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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: There is propane and dump at the Shell Station at 611 Sidewinder Rd directly off I-8 a just few miles east of Ogilby Road.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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 (nearest dump at the Shell Station exit 164 off I-8). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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