro Nat'l Park. Lots of mtn biking trails to choose from.

In western AZ a great location is south of Parker Dam. Plenty of good boondocking off of Hwy 95 on Cienega Springs Rd, which is also the easy off-road trail that takes you up to Desert Bar (Google it for more info, fun place). There is plenty of mtn biking right there. Also great kayaking on the Colorado River which is just across Hwy 95 as well as just above the dam in the Bill Williams Nat'l Wildlife Refuge.
Thanks Glenn! That spot near Tucson Mountain Park is definitely on my list. I've also heard good reports about kayaking in the Bill Williams, good to hear there is some riding nearby as well.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Alamo Lake State Park or Lake Pleasant Maricopa County Park west of Phoenix might work for you. Although not boondocking, they do have dry camping sites. You might investigate further on those locations for boondocking around the parks. There's lots of open land.
Thanks gypsie, I like the state parks but have to admit that the fee's are more than I care for - yes, very much a cheapskate. I'm not saying the fees are wrong/excessive, they just add up a bit too quickly for my budget. Here in New Mexico I have an annual pass to the state parks and use them a lot. Will probably try one or two in AZ but probably only for a couple nights. Thanks for the tips and ideas!
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:45 AM   #8
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Parker Dam AZ , Colorado river, Lake Havasu, a lot of kayaking.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:14 AM   #9
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Did you go on your trip yet? You don't mention what kind of kayaking you are looking for. There is some of the best mountain biking in the country in Sedona and mild white water kayaking nearby in the Verde River (depending on time of the year...). Boondocking is available just out of town. The temps are a bit cooler though so you'll have to keep that in mind.

Also near Lake Pleasant North of Phoenix there is a lot of boondocking available on the BLM land. The MTB riding is OK, nothing spectacular. You can kayak in Lake Pleasant though.

Hope the trip is going well!
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:46 PM   #10
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To close out this thread, I'll give a mini-report.

I decided not to haul my kayak. I'm still recovering from a broken left arm and it just didn't feel good hoisting it up onto the Jeep.

I spent the month of January in Arizona. The first stop was Indian Bread Rocks which is BLM land a few miles south of Bowie, AZ. I loved this spot. Very quiet and lots of excellent hiking/rock climbing.

I then spent about ten days at Snyder Hill, the BLM spot west of Tucson (towards Ryan Field). This was more enjoyable than I had expected. There is a lot of road noise but their were a bunch other campers which were all very nice and kinda made it all feel "ok". Some good hiking nearby and excellent mountain bike trails.

Finally, I spent a week in Phoenix at the Sun City RV Park. Nothing fancy but it was close to a dealership at which I was making a deal on a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star. The deal worked out and I'm driving a new DP now! Yay!

Once again, I cannot say enough about the solar electric system. It was so nice to sit for two weeks at a time and not have to run the generator at all!

Thanks for the suggestions! Next trip I'll get further west towards Lake Havasu.
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