Kaibab National Forest

Learn about camping and boondocking at Kaibab National Forest, Arizona

Kaibab National Forest Camping Rules

Kaibab National Forest Camping Rules


These official rules and regulations for camping at Kaibab National Forest were gathered from Orders issued by the Supervisor of Kaibab National Forest, along with information published U.S. Forest Service website, and from the Code of Federal Regulations…

kaibab national forest free camping

Boondocking at Long John Loop, Kaibab National Forest. Photo by whereiroamishome, FreeRoam

Kaibab National Forest, Camping Rules

Passes and Permits

Purchase of passes or permits is not required for boondocking (dispersed camping) inside Kaibab National Forest.

Areas Off-Limits to Camping

Kaibab National Forest maintains numerous areas that are either off-limits to camping, or are off-limits on a seasonal basis. Because these areas open and close throughout the year, you will have to refer to the Forest’s latest published Forest Orders. To see these Forest Orders… (Reference, Alerts and Notices, Kaibab National Forest).

Maximum Length of Stay

As of May 7, 2020, the maximum length of stay for camping at Kaibab National Forest is 14 days within any 30-day period. (Reference, Kaibab Forest Order 03-07-20-03-R).

Campfire Restrictions

A permit is not required to build a campfire while boondocking at Kaibab National Forest.

  • However, campfire bans and restrictions come and go throughout the year. Check with the local ranger district office (see phone numbers below) for the current campfire restrictions.
  • Current campfire restrictions are also published on the Forest’s website. (Reference, Forest Orders, Kaibab National Forest).

Gathering Firewood

You’re free to gather dead and down firewood to build a campfire while camping at Kaibab National Forest. You are not allowed to transport wood home or outside of the forest. You cannot cut down standing trees, dead or alive, without a permit, regardless for camping or home use. (Reference, Forest Product Permits, Kaibab National Forest).

Camping Setbacks

Water – The State of Arizona has a law prohibiting anyone from camping within 1/4 mile of a body of water (lakes, rivers, et al) or from a livestock watering container. This law is published under Arizona Revised Statute, Title 17 Fish & Game. (Reference, ARS § 17-308 Unlawful camping)

Roads – Kaibab National Forest prohibits camping any more than 30 feet from the side of a road or established clearing. (Reference, Dispersed Camping Guide, Kaibab National Forest)

Developed Areas – Kaibab National Forest currently prohibits camping within one mile from a developed campground. (Reference, Dispersed Camping Guide, Kaibab National Forest)

Target Shooting

Target shooting is allowed inside Kaibab National Forest and is restricted to Arizona’s statewide laws and regulations on guns. (Reference, Target Shooting, Kaibab National Forest).

  • You may not discharge a weapon within 1/4 mile of a residence, another campsite, or other developed area. This is an Arizona law that applies statewide.
  • You may not fire tracer bullets or incendiary ammunition (This is a nationwide rule of the U.S. Forest Service)
  • You may not shoot at exploding targets (fireworks, explosives). (This is rule for all forests in the south western USA) (Reference, Forest Order 03-00-00-19-001).

Off-Highway Vehicle Rules

Kaibab National Forest does not have any further OHV Rules beyond what rules the U.S. Forest Service has already issued nationwide, or what the State of Arizona has already issued…

  • Street-legal vehicles may be operated on all roads open for public use. Non-street legal vehicles are limited to only roads that are identified in the Motor Vehicle Use Maps for Kaibab National Forest. See “Motor Vehicle Use Maps” below.
  • Non-street legal vehicles must still meet State-mandated title and equipment requirements to be ridden on forest roads.
  • The U.S. Forest Service, including Kaibab National Forest, considers any vehicle capable of traveling over a non-paved road, an “off-highway vehicle”. This includes RVs, cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, everything.
  • The only distinction they make is between street-legal vehicles and non-street-legal vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Use Maps

These are the Forest’s official road maps. They indicate which roads are open to street-legal vehicles only, and which are open to both street-legal vehicles and non-street legal vehicles. They also explain which roads are designated as “dispersed camping”. For further discussion on this read, “How to Use Motor Vehicle Maps (MVUM) to Find Free Camping“.

Camping Rules that Apply to All National Forests

Disorderly Conduct

The following are prohibited (Reference, CFR Title 36, Chapter II, § 261.4 Disorderly conduct)…

  • Inciting others into violence,
  • Fighting, and
  • Causing public inconvenience, annoyance, or creating alarm by making unreasonably loud noises.


The following are prohibited (Reference, CFR Title 36, Chapter II, § 261.5 Fire)…

  • Leaving a fire without completely extinguishing it,
  • Firing any tracer bullet or incendiary ammunition,
  • Building a campfire without removing all flammable material around the campfire, and
  • Failing to maintain control of a campfire.

Occupancy and Use Restrictions

The following are prohibited (Reference, CFR Title 36, Chapter II, § 261.10 Occupancy and use)…

  • Building your own roads, structures, enclosures, or other improvements on forest lands,
  • Using forest lands for permanent residence,
  • Shooting a gun within 150 yards of another campsite, campground, residence, or other occupied area,
  • Abandoning personal property, including trash,
  • Parking a vehicle so that it blocks the flow of traffic,
  • Making unreasonably loud noises so that it disturbs nearby campsites, campgrounds, or other persons, and
  • Lighting fireworks or firecrackers inside caves.

Sanitation Rules

The following are prohibited (Reference, CFR Title 36, Chapter II, § 261.11 Sanitation)…

  • Possessing or leaving behind, trash, litter, debris in an exposed, unsanitary condition,
  • Dumping sewage or waste water (gray water) on the ground, and
  • Bringing in trash from home to dump into a forest trash container.

Additional Information

Phone Numbers

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