Dispersed camping areas are the best choice for touring the west on a budget, because there are no campsite fees. Some of the boondocking areas are located in picturesque places that are fun to explore, while others are nothing more than a barren flat spot in an open field. The access varies too and the boondocking areas that appeal to RV campers and trailer haulers tend to be located near the main road. The roads to dispersed camping spots in a remote wilderness areas up in the mountains may be way too rough for RVs and trailers, but these boondocking areas are perfect for 4x4 vehicles, horseback riders and hikers. For this reason, researching the ease of access when planning the trip can save plenty of headaches upon arrival.
Dispersed camping areas are usually located on BLM or National Forest Public Lands and the rules are basically the same. "Pack it in-pack it out" is the most important regulation to remember and this includes sanitation. Campers are required to have a portable toilet when camping in dispersed areas that have no sanitation facilities. Recreational vehicles are nearly always fully plumbed, so they have the edge in this department. Car and tent campers are required to have a porta-potty, bucket or bag system, which is an easy rule to satisfy even when on a tight budget.
Many dispersed areas have an official campground host, especially in the BLM Public Lands. The host basically monitors the free campground and they make sure the rules are followed. For some BLM dispersed campgrounds the guests are required to sign a camping permit, which is no big deal. The hosts actually do represent the rangers and they are the official mediators if a problem arises.
The reason for the general information will become evident upon arrival at Craggy Wash. This dispersed camping area has campground hosts, no sanitation facilities and camping permits have to be signed onsite. The access road is easy to find at the north end of the Lake Havasu Airport and after entering the canyons the city lights disappear. The dirt access road runs up a steep desert mountain dry wash and there are no guarantees as to what the road condition will be, especially after a rainstorm.
For the most part, RV campers and trailers can easily get to the low elevation Craggy Wash dispersed campground, while going any further uphill will be a struggle. On the other hand, those who drive a high ground clearance vehicle will find plenty of breathing room further up in the mountains and the views will be much better. The Craggy Wash Road actually is a semi-circle route that goes through the mountains and back downhill to Lake Havasu City a few miles south. The local four wheelers like to carve up this desert mountain trail on weekends, so it is best to select a campsite that is not right next to the dirt road.
The Craggy Wash Dispersed Camping Area appeals to winter season campers and during summer this campground is empty because of the extreme heat. There is plenty to explore in these mountains and this is a true rock hounding area. Lake Havasu is right next door, so catching some fresh fish for dinner is possible. The only downside concerns flash floods, because this is a long steep dry wash. For this reason, if heavy rain is in the forecast, it may be best to camp somewhere else. Other than that, Craggy Wash is a great place to be and best of all, the camping is free!
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