Boondocking Highlights of 2016

So we made it to the end of the year and so I thought I would recap our boondocking spots in case anyone is starting to plan their 2017 summer and to get this in before I start writing about Asia!

Arizona

FR 525c- Sedona/Cottonwood, AZ

We started this adventure in Arizona and we started it with two weeks of boondocking and not knowing anything about anything. We did our research and read a bunch of stuff so of course we were fully ready for anything…

Our favorite boondocking in Arizona was in Sedona off of 89A on FR525. The west side of 89A, the east was a bit scary for us with few chances to turn around. If you have a scout vehicle do it before driving anything of size that way. Going west there are tons of group spots and individual spots.  This was our home for two weeks. All to ourselves and quiet and very RV friendly. Here is the link to the blog post we wrote about the area: Sedona

We did learn that we did not have enough solar and that we were sh*t out of luck if it rains for 6 days straight. Head lamps and portable heaters were our friends and starbucks during the day.

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FR 688- Tusayan, AZ

Our second favorite spot was just outside the Grand Canyon. The only reason it wasn’t our favorite is because there isn’t much to do in the area other than the Grand Canyon. Of course, this is definitely enough with all the hikes and sites to see, but if it’s raining, there isn’t much else to do.  We actually met three different couples here and we are in contact with all three still! Good group and individual spots and there wasn’t much traffic on this road because it doesn’t go anywhere. Oh, if you are into half marathons, there is a good one in April.

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Utah

Twin Hollows Canyon, Mt. Carmel, UT

This is the only placed we boondocked in Utah and we liked it a lot. If having a strong cell service is a must for you, then this is not the place.  The restaurant up the road has amazing root beer floats and they have good wifi and honestly don’t care how long you sit. They were the friendliest people, otherwise you can always sit in the parking lot. They have a really cheap 9 hole golf course too! The location is really close to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Dixie National Forest and Kanab (best friends animal sanctuary) and it’s right along a river. Don’t go too much farther past this spot as there isn’t a good turn around.

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Colorado

We boondocked a lot in Colorado.  We were here for a total of 45 days and so it was a must to keep the costs down.

Anvil Campground, Silverton, CO

This was our favorite of all the places. We were not prepare for the snow and freezing temperatures but we had the place to ourselves at the end of a dead end. There was tons of hiking in the area and small towns to get to. It was a train ride away from Durango and short drives to Silverton, Ouray and Telluride. I can’t say enough good things about this place and it probably has one of the best hikes in Colorado. Ice Lake Trail.  The river ran around our spot and then there was a hill to the other so we were secluded. There are a lot of other sites in the area so don’t be bummed if you miss out on this one.

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Twin Lakes North, Leadville, CO

This was a great spot. It did get a little busy on the weekends but the spaces were far enough apart with amazing views. You probably need 4×4 to get into some but when you reach them, you never want to leave. It’s close to Twin Lakes, Leadville and Buena Vista (my favorite small town in CO). There is a lot to do in the area so no worries if you think you might get bored. You can always take your car and never your rig over Independence Pass to Aspen.

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Other places in CO:

Shavano Wildlife Management Area, Poncha Springs, CO -This is close to Salida, but not much else. Long drive to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The actual area had a weird vibe. Tons of skeletons, road kill and bugs. I wouldn’t stay here again.

Stillwater Pass, Grand Lake, CO – Beautiful area but really busy. It’s close to Grand Lake, Granby Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park). You have to be comfortable around gun shots and a busy road. Great group and individual spots if you can get in and out of them.  I would stay here again.

Madden Peak Road, Hesperus, CO – This spot it in between Durango and Mesa Verde National Park. Again, the vibe was a bit weird but we were safe here. It’s a drive if you want to go anywhere though. I would stay here in a group, but that’s about it. The spots aren’t really there, you kind of create them. We found a spot that had tons of dead mice in mice traps. So beware of them.

