We hadn’t quite figured out where we were going to be for Christmas this year but when Brad mentioned a free boondocking spot on the Colorado River I was quick to sign on. This spot is just a few miles from the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, on the California/Arizona border.
THE QUICK DETAILS
- This is free camping on Fish & Wildlife Service land with trash cans, a vault toilet, fire pits and picnic tables
- GPS 33.3771, -114.7057
- We were here Dec. 23-29, 2018 and had mild weather with some windy days
- We paid $10 to fill our water at nearby Karl’z Country Store
- You can see more photos and reviews on Campendium
As you pull into this camping area, you’ll see 6 pull through spaces, each with a covered picnic table, fire ring, and trash can. There’s a vault toilet at the north end of the gravel lot and the public beach is at that end as well. When we arrived there was only one other camper and instead of the pull through spaces, they had actually chosen a spot right next to the water. We saw a nice big fire ring at another spot right on the water, and the very southern end of the lot, so we thought why not! This gave us a lot of privacy, with thick bushes on either side of us, and there was water access right from the site – although the climb down to it was quite steep.
If you can break away from the peaceful sights and sounds of the river, you should be sure to stop at nearby Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a 3-mile auto tour in the refuge that allows you to see some really fantastic wildlife – mostly birds but we also saw deer and a coyote. There is a short walking trail within the auto loop that takes you to a blind, where you can get a closer view. I’m guessing we saw SO many birds because we were here during the winter, so keep that in mind during your visit.
Other noteworthy items from this visit were that on our way to this boondocking site we visited the Blythe Intaglios, which are geoglyphs! They’re artworks created in the ground to be visible from the sky. On the ground you don’t necessarily get a good sense of it but there are placards with images on site letting you know what you’re looking at…and of course we had to put up the drone to really get the bird’s eye view. Pretty amazing stuff. Geoglyphs are difficult to date but these are estimated to be between 450-2,000 years old.
The other bit of excitement was that we caught a mouse in the RV (we use a humane trap baited with peanut butter) and heard another one but it wouldn’t go into the trap. We got a lot of great suggestions for catching mice in the comments section of our YouTube channel so if you’re looking for ideas, go check it out! Oddly enough, we stopped hearing or seeing signs of the second mouse and now, many weeks later, there’s still no further sign of it. I’m guessing it got out and couldn’t find a way back in? Regardless, we’re glad to seemingly be rid of it!
As mentioned, we had water access right from our site and the river looked pretty dang inviting. If we had had warmer weather we definitely would’ve launched the kayak and SUP. We saw some brave soul’s swimming at the public beach and their voices carried over the water down to us but we mostly just heard yelps of how cold it was! All in all, this was a peaceful and lovely place to stay, we caught several gorgeous sunsets, and we would definitely return!
Here’s our video from our stay in this beautiful area!