Schnebly Hill Road

Red Rock Ranger District

Coconino National Forest

Free Camping Near Flagstaff, AZ

Also known as Forest Road 153 (FR153), Schnebly Hill Road is a 12-mile dirt road connecting Arizona’s I-17 at Munds Park with SH-89A in Sedona. The first 6-miles of the road from Munds Park in the east are filled with numerous camping opportunities, all of which are free, primitive, boondocking sites. The most popular camping sites are within the first three miles, where the road remains relatively smooth. The next three miles after that become more rocky and bumpy, but its campsites offer far more privacy and seclusion. Once you get to Schnebly Hill Overlook, it’s all downhill into the town of Sedona.


Red Rock Ranger District

Coconino National Forest

Red Rock Ranger District Office:

Tel: (928) 282-4119


GPS: 34.9079, -111.6442

Reservations: First come, first served

Camping Fee: None

Permit: None

Max Stay: 14 days

Amenities: None

blm map overlay BLM  national forest overlay USFS  national park map overlay NPS  national wildlife refuge map overlay NWR  city boundary map overlay City  private property map overlay Private  wilderness area overlay Wilderness [CTRL + Left Mouse Click] for 3D Tilt

Schnebly Hill Road, Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest remains high on every boondocker’s list of favorite forests, mostly due to the cooler weather in summer, the shade of tall mountain pines, and the dozens of hiking trails offering grand views of red rock canyons.

Schnebly Hill Road happens to be one of the more popular boondocking roads in the Coconino because it offers so many opportunities for camping, yet still remains within a 20 minute drive into Flagstaff for just about anything you need.

If you want to get there early in the year, Forest crews generally open Schnebly Hill Road sometime in mid-April to beginning of May. You may encounter soft mud on some side roads at this time. If you prefer to wait until it gets a little more warm, try to pick out a campsite between Monday and Thursday. This is because by Friday the place will fill up quickly with campers and OHV riders.

Access along Schnebly Hill Road is mostly fine for low-clearance, 2WD vehicles towing large trailers, but only for the first mile or so. After the third mile, the road becomes quite bumpy, rocky, and rutted. You will definitely need high clearance. 4WD is not really needed for the first six miles, until after the road begins its descent into Sedona.

If you have a medium to large sized RV, you’ll want to focus on the first mile of Schnebly Hill Road branching off of I-17. This first mile is the easiest to drive on and offers lots of boondocking sites. Once the road reaches Foxboro Lake and heads up Schnebly Hill, it’s still driveable for large rigs, but becomes bumpy.

Around mile six, you should arrive at Schnebly Hill Overlook. This is perhaps the most popular destination along the road. Gorgeous views of Sedona nestled inside a cocoon of red rock cliffs treat the eyes and inspire the minds. There is no camping at this spot, and in fact there is no camping any further along Schnebly Hill Road. At this point, the road is all downhill and quite treacherous.

Coconino National Forest offers a 14-day maximum stay within its confines. Verizon 4G data comes in quite strong for about the first two miles off of I-17. Road noise from I-17 can be heard along the first mile of Schnebly Hill Road, but is easily tuned out.

Note: if you can remind yourself to wake up in the morning just as the sun starts to come up, take a walk outside and you will often see elk meandering about.

Pros: Camping in shade trees with tall mountain pines, plenty of rich pine tree scent, lots of hiking, gorgeous views at Schnebly Hill Overlook, great Verizon 4G signal

Cons: Noisy and busy with OHV riders on weekends, can be dusty at times, freeway noise from I-17 can be heard within the first mile along Schnebly Hill Road.

Price: Free

Max Length of Stay: 14 days

Access: Paved for a few-hundred feet from I-17 off ramp, then firm packed dirt and gravel the rest of the way. Smooth for the first 3 miles from I-17, bumpy and rutted from there after.

Amenities: No amenities along Schnebly Hill Road. Flagstaff is about a 30-minute drive away. The town of Munds Park is about 2 miles away with a gas station and a convenience store. There is a rest area right next to Munds Park with trash cans.

Cellphone Signal Strength: Verizon 4G cellphone signal comes in strong at 4-5 bars.

Insects, Pests, & Wildlife: A fair amount of flying insects were noted, but no mosquitoes. No signs of coyotes, raccoons, mice, or rats. Lots of deer and elk about.

Noise: Somewhat peaceful during the week, with occasional OHV riders going by. The weekend is much more busy, and you’ll hear a lot of noise. Some areas along Schnebly Hill Road offer secluded camping, mostly between miles 3 and 6 from I-17.

Safe or Sketchy: Seems pretty safe boondocking here. We camped here for 3 weeks.  Several times we left our trailer unattended while driving into Flagstaff for supplies, and experienced no problems.

How Crowded Is It: It gets pretty crowded during the weekend. During the week, however, it largely empties out. You will want to claim a campsite between Monday and Thursday. By Friday, nearly all campsites are taken.

Download Related Documents

West Sedona Camping and Campfire Prohibitions, Rules - Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District, 2022

West Sedona Camping and Campfire Prohibitions, Map - Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District, 2022

West Sedona Camping and Campfire Restrictions, Rules - Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District, 2023

FR 237 Designated Dispersed Camping Area (Pumphouse Wash) - Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District, 2015

2 thoughts on “Schnebly Hill Road”

  1. I stayed here for 4 weeks, not to be disrespectful of the 14 day limit, but because it was my first time coming to BLM camping in my van and I was a dumb ass. Never saw a ranger (I did at 14 days go into town for supplies, then moved approx 150 meters down from my original spot).

    I met a man on my last day who was looking SUPER rough and appeared to be living there full time. He was breathtakingly kind and friendly and had been picking up trash left by other campers. Opposite but similarly (?) there was a spooky woman with a pit bull down the road who had also apparently been there for a while. She was incredibly aggressive and yelled at me for disrupting her privacy/invading her space when I was merely walking down the public road quietly with my dog. Sensing that I had money (? I guess, I’m def not rich but clean up well) she flipped a switch and became super friendly, then offered to give a cut to my freshly groomed dog at a price only Beverly Hills would charge- I assume she was hard up on cash.

    Overall I had a nice time in the beautiful surroundings and felt relatively safe (sans a few dark nights with the heebie jeebies, can’t explain why those nights, because the others felt fine).

    I stayed my first night on that first 1 mile stretch and the ATV noise was unreal. It was a Saturday night. Kids were literally racing within feet of my van, and adults were tying it on like it was a mini Burning Man. My college dorm was quieter. But as soon as I got another mile beyond that it became very peaceful. And even though a scant few scattered neighbors were around, the closest about 2-300 meters away, I’d have thought I was the only one there for miles. Beautiful land, with the tiniest splash of eerie (again, I can’t explain why).

  2. We just camped with 30′ toy hauler and RZR From August 10-13, 2023. I drove up on Thursday thinking I’d have a better chance of finding a good campsite. Turns out there were virtually no campers there yet, so I had my pick. Even on Friday when I thought surely the hoards of weekend campers would arrive, it was very sparse with campers. Just was a light weekend I guess! I’m sure on holiday weekends it’s crazy there.
    Camping, weather and the trails were all great. While the official website said camping was closed to the west of the 17 on Schnebly Hill Rd, there were people camping there. I came across a Ranger who said the website wasn’t yet updated but – yes – camping was reopened on the west side. The first 6-1/2 miles West of the 17 are perfect trail conditions, as they’ve just redone that in July. South of the Vista there it gets rougher with lots of rocky areas, but still very passable. Saw plenty of OHVs, Jeeps, 4Runners, pickups, etc. on the entire 12.5 mile trail down into Sedona.
    Rain came Friday afternoon which generating some good mud to play in LOL.
    Still no campfires allowed, but the Ranger said they were having a meeting next week to discuss lifting that prohibition. But please check the official website for their updates.
    Overall this is one of the BEST places to camp for free (for up to 14 days), and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery and trail riding you’ll find. Enjoy!


Leave a Comment