So we actually first learned of this spot from fellow RVers Drivin & Vibin. It was probably a year ago that we watched a video of their favorite free campsites and Indian Bread Rocks was on there. I added it to our adventure list back then, not knowing when we’d fit it into our travels, but sure enough as we were leaving Albuqurque after the Balloon Fiesta this year, we saw that it was the perfect time to visit this area.
THE QUICK DETAILS
- GPS: 32.238785, -109.500545 (This is about 7 miles south of Bowie, Arizona)
- We filled our water tank at the Shell gas station off Interstate 10, on the eastern edge of Bowie
- This is BLM land with a 14 day stay limit. There are two small garbage bins and a vault toilet as you enter
- Big rigs will probably want to camp in the first three sites to the right of the picnic area, there are not many sites or turnarounds, and the road ends at a private ranch
- Parts of the road and the off-shoots are washes and will turn into flowing streams during heavy rain – which we had in late October
- Cell reception was a bit spotty and sluggish (we have both AT&T and Verizon) but workable
- With the rain we had, there were a couple waterfalls nearby and we loved climbing up all the giant boulders
If you’ve watched our YouTube video of this stop, then you know that our time here was kind of magical. We had a couple nights of intense lightning and thunderstorms, which I actually loved – our pup Paco not so much. I was able to capture some great footage of the lightning bolts using the 240 fps slo-mo setting on my phone. At that speed, it records in 720p quality, so not terribly ideal, but it really allows you to capture details you would’ve otherwise missed.
With all the rain, the desert smelled amazing and it increased the flows of the natural springs in the area. I discovered a small waterfall near our campsite and then we found a much larger one down a wash just before you enter the BLM area. We drove to it but be warned, it’s a narrow wash with lots of bushes and our little Honda CR-V (our first two car) got pretty scratched up! Once you reach the stream you can walk up the creek to get closer to the falls, and if you are somewhat agile you can climb up the falls quite a ways. On our first visit to the falls we had it all to ourselves. It was so much fun to explore that we went a second time so we could climb up it even further. There was evidence of people (shoes, beer bottles, and towels) but we never saw anyone. Being here when the water flow was strong was really impressive.
We had a couple really fun wildlife interactions during our stay. One day while I was scrambling on the rocks near our campsite, I heard the sound of an animal chittering at me. When I looked in that direction, I saw the most unusual and amazing animal I’d ever seen! It looked like a baby bear but with a super long ringed tail. I caught a little footage of it, you’ll have to check it out in our video below, but it was such an incredible experience. I felt like I’d seen a brand new species. I later learned they were actually Coatimundis. They are more common in Central and South America but there are some populations in Arizona. They’re very elusive and even though I took Brad back a couple times to look for them, they never revealed themselves again.
There are many free range cattle roaming this area, and unfortunately lots of flies because of them, but we still enjoyed seeing them. There were several evenings that we heard coyotes howling off in the distance, and we saw roadrunners and cottontails rabbits. Our campsite neighbor also told us about a couple packs of wild horses in the area and just when we’d given up on seeing them, they were hanging out right next to the road the day we left!
We had clear starry skies most nights and I was able to capture the movement of the Milky Way as it passed over the jumbo rocks. You can wach my timelapse of it in the YouTube video. The moment that the rocks start being lit up, and the Milky Way fades, is due to a mostly full moon rising!
All in all we truly loved our stay here and it definitely ranks as one of our all-time favorite places. There were a few other groups of campers here while we were. One big rig camped right near us but everyone else continued down the road – even another class A motorhome who stayed near the bend in the road. There was also a family that camped near the rocks just before you pull into the Indian Bread Rocks picnic area. There was one night that a group of rowdy campers far away from us were shooting guns (and what sounded like some small explosives) but it only happened one night. We still felt quite safe and plan to visit this amazing place again.
MORE DETAILS OF OUR STAY
Dates: October 21-27, 2018
Weather: Highs in the 70s, Lows in the 50s. Warm sunny days but we also saw heavy rain with thunderstorms
Solar Power: If the weather is sunny, there is unlimited potential for capturing watts. There’s not much shade. We had rain and clouds for two days straight and needed to use our generator a couple times
Access: Pretty good. The road from the highway wasn’t too wash-boarded when we came and there was no one there on a Sunday night so we had our choice of camping spots. If these had been full, we might not have stayed here because the other sites are pretty far in and having a 4x4 vehicle would be recommended
You can read more reviews from other campers on Campendium
And be sure to check out the amazing footage we captured at this gorgeous boondocking area: