10 Boondocking Spots Overrun with RV Campers Right Now
There’s no question that the pandemic has caused a historic rise in the popularity of camping. RV sales have been booming for months, and campgrounds have been filled to the absolute max as people are trying to find a cure for their own cabin fever while maintaining a safe distance from other people.
So it’s only natural that many RVers would look for more secluded spots so they can literally get away from it all.
This has led to unprecedented stress on remote sites popular with RV boondockers.
While there are still many places out there where you can enjoy the outdoors, others are just too crowded. The unrelenting parade of motorhomes and travel trailers means less privacy, for sure, and it also has done damage to some sensitive areas, including protected wildlife habitats.
Some Boondocking Sites Have Already Closed
In addition, some popular locations for boondocking have had to be shut down because of problems from overuse. People have been left big piles of litter behind, and some have even emptied their waste tanks directly on the ground with no attempt to even cover it.
Many of these favorite dispersed camping getaway spots are on national forests or Bureau of Land Management properties, and they just don’t the personnel to clean up these mess. In some cases, they have had to make the drastic decision to shut down these areas that are set aside for free camping.
It’s a simple concept to show respect to the natural areas you are enjoying, but apparently it’s one that many people have failed to grasp.
These 10 Boondocking Spots Are Overrun Right Now
With such a demand for outdoor spaces, you might have to look a little harder to find fresh air and elbow room. In fact, here are 10 boondocking sites that are overrun with RV campers:
The Main Drag 525, Sedona AZ
GPS: 34.8334, -111.9083
The word is definitely out about this gorgeous site for dispersed camping in the Coconino National Forest. It’s remarkably close to downtown Sedona but feels like it’s a world away.
The road is alternately known as FR-525 and Loy Butte Road. While the approach into the area is a bit rough, there are great sites just a mile or so from the main highway.
Nomad View, Wall, SD
GPS: 43.8898, -102.227
Seeing the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands in person is an unforgettable experience, as more people are finding out every day!
These spots just outside the badlands of South Dakota that were once so scenic and serene have become congested at times. Some have even had trouble finding a spot at all along the rim.
Others complain about having to deal with the constant hum of generators.
Blankenship Bridge: Glacier National Park, Montana
GPS: 48.4641, -114.0726
This place was sometimes busy before the pandemic but there were quiet times, too. The problems have been severe since around Labor Day, when there were too many RVs to count and big piles of litters and human waste.
Locals have been hoping the stream of visitors would stop. They’re afraid there will be permanent damage to what they consider their little slice of paradise.
American Girl Mine: Winterhaven, California
GPS: 32.8368, -114.812
While it’s located in California on BLM lands, this popular site is just 10 miles from Yuma, Arizona. Normally there of lots of open spaces to explore, and it’s easily accessible with practically any size rig.
Expect lots of company these days, however.
You might have better chances mining for gold than scoring a secluded spot.
Craggy Wash: Lake Havasu, Arizona
GPS: 34.5935, -114.3619
Craggy Wash is always a popular area because of its proximity to scenic Lake Havasu in western Arizona – it’s often described as kind of a beach oasis in the desert.
Besides the typical returning visitors there were apparently many more people who scratched it off their bucket list in 2020.
North Creek BLM: Virgin, Utah
GPS: 34.5935, -114.3619
This scenic area near Zion National Park is marked by a unique landscape of sandstone cliffs that tower thousands of feet above the canyon floor.
The canyons offer nearly endless possibilities for activities. Besides campers, these BLM lands are home to an amazing diversity of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, and marmots.
Magnolia Beach City Park: Magnolia Beach, Texas
GPS: 28.5599, -96.537
Normally, this is peaceful and relaxing stretch of sand that’s a welcomed reward. Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast is usefully a safe bet for at least a bit of solitude. But this year, of course, all bets were off.
When it’s not crowded, it’s a boondocker’s dream – especially if you love fishing!
Plomosa Road, Quartzsite, AZ
GPS: 33.7488, -114.2162
Every January, this area is a mecca for RVers. Thousands gather for the annual RV trade show. This particular site is popular among boondockers for much of the year, except for when the extreme desert heat drives them toward colder climes.
With record crowds, it’s obvious that many RV enthusiasts decided this year to find out what all the fuss is about.
Mittry Lake, Yuma, AZ
GPS: 32.8199, -114.4701
Just down the highway in Yuma, the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area is also feeling pressure. This unique area in the Colorado River basin consists of 3,000 acres of lakes and marshlands.
In the summer you can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. You can even go fishing in the winter – when it’s not too crowded!
Upper Teton View, Moose, WY
GPS: 43.7638, -110.5527
Even way up in Wyoming they are not immune to the problems caused by more people than ever seeking safety outdoors. It’s a short drive from the main entrance to Grand Teton Park. And, like its name implies, offers a majestic mountain view.
You can never be sure you’ll land a great spot here, but now your chances are smaller than usual.
Be a Good Camper and Leave No Trace
Unspoiled beauty is one of the things we love most about camping. It’s shameful and sad that there are some among us that don’t abide by the “leave no trace” ethos and end up spoiling it for all of us.
A lot of these lands that are popular among boondockers are fragile, and there are fears that some of them may not recover from the steady stream of visitors they have seen in 2020. Hopefully we can work together to protect them so they’ll be there for us when we need them.
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I don’t R/V. It seems the old rule applies here as well, the “few” ruin it for ALL the good campers/people. The older I get the more I realize what a tragedy it is. Good Luck to the MAJORITY!
Thank you both for this! Alot of people are passionate about leave no trace, Also we need to speak up when we see this happening ! Thanks for all your great information keep it coming
Greetings and Thank-you both for all the work you do to keep Us on the road .
In this article I have gone to many the Arizona spots for boon-docking this year.
I find that there are not many people around any of these places. (I stayed in the Williams forrest area in September and did not go into Sedona tho.)
I have been pretty isolated actually . I also have not seen as much garbage ( if any) as I have in previous years at the same areas.
It would be great if you could add the cell signal reports in each area which would be helpful for those of us needing or wanting a signal. You used to include this is your old videos that I watched.
I think when you rely on others to report to you It sometimes is different than reported. The campgrounds and parks are crowded and the open spaces are plenty to be found.
Don’t follow the crowds and you will find huge amounts of open free spaces to be camped at..
☀️Happy Holidays 🌵
Thank you for the information that you have given. I have noticed on some of the campgrounds the trash is a little heavy. For the most part people do pick up after themselves. I’m a weekend camper but I do love camping it’s in my blood. 2021 I’ll be on the road more looking for great places to enjoy Mother Nature. But it is getting crowded on the road. Thank you both for all the great information.
It’s sad that newbie’s have too ruin it for the future I hate too see thing get to the point when government might have too get involved . The few who don’t wish too see place’s close up need to RAT on the offenders . IF the cost of clean up is pass back on them they might be willing to change or stop camping HOPEFULLY! AS I see some walmart’s are stopping over night camping ; too stop the mess that is left! Leave no trace need’s to be preached..
I’m a tent boondocker with 4×4, my goal is to stay away from RV’ers. Definitely pack in/pack out ethos. It’s sad, though, that so many do ruin things for others. Safe travels!
My daughter works on a national forest in Arizona. They are giving serious thought to closing their boondocking sites thanks to people being selfish slobs. Forest management is getting tired of the messes people are leaving.