Boondocking Site Review – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Sasabe, AZ
A stunning and remote boondocking area in the natural grasslands of south-central Arizona
Location: Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Link to refuge HERE
Coordinates: Entry to Buenos Aires around 31.812813,-111.44365. The refuge extends south to Mexico and east to Arivaca, AZ. Link to map location HERE
Cost: FREE (14-day stay limit)
How We Found It: I originally heard about this spot from Ivan’s blog and subsequently found more information on the web.
Nearest Dump/Water: Not sure? Sanidumps lists this RV park ~19 miles form Arivaca. Household garbage can be dumped for free at the local Arivaca transfer station (west side of town).
- Access – 2.5/5
Mixed access here, depending on where you go. The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is huge (~118,000 acres) and has miles & miles of dirt roads. There are 83 total campsites throughout the refuge which are designated and numbered (no dispersed camping allowed outside of designated sites). Some of the campsites are along very rutted and difficult roads and thus best accessed by more nimble or high-clearance vehicles, whereas other campsites are along better roads with easier access. Road conditions change depending on weather, so best option is to call or scout ahead to find the most accessible sites. Out of the total 83 campsites we reckoned only around 8-10 were “beast-accessible” whereas the rest were best left to smaller rigs.
- Nature – 5/5
Outstanding nature here. This place is very remote and you’ll be completely surrounded by the natural grasslands with views sweeping all the way to the sacred Baboquivari mountains and the border of Mexico. Lots of lots of dirt roads to explore as well as some local hiking trails.
- Isolation – 4.5/5
Very good isolation here, depending on time of year. This is a rarely-visited refuge so chances are good that you’ll be alone, but there are regular hunting parties & back-road enthusiasts who frequent the refuge. Plus the closeness to Mexico means you will see border patrol quite frequently in the area. While we were there a large hunting party was camped a few miles away, but the huge size of the refuge our separation allowed us good solitude. We saw only a handful of cars/day down our road and during the mid-week we saw very little at all.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5
Another excellent location for doggie. Lots of open space around camp plus plenty of dirt roads to walk/bike/explore. Surroundings are mostly grassland & dirt which are easy on the paws.
Overall Rating = 4.25
BONUS ALERT = Camp in the glorious grasslands of southern Arizona withing view of the sacred Baboquivari mountains!
Summary: I originally heard about this refuge from Ivan’s blog and have wanted to come here ever since. The place did not disappoint! Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge covers 118,000 acres of natural grasslands in south-central Arizona from the border of Mexico to the base of the Baboquivari mountains. It’s very remote, it’s gorgeous and it’s the perfect spot to get away from it all. Plus it’s also ~10 miles from sleepy Arivaca and local hiking. It’s an unusual refuge in that camping is only allowed in designated sites all of which are numbered and signed. There are a total of 83 campsites along dirt roads throughout the refuge. Most of the sites are actually very spacious but accessibility varies tremendously. Some of the roads are extremely narrow and rutted, whereas others are larger and less bumpy. The road conditions change depending on the year (and weather) so it’s good practice to call ahead or scout out your site before bringing in your rig. The majority of the sites are probably best suited for more nimble and/or high-clearance rigs, but there are probably around 8-10 which are relatively easy to access (= closer to the main road) and can handle “beast-size” (again, depending on road conditions). Hunters & back-road enthusiasts do frequent the refuge (we moved because of a large hunter group coming in the week-end we were there) plus the border patrol is very active, but the refuge is large enough that if you can find a site, you’ll most likely have a very relaxing time. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and will most definitely be back!
Extra Info: Very varied 3G Verizon signal throughout the refuge. Some sites have no (zero) signal whereas other have 1-2 bars. NO facilities (no garbage, no dump, no water), however household garbage can be dumped for free at the local Arivaca transfer station (west side of town).