Red Rocks Ranger District, Coconino National Forest

Learn about camping and boondocking within Red Rocks Ranger District of Coconino National Forest

Dispersed Camping Near Sedona, AZ

Dispersed Camping Near Sedona, AZ


Dispersed camping near Sedona, AZ continues to be a constant pursuit for boondockers and dispersed campers, despite Coconino National Forest officials having banned boondocking and dispersed camping anywhere within a protected area (or buffer zone) near the city’s borders. However, as a compromise, the Forest has created eight “designated dispersed campgrounds”, eight (8) of which are located west of Sedona, and one (1) more north that had previously existed. There are also three (3) other true boondocking sites located outside of the buffer zone but still close to Sedona.

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Designated Dispersed Campgrounds Near Sedona, AZ

The nine (9) “designated dispersed campgrounds” plus the three (3) boondocking areas are all outside of the “camping ban buffer zone” surrounding Sedona. The eight (8) sites west of Sedona are small sites and only capable of accommodating four to six medium sized RVs. The additional site north of Sedona is a much larger area with three separate campgrounds, all free.

The three other true boondocking areas to the south and east of Sedona are noted further down this page.

Surprise Campground

(GPS 34.823278, -111.905539) – 8.5 miles to Sedona city center – With the closest proximity to Sedona, it’s also the most crowded of the designated dispersed campgrounds. You do get better views than Rockview Campground (below), but there is less highway noise.

Javelina Campground

(GPS 34.812026, -111.893884) – 8.6 miles to Sedona city center – Offering pretty views of the Coconino National Forest lowlands, this is a small campground with just a handful of sites. Your best bet is to get here from Monday to Thursday between 11:00AM and 3:00PM, otherwise, it’s unlikely you’ll find an open site.

Rockview Campground

(GPS 34.805845, -111.911745) – 8.7 miles to Sedona city center – Not only is this close to Sedona’s city center, it offers the easiest access for any vehicle. Scenery is not that great with little view of the famed red rock formations. You will also encounter a fair amount of noise from Highway 89A close by. But hey, it’s free.

Angel Valley Campground

(GPS 34.805387, -111.881163) – 9.6 miles to Sedona city center – This is a tiny designated dispersed camping area located just a little further down the dirt road from Javelina Campground (above). It’s located about 1/3 mile before a gated community and is on the east side of the road. Verizon cell signal barely comes in while T-Mobile and AT&T do not. There’s only room for about four to five RVs here.

Windmill Campground

(GPS 34.84610, -111.913592) – 10.4 miles to Sedona city center – This is another tiny designated dispersed camping area, suitable for three to four large rigs, or six to seven tightly packed cars and vans. There are other previously-used camp sites along the dirt road, but officially these are now illegal to camp in due to the boondocking ban surrounding Sedona.

Cockscomb Campground

(GPS 34.868108, -111.903902) – 12.3 miles to Sedona city center – Cockscomb offers prettier views of red rock formations than other designated dispersed campgrounds, but is also kinda small. It can accommodate only five to six RVs, and that’s packing them in close. You can fit more cars and vans, however. The road into here remains well-graded and easy for any vehicle.

Greasy Spoon Campground

(GPS 34.876177, -111.905379) – 12.9 miles to Sedona city center – Greasy Spoon offers a bit more camping space than Cockscomb and Windmill, yet offers great views of red rock formations. Because you’re further up Forest Road 525, you’re going to experience more noise from vehicles traveling up to the truck trails. Otherwise, the road up to here is well-graded and sufficient for any vehicle.

Nolan Campground

(GPS 34.883006, -111.909039) – 13.4 miles to Sedona city center – Nolan Campground is perhaps the better of the five designated dispersed campgrounds along Forest Road 525. It offers better views of red rock formations and has more juniper trees to hide behind. But, it’s still remains small and limited to just a few larger RVs. Cell signal from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T is pretty sparse as well. Road noise is louder due to closer proximity to truck trails.

Pumphouse Wash Campground

(GPS 35.05417, -111.72729) – 19.6 miles into Sedona city center – This campground is the only designated dispersed campground located north of Sedona along Highway 89A. It contains four “zones” each with several marked campsites. Pumphouse Wash offers the most boondocking sites, but is also highly popular and difficult to find an open site. Your best bet is to get here between Monday and Thursday, and arrive early between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Coconino National Forest has a special brochure just for this campground (click here to download).

Three Boondocking Choices Near Sedona, AZ

The following sites listed below are outside of Sedona’s buffer zone, and are available for real (true) boondocking…

Schnebly Hill Road

(GPS 34.8995, -111.65281) – 12.2 miles into Sedona city center – This is such a popular choice for boondockers that it’s difficult to not to mention it. However, even though this road leads directly into Sedona, it’s a steep, bumpy downgrade that would be best suited with a 4WD vehicle. Sometimes, this downgrade is closed due to landslides. But the thick cover of pine trees and higher elevation makes this is a great choice for summer boondocking, and you’re only about 20 minutes from Flagstaff.

Beaverhead Flats Road

(GPS 34.734878, -111.798844) – 13.4 miles into Sedona city center – Beaverhead Flats Road has several smaller spur roads that lead into boondocking sites situated on Coconino National Forest lands. These sites all sit outside of the protected Sedona area and are legal to camp on. You’re actually closer to the Oak Creek Village area, and you may even decide that’s good enough to just avoid Sedona altogether. Beaverhead Flats Road is well-graded and suitable for any vehicle.

Forest Road 689

(GPS 34.75851, -111.65375) – 24.0 miles from Sedona city center – Located on the east side of Interstate 17, this forest road may have the furthest distance from Sedona, but it offers good tree shade and better road conditions for most cars, vans, and RVs. The road is dirt and gravel, but it is fairly smooth and wide. There are several pull-outs and clearings along this road where you can park your RV or trailer. The sites are spacious and level, but they can also get buggy and noisy from the nearby highway.

Boondocking is Banned Near Sedona, AZ

Effective September 1, 2022, Coconino National Forest officials established a buffer zone on lands west of Sedona that bans all dispersed camping near Sedona, AZ. This was done at the request of local residents complaining about the sight of RVs and cars spoiling the view of red rock vistas. Even though the Forest’s official reason for shutting down camping had blamed campers for destroying lands, they did not ban locals from driving their own vehicles through the area.

Lands to the north (Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness) and east (Munds Mountain Wilderness) had already banned vehicles due to the legal definition of Wilderness.

  • Coconino Forest Officials have instead created eight (8) “Designated Dispersed Camping Areas” which are effectively small plots of land where free camping is allowed (which are all listed above). Some of these campgrounds are effectively dirt parking lots capable of accommodating only three to four RVs, or six to eight cars and vans. None of these campgrounds offers any amenities.
  • The additional ninth designated dispersed camping area (Pumphouse Wash), located north of the city, had already existed before the ban.
  • True boondocking is still available outside of the buffer zone, but will require a longer drive to get into Sedona.
  • Forest Order 03-04-06-23-03 – The official notice that establishes the buffer zone (depicted in red) around Sedona and bans camping in that area. Note that the green areas already had banned vehicles due to the designation as “wilderness”, though hiking and tent camping is still allowed in the green areas.
  • Forest Order 03-04-06-22-25 – The official notice that creates 8 of the 9 designated dispersed camping areas west of Sedona, along with a map that depicts their locations.
  • West Sedona Camping Ban Map – The official map depicting areas west of Sedona where camping is banend.
  • Decision Memo on West Sedona Camping Ban – The Forest’s official reason for shutting down camping at West Sedona.

More About Boondocking in Arizona

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

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