Boondocking Site Review – Ogilby Road, Imperial County/Yuma, CA/AZ
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: Nearest propane and dump is at the Chevron Station at 611 Sidewinder Rd directly off I-8 a just few miles east of Ogilby Road, however it is expensive ($20 for dump only!). Cheaper dump is either Gold Rock Ranch RV Park (just up the road on Ogilby) that only charges $15 for water PLUS dump. Alternatively the Loves station in Yuma has a dump and only charges $10 (no water though).
- 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. Also almost everything on East side of Ogilby from the train tracks northwards is BLM so there are additional dirt roads north of these two options if you want more choice.
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. There are also additional boondocking areas north of this spot (the entire East side of Ogilby Rd north of the railroad tracks is BLM). 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. 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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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Terry Sarter says
Hi Paul And Nina, I would like to thank you for the great description of the American Girl mine area. I’m a rock and mineral collecter and will be travelling from Ajo (Darby Wells BLM) to Anza Borrego. So will spend a couple of nights where you were camping checking out the mines. Right now I am still in Canada and won’t be heading for Arizona until the beginning of Jan. Like you, I love boondocking. Take care. Terry Sarter
Oh you will LOVE the area. There are so many mines around there with tons of interesting stuff to discover. If you didn’t catch the link in my last post check out this map CLICKY -> just zoom out to see the other mines in the area. Enjoy!
Before we visited Yuma last year I looked into boondocking spots and found Ogilby Road. We had plans to visit Algodones (Mexico), however, so we ended up parking at a casino around 2 miles from the border. It’s certainly less scenic, but is another option for people heading to Mexico.
Good tip Yair! I’d heard about the Casino from some other folks, but didn’t know exactly where it was.
Great information. Thanks so much!
Susan Thomson says
Being a first time boondocker and also having concerns about it, you have been such a wealth of information. You have also been a great confidence builder for me even with my husbands disability as we travel…we will just have to make more adjustments now than we would have under normal circumstances. Thank you so very much for all you do to help us RV’ers.
So happy it’s helpful. We were first-timers too once 🙂
Denise Murrin says
WOW, That is really an impressive and detailed review. Such a great source of information for others. Thank you !
Jim Mellema says
That’s just amazing. Someday I’ll spend a week somewhere that no where!
just north of your boondocking area is http://www.goldrockranch.us/
go 3 miles north on Ogilby rd to gold rock ranch road then left (heading west) 1.25 miles to the campgrounds. water and dump available $15.00.
or pay the $20.00 and spend the night, mention Passport America.
Fabulous! Thanks so much for adding that info to the blog. Good to know.
RIP-OFF ALERT! The Shell station at 611 Sidewinder Rd is now Chevron, had no price signs up (1Feb15), charged $1/gal more than elsewhere for diesel, and a staggering $20 to use the dump! They also wouldn’t give any receipt. Methinks they’re ‘milking it’. The $1 for 5gals water machine was also ‘not working’ – perhaps they’re waiting for a technician to hike that machine’s prices higher too? Sadly we were leaving, full, and had to use it, not knowing where better to go.
You are TOTALLY RIGHT!! We encountered the exact same rip-off leaving Ogilby road this past stay (just last month) and I totally forgot to update my review. $20 to dump!!
I found out that Gold Rock Ranch RV Park (just up the road on Ogilby) only charges $15 for water PLUS dump. Also the Loves station in Yuma has a dump and only charges $10 (no water though).
Just updated the review, so hopefully others will know now.
Jason Reich says
Thanks for the clear description and information, we stayed just off American Girl Mine for an overnight boondock last week returning from Tucson, and it was very nice, much nicer than the casino parking lots we’ve used in the past.
Glad you enjoyed it. Hope it wasn’t too hot!
Hey…Thanks for the info on this area….we’ve always searched for a ‘remoter’
spot to unwind, and anxious to check this spot out….
wondering where this reactivated Am Grl mine is….is it visible on google earth, on the Mt. tops……i.e tailings type mine…do you have a rough idea of how far back in (from Ogilby), it is ? we do not want to be near truck or mine noise either !….quieter the better
Thanks for sharing
(Oregon is washing away as I speak !)
Bring on the Yuma warmth !!
Paul & Larken
The mine is *very* visible on Google Earth. It’s huge! Just follow the road back and it leads right to it. Enjoy the area.
Oh sweeeet! I am definitely hunting that down. Cheers for that tip.
Sally Gilbert says
Many thanks for your info on this BLM area, we used it last night as a stopover on our way to San Diego from Eloy, AZ.
As i am sure nobody reads all the comments, Please update to let folks know that right now access to the camping areas is difficult off both roads as they have recently been graded, leaving 2 to 3 feet of piled dirt between the road and the camping areas there is evidence of recent heavy rain in the area, as the washes are pretty rough, you can see that places previously used as traffic access between camping areas are now only really accessible by 4WD, at least where we explored on foot.
We were lucky, we used the American Girl Mine rd as we decided to be further from the rail line, and a couple of miles in there was a curve in the road that didn’t have any dirt piled up on the right, so we were easily able to pull off, and onto a nice flat area for the night. Really gorgeous area, though VERY windy til around 10pm, thought we might have to pull one slide in, but then it died down, thank goodness!
Thanks again for being such an inspiration. We are finally full timing – we don’t feel that the last 2 months count as we were in transition mode while selling our house in Phoenix, but it’s sold, and we are now on the road will still have to return to phoenix for the roof replacement, but heard from winnebago today that (at last) ours is next in line and will be started next week. In the mean time we will explore southern CA a bit, and are testing our solar, having finalized the installation last weekend.
Lithium batteries are great, aren’t they!!! We didn’t stick with our Morningstar MPPT controller after all, and have installed a Midnight Classic, purchased from Starlight Solar. Morningstar, as you know, is complicated to program for lithium, and Larry at Starlight pre programmed the Midnight for us, so it just dropped in and everything works great. We will have the hassle of putting the panels on the new roof, but everything else is in place now, so it shouldn’t be too much hassle. She said hopefully…..!
Devil Travels says
There’s free camping West of Pilot Knob LTVA? This is the first I have heard of it. So far, can’t find any other information to verify other than vague references by Techno Viking.
Thanks so much for this review! I have seen pictures from the area, but was not sure where it was. I am looking for next year, so will check it out then. Great Review!
Jeff and Deb says
Hi Paul , Nina and Polly- After years of reading your posts, we finally made it to Ogilby Road. After spending a week in Why, AZ around illegal aliens, drug mules, cholla and coyotes we are enjoying to wide open boondocking peaceful space that American Girl Mine offers. Sam had so much fun running off leash he ran 10 miles to our 5. Fun way to start the new year and decompress before we roll to crazy Q. Happy New Year!
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the area!