Boondocking Site Review – KOFA National Wildlife Refuge, AZ
A huge and very remote refuge along Hwy 95 between Quartzsite and Yuma in western AZ.
Location: KOFA National Wildlife Refuge. Link to official website HERE.
Coordinates: Multiple entries to boondocking here since the refuge stretches approx. 55 miles along Hwy 95. Southern end of refuge approx. 33.016001, -114.231399, northern end of refuge approx. 33.536428, -114.162434. Link to map HERE.
Cost: FREE. 14-day stay limit per YEAR (any 12-month period) within the limits of KOFA.
How We Found It: We heard about this spot from other bloggers (Bayfield Bunch have stayed here multiple times) and also found it on Campendium and freecampsites.net.
Nearest Dump/Water: NO facilities at all (no trash/water or dump) onsite. Nearest dump & water at northern boundary is in Quartzsite, AZ. Going south nearest dump/water will be in Yuma, AZ.
- Access – 4/5
Very decent access here, although (as usual) more remote campsites take more effort to get to:
Getting There -> Boondocking is allowed within the entire KOFA refuge. Access is from multiple dirt roads going from Hwy 95 into KOFA (Palm Canyon, King Road, Castle Dome, Blevens, Crystal Hill Road etc.). Most RVers chose either Palm Canyon or King near the middle. These roads are graded and wide, somewhat washboarded but otherwise easy to drive for any-sized rig. The roads are flat and easy towards Hwy 95, but get more bumpy and rough as you approach the mountains so big rigs are best off staying on the middle, flatter area. Smaller, nimbler rigs (especially those with high clearance and 4WD) can get more remote and explore the many, many rough dirt roads within the refuge itself. If staying in the southern part of the refuge (e.g. along Castle Dome Mine Road), be aware that the section of road between Hwy 95 and KOFA is military property (Yuma proving grounds) and does not allow camping (the signs will be obvious). In the middle and northern part of the refuge the area between Hwy 95 and KOFA is BLM and is open for camping.
Campsites -> Campsites are in obvious cleared-off areas off the main road. Many are very close to the main dirt road, but a few are off-road and further back. Regular road grading means there is typically a sharp berm or “bump” going from the main road to the camping areas so low-clearance big rigs need to watch for this before choosing a spot. Hundreds of extremely remote campsites within the refuge itself along rough 4WD dirt roads, but these require high clearance to access. No camping within 1/4 mile access of water sources (e.g. wildlife water tanks).
- Nature – 5/5
This is simply a fabulous spot. Lots of remote desert views here with the beautiful red/orange KOFA mountains as back-drop. NOTHING here but nature so there is really nothing to disturb your view.
- Isolation – 4/5
Very good to great isolation here depending on where you park. KOFA is a low visitation park so you won’t get many folks driving through, plus there is PLENTY of space so you have a very, very good chance of finding a campsite entirely to yourself. Big rigs will need to stay closer to the main roads and so will have more chance of company, but high-clearance campers (e.g. truck campers) can get very remote and are pretty much guaranteed to be alone. KOFA does also attract 4WD (jeepers) on occasion and the road gets dusty when they drive past at high speeds, but it’s not big traffic. Camping slightly back from the road will get you more privacy.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5
Excellent spot for doggie. Lots of space in camp and easy, surroundings to walk. There is some cactus around, and in some spots lots of cholla (especially towards the mountains) so be aware of this when you are choosing a spot to camp.
Overall Rating = 4.5
BONUS ALERT = Camp in quiet and isolation within view of the beautiful KOFA mountains!
Summary: This is a very remote, very quiet place to boondock. KOFA is HUGE (665,400 acres) and has miles and miles of dirt roads within it’s boundaries. Dispersed camping is allowed anywhere within the refuge on previously used sites for a max.limit of 14 days per YEAR. There are several roads leading into the refuge along a ~55-mile stretch of Hwy 95 all of which allow camping, but most RVers chose either Palm Canyon or King Road. The roads leading into the refuge are flat and graded, somewhat washboarded at the beginning, but become bumpier and rougher as you get closer to the mountains. Big rigs are better-off staying in the flatter in-between area, while smaller and nimbler vehicles can get further back into the refuge and really remote if they wish. Be aware that many roads within the refuge itself are very rough and require 4WD high clearance to access. Also in southern part of the refuge (along Castle Dome Mine Road) the area between Hwy95 and KOFA is military and does not allow camping, but in middle and northern part of the refuge (e.g. along King, Palm Canyon and Crystal Hill Roads) the area between Hwy 95 and KOFA is BLM and does allow camping. NO nearby facilities at all (no water/dump/trash/grocery etc.) so come stocked-up and prepared for the entire time you plan to be here. However lots of nature-stuff to do here including biking, relaxing, hiking and 4WD. Plus there is a most excellent ghost town along Castle Dome Mine Road. We stayed very close to the entrance to the refuge (near the BLM/KOFA boundary) and found a large, flat campsite with no near neighbors. We came here to get away from it all and this spot fit the bill perfectly. An incredibly quiet and perfectly remote boondocking spot. We’ll definitely be back.
Extra Info: Good Verizon signal (3 bars LTE) and ATT (3 bars 4G) . NO other facilities (no water, dump or trash). Nearest dump is either at Quartzsite (in north) or Yuma (in south).