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When visiting Red Rock Country in north-central Arizona, most travelers aim for Sedona, a magical little town surrounded by sandstone canyons and buttes, pine forests, and lots of enchantment.
Once there, they find themselves entranced. With so many places to explore, it’s difficult to think of ever leaving. That’s when the prospect of free camping in Sedona sounds desperately appealing. Luckily, the Verde Valley surrounding this hamlet is full of boondocking opportunities! Let’s take a look at several options.
The Best Free Camping in Sedona
All dispersed camping in the Sedona area is on public land, mainly National Forest roads. Camping is limited to 14 days at these locations.
1. Forest Road 525C
Just 11 miles from town, the Forest Road 525C dispersed camping area is a wide-open region teeming with wildlife and sometimes wild life.
ATVs enjoy perusing the dirt roads here, alongside campers, but things quiet down come nightfall.
Campers report decent cell service with the major carriers. There’s room for rigs of all sizes, but beware — the road is pretty rough. Take it slow.
Keep in Mind: You can increase a weak cell signal with these cell phone booster options.
2. Angel Valley Road Dispersed
Just a little closer to Sedona, Angel Valley has room for only about eight smaller RVs, but the views are tremendous.
Another washboard road leads to the campsites, which have exactly one amenity — a vault toilet.
Cell service is spotty for both Verizon and AT&T, but you’ll be exploring the magnificent geology, so who needs to communicate with the outside world?
Prepare appropriately, as this area can get dusty. RVs may end up close together in the small space.
3. Coffee Creek Dispersed
In the same general vicinity as the Loy Butte Road, Coffee Creek has fewer campsites and a quieter vibe, except on weekends.
There are no amenities, but it’s only 11 miles to town, so spend your days hiking, shopping, and playing, then come back to your campsite for some stargazing.
It can get noisy and raucous at night, so this might not be the best place for free camping in Sedona if you’re looking for pristine silence in the evenings.
4. Loy Butte Road Dispersed
Located about a half-hour away from Sedona, Loy Butte Road lies closer to the red rock buttes for a stunning campsite background. And there are plenty of campsites off every spur.
The bad news is there aren’t many that a rig over 30 feet will fit into.
Juniper and scrub brush offer some shade and greenery, but there are no other amenities in sight.
Cell service is OK closer to the main road but non-existent farther in. Don’t count on it if you absolutely need it for work or school.
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling with a big rig, you’ll want to read our tips for boondocking with a large RV.
5. Forest Road 525C
Farther down off Loy Butte Road, you can find even more dispersed camping. Forest Road 525C has many campsites.
They’re not quite as scenic, but you can get better cell service here.
You may have to put up with some additional noise, as this is a popular road for ATVs, which also stir up lots of dust.
A staging area on the main road is available for those who offload side-by-sides, but big rigs should use a different road, as the campsites aren’t suited for anything larger than 30 feet.
6. Forest Road 9549
Even closer to the red rocks, Forest Road 9549 is located just off FR 525C, so ruts abound. But five campsites, complete with rock fire pits, make the journey well worth it.
There’s room for a few bigger rigs, and the views are great. After all, there’s nothing like waking up to a sky filled with hot air balloons right outside your door.
It’s also more peaceful at night than some other free camping in Sedona.
7. Schnebly Hill Dispersed
An hour’s drive in, Schnebly Hill dispersed free camping area sits above Sedona, looking down on the town and its surrounding red rocks.
It’s the perfect location for an escape with a view, with 40 campsites and easy access from I-19 to the east of town.
You can get to Sedona directly, but it’s a steep crawl on four-wheel-drive roads, so don’t rush it.
Some major carriers still get cell service here, but it will be a bit hit or miss whether yours does.
Sedona Is the Perfect Place for Free Camping
With such a popular tourist destination, campsites are getting more difficult to find in the Sedona area. But it’s encouraging that boondocking and dispersed sites still abound in Red Rock Country. In fact, free camping in Sedona seems to be a birthright that many still hold onto tightly. Be sure to enjoy your little piece of public land when you visit this oasis in the Arizona desert.
Have you ever done any boondocking in the Sedona area? Let us know about your favorite sites.