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Hidden Gem: Free Camping in Tucson, Arizona

There’s a lot of information about Snyder Hill BLM scattered throughout internet review sites. Reading as many of these as possible, I was concerned about the campground before we arrived.

The common theme was “good location, average scenery, and slightly sketchy”.

Our experience doesn’t differ significantly from this; however, camping at Syder Hill has many advantages.

Here’s the rundown:

Location: Tucson, Arizona

GPS: 32.15788, -111.11542

Price: Free, for up to 14 days (we’ve heard the local Ranger is lenient if you keep a clean camp).

Date/Temp: February 1-8, highs in the 80s, low of 30.

Noise: This area was crowded during our stay, however the noise level was quite pleasant. The noise pollution consisted of distant generators humming, a soft rumbling highway, and some hippies doing hippie things in the evening.

Wifi/Cell: We had solid 4G AT&T service. Our T-Mobile hotspot had a spottier 4G signal, but still enough to stream movies and music. I assume 5G is readily available there now.

Grocery/Errands: Downtown Tucson is 10 miles away. Walmart is about 8 miles away. All the errands we had to run took about an hour round trip. Nothing is too far away, but traffic is busy this week due to the Rock & Gem Show.

Pro Tip: Here are 7 Stunning RV Parks in Tucson

Dog Friendly: The BLM land is very dog friendly. Some dogs roam free, but most are on leashes. We let River stay outside on a line; she enjoyed playing with insects and laying in the sun.

Scenery: The desert in Tucson is full of vegetation. Snyder Hill has trees, bushes, and cacti. A steep climb will get you to the top of the hill where you’ll get a 360 degree view of the area. We enjoyed this desert very much.

Entertainment: We spent one day hiking Agua Caliente in East Tucson. It was a scenic hike that led to a mountain top pond. Another day we visited Mission San Xavier del Bac – a 1700s Spanish Catholic Church. The Tucson Mountain Park, Old Town Tucson, and Desert Museum are all very close to Snyder Hill.

Overall: We’d definitely camp here again. Snyder Hill BLM serves as a great place to camp for free and be near all the amenities of Tucson.

There are all types of campers here, not just “well kept” rigs. So, if that tends to sketch you out, this might not be the campsite for you. We felt safe here throughout our stay and met some kind folks.

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  1. Blaize Sun says:

    Another great (free!) spot to visit in Tucson is Ted DeGrazia’s Gallery in the Sun. The Gallery holds so much art! Sometimes there is a guest artist in the small gallery too. The grounds are also really lovely with lots of cacti. Admission is free. I highly recommend this place.

  2. I wish we would’ve heard about it sooner! We’ll keep it on our list for next time