Wyoming

Upper Teton, Teton National Park, WY

This place has spectacular views of the Tetons. A slight sketchy drive to get to, but it’s a big open area with a couple individual spots but it’s one big open area. It’s a good place to meet people and watch the sun set over the Tetons. The only negatives is that there are a lot of flies and mosquitoes during the summer. Not just a lot but A LOT. It’s also a drive to Jackson, the 22 miles takes 45 minutes each way, but you are close to the entrances of the park. Jenny Lake and a ton of hikes. There is also a herd of buffalo just north as well!

Idaho

Okay, so Idaho was nowhere on the itinerary when we first started this journey. I was like, I don’t need to stay there, what is even in Idaho! Well I was proven wrong time and time again.

We met friends in Ketchum (Sun Valley) and we didn’t boondock, even though there was tons and tons of spaces north on 75, and on Trail Creek Road, some were only 3 days and others were 16 but it was tough to get to these spots and they were on a cliff that I wasn’t comfortable being on.  The three day spots were small, the couple large ones were so buggy that it was impossible to stay. We didn’t end up boondocking here (weird, I know).  We stayed at Boundary Campground on Trail Creek Road. I am still writing about Boundary Campground because it’s 100% dry camping and still it was $10/night, but it was the perfect spot. We biked to town every day, our friends fished the river right there and there was hiking, running, road and mountain biking right off the campground. One of our top five hikes is in the area. Read about it here: Pioneer Cabin It was just overall perfect. Spot 8 we think is the best. No one right next to you and straight access to the river.  This is the second site we got next to our friends. I was ready to move here after 2 weeks.

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Old River Road, Linfor, ID – This boondocking spot was a killer, in many positive and negative ways. There are only a few spots and you have to have a really high clearance vehicle to get into the ones on the right. We still attempted, got into it with a lot of bumps, scrapes, dents and missing parts. But the spot was right up to the river and gorgeous. We watched tubers go down the river, the dogs played, we fished and watched the osprey fly around. It is a short drive to the 75 mile Coeur D’Alene bike path too. If you get the spot to the left you can back in and it’s not as dangerous. No rigs over 30′ though. Fair warning. Unfortunately we won’t be back. It’s not worth thinking you can get the primo spot. Plus there isn’t a place to turn around if you don’t get it that isn’t a tight squeeze and it’s non existent if there is a storm and a tree falls down.

Shorts Bar Recreation Site, Riggins, ID – This is just an open lot and it gets busy and there is an elk farm close where if you are there during the right time of year you hear the elk in heat, all night long… It’s good for a night stop and that’s about it.

Oregon

FR 4610, Bend, OR – This could be our no. 1 spot. There are a few negatives. During the summer it’s really really dusty, the road isn’t the best and if you rely on solar there are only a few spots that you might be able to get about 5 hrs of sun. Other than that it’s awesome! Close to town, close to Tumalo Falls, hikes, road biking and one of the best mountain biking circuits we have seen. Phil’s trail is probably the most popular because it’s for beginners but still technical for a veteran. The boondocking spot is right smack dab in the middle of the biking trails so you could pick it up whenever you wanted and go as long as you wanted.

Small warning there are mixed reviews of this area. Some people do not follow the 14 day etiquette and the rangers don’t really enforce.  There are also people that are disrespectful on their garbage and a couple spots were littered with tons of it and a lot of broken glass. Just do your part and help clean up a little. It sucks doing it for people who don’t care, but it was our home for two weeks and we wanted it clean.

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California

Lake Shastina, Lake Shastina, CA

There isn’t much boondocking in CA, but we found a great spot. Although I think it might be a great spot due to the time that we were there. It gets pretty busy in the summer, even with the lake having receded so much. We had it to ourselves pretty much and it was great. There is a lot to do in the area and right there at the lake. However, you definitely need to watch the weather reports. If there is high winds in the forecast, get the heck out of there. Otherwise, if it’s sunny, it’s perfect!

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So these are the places we have stayed so far and our favorites, let us know if you have any to share or if you would like more information on any of these places. We love boondocking!

Note: we do not have a generator and rely on solar. You can read about that here: Solar/Inverter

Good luck, have fun and be safe out there!!

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