Our new morning cup-o-coffee view...not too shabby, eh?

The “sitting area” & view at our boondocking site

A pretty, but somewhat mixed boondocking site with convenient access to Congress & Wickenberg in Central AZ.

Location: Ghost Town Road, Congress, AZ
Coordinates: Entry to boondocking area around 34.188077, -112.858096. Link to map location HERE
Cost: FREE (14-day stay limit)
How We Found It: I’d heard about this spot from other bloggers (Bayfield Bunch, RV Sue) and also found it on freecampsites.net
Nearest Dump/Water: Nearest dump & water is at Escapees North Ranch around 5 miles south of Congress.

  1. Access – 2.5/5
    This is a rather small boondocking area with somewhat mixed access. To enter the BLM area you drive down Ghost Town Road until it turns to dirt. Approx. 1/4 mile down the dirt road you’ll see a green sign to “Pioneer Cemetery”. Turn right onto this road and you are in the camping area (you’ll see small signs listing 14-day camping permitted). The camping area stretches from the beginning of this road to a dead end near the back (probably only around a mile or so further down) with several dirt roads off to the sides leading to smaller sites. There is a large, flat area on the right near the very beginning of the road which has space for larger rigs and is the best bet for “beast”-size. There are a handful of sites in this area. As you go further back (or onto the side-roads) it becomes bumpy and significantly more rutted with only a few smaller sites best suited for higher-clearance and/or more nimble rigs. Road is hard clay when dry, but becomes very sticky & soft when wet so do watch the weather.
  2. Nature – 3.5/5
    Gorgeous nature with one main ding. The desert here is lush & green and lies in the backdrop of the Weaver Mountains. Most of the sites have excellent views with the lights of Congress just a mile or so away. The main ding is that some of the locals seem to use this area as a trash-dump so several of the sites were covered in trash and not usable.
  3. Isolation – 2.5/5
    This area is close to Congress (only a mile or so away) so it is frequently used by the locals for ATVing, horse-riding and target practice (several nights there we heard guns near the base of the mountains). The town is not a large one, so the crowds aren’t huge but we had someone come by our site at least once/day. Also since the boondocking area is not large you are likely to have neighbors (some of which look like they are semi-permanent).
  4. Pet Friendliness – 5/5
    Excellent spot for doggie. Lots of space in camp and plenty of dirt roads to explore. Desert is green with very few Cholla (paw-friendly ground). Just be aware this is rattlesnake country & they are active in the area.

Overall Rating = 3.4
BONUS ALERT = Camp within spitting distance of the old Pioneer Cemetery & the western town of Wickenberg, AZ!

Summary: This turned out to be a bit of a mixed boondocking site for us. The BLM here is a small area just around a mile or so from Congress near the old Pioneer Cemetery on Ghost Town Road. The desert here is very attractive, green & lush with the lovely Weaver Mountains right next-door and the excellent Pioneer Cemetery and remains of the old Mill just down the road. Access is super-easy with just a short 1/2 mile of graded dirt road before you hit the first boondocking sites. Views are great all-around with the lights of Congress just around a mile away. All of these things are positive. The dings come from the fact that this is a small & well-used area so there are only a small selection of sites, plus you are very likely to have company both from other boondockers (some of which seem semi-permanent) & locals using the area for ATVing, horse-riding & gun-practice (especially near the mountain). Also, some of the locals seem to use this place as a trash-dump site so we saw several sites which were completely unusable due to local trash (Al told us there are folks who come out and clean up regularly, but there always seems to be some trash out here). Lastly internet access is very marginal, even with a booster. These were the negatives. Bigger sites are at the very beginning of the boondocking area and this is where I’d recommend for “beast-size”. There are sites further back and along the side-roads, but these are very bumpy & rutted so only suitable for smaller or more nimble rigs. The road is hard-packed clay when dry, but becomes very sticky & soft when wet so watch the weather, plus this is an active area for rattlesnakes. Our site was a very scenic & nicely solo spot near the front of the road although we did have locals passing by each day. We came to the area to hang out with friends in Congress and visit the lovely western town of Wickenberg, AZ and for both of these purposes our site was fabulous. If passing through the area we’ll definitely camp here again, but if staying longer we’ll probably chose to go further south to larger BLM by Wickenberg, AZ (see below).

Extra Info: Very marginal/slow 3G Verizon signal even with a booster. Congress does have a local library (with WiFi) plus some of the local spots (e.g. Nikols West) offer WiFi. NO facilities (no garbage, no dump, no water).

