Boondocking Site Review – Ghost Town Road, Congress, AZ
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.