Extra, Extra Info – OTHER BOONDOCKING: The other main boondocking site in this area is Vulture Peak Road just south of Wickenberg, AZ. This is a much larger area with many sites. It’s popular and we did see quite a few rigs out there, but there was space for many more. Very pretty area with better internet access (so it seemed). This would probably be our choice coming back to the area.

View of turn-off sign to Pioneer Cemetery.

View of turn-off sign to Pioneer Cemetery.

View down main road to boondocking area. This is hard-packed when dry, but gets very sticky when wet.

View down main road to boondocking area. This is hard-packed when dry, but gets very sticky & soft when wet.

14-day camping sign near the largest of the boondocking sites.

14-day camping sign in the larger boondocking area near the front of the road.

View of road to our site

View of road to our site

Back view of our site

Back view of our site

Side view of our site (see us?)

Side view of our site (see us?)

Typical site view

Typical site view

Another site view. This is in the larger section near the front of the boondocking area.

Another site view. This is in the larger section near the front of the boondocking area.

A smaller rig in one of the back sites. Road is very rutted & we'd never be able to get in there.

A smaller rig in one of the back sites. Road is very rutted & we’d never be able to get in there. This guy looked like he’d been here a looong time.

General Map of boondocking area

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14 Responses to Boondocking Site Review – Ghost Town Road, Congress, AZ

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for the RECON. Perhaps I will visit the area in my old camper next winter.
    Tom_Kathy_Retired

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s a neat little sightseeing area, and with your truck camper you’d be able to get into some of the more isolated sites.

      Nina

  2. Rowanova says:

    Nice review, Nina. Great pics showing a sampling of the area. Warm and sunny, gotta love that! :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Weather was definitely good while we were there. One very windy day, but otherwise perfect. It’s getting hot though, so time to move north.

      Nina

  3. Pete says:

    I’ve been watching your postings (in stealth mode) and enjoy the picts and the updates. An self contained RV in the desert seems very cool. Keep up the great postings.

  4. Lynda says:

    Another great review for future reference. We headed for Buenos Aires NWR after leaving Ajo, but somehow missed the designated parking you mentioned. I believe that turning toward Arrivaca we probably didn’t go far enough. Definitely our miscalculation!

  5. Sherry says:

    Sure sounds like you’ve covered it all with great details and pictures. Thanks AGAIN Nina.

  6. Two reads you might enjoy: The Courage to Create by Rollo May (1975, Norton) and — mentioned in Courage to Create — Creators on Creating: Awakening and Cultivating the Imaginative Mind(1997, Tarcher/Penguin)edited by Frank Barron et al.

  7. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Have you guys been to Oatman Ghost Town? I think it is in Mohave county near Bull Head city. You can spend all day there shopping the little stores and feeding the wild burros that roam the main street of town (they like carrots). Just remember that they are wild burros and don’t like to be petted. I did and got away with it because the burro I petted was hemmed in by other burros. But he had his ears back with murder in his eyes :) You can drive your Beast up there but park before you get to town in a place you can find. Better would be to take the TV. There is a restaurant in town that is built into the side of a mountain that serves good food in case you are hungry. Wear good walking shoes while in town you will need them. They also have a Gunfight on main street I think on Saturdays but better check to make sure. The town was named after a lady named Olive Oatman who was bought by Mohave Indians from other indians who had kidnapped her back in the 1800′s. While a captive her chin was tattoed, a custom of the Indians in that day. I think she was held captive for five years. I wouldn’t take the dog too close to the burros if I was you. Might start a stampede down main street.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We did not go there, but it sounds like exactly the kind of place I would enjoy. Cheers very much for the tip!

      Nina

  8. Virginia says:

    Hi Nina: First time poster here but have been reading your blog and want to thank you for all the great information about boondocking places in AZ. Do you have any favorite areas? Do you have internet access most of the time in these BLM areas? Have been contemplating the RV lifestyle myself. I’m retired and have a PT job I do at home on the internet so if I could bring that along with me it would make RVing more feasible for me. Your input would be appreciated. Thank you for all you do.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Arizona (as a state) is probably our fav spot, although we’ve done allot of great boondocking in California (east side) too. And yes, we do have a Verizon signal most of the time, although some of our more remote spots we may not get anything. I’ve got signal info on all my boondocking reviews (in “other info” section at the end).

      Nina

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