If you want to wake up in the mid forest or alongside a river and have an adventurous day ahead, then camping in Arizona has all you need. This guide on the Best Camping in Flagstaff AZ will help you explore all camping trip options including hot nights in the desert, relaxing around a campfire beneath ponderosa trees, and even lounging beside a lake with a fishing line.
Flagstaff, one of the most biologically diversified cities in the state — and possibly the country — can contribute to a lot of that knowledge.
Camping in Flagstaff, Arizona, allows you to see the state’s highest peak, Sedona’s red desert, and a variety of lakes and rivers along with the state’s most popular ski resort.
While the amenities (zero to showers and special programming) and prices (free to more than $50 per night) of the campgrounds on our list vary, they’re nestled among the pines and ideally marked for a week of adventure.
#1 Bonito Campground
The Coconino National Forest manages the Bonito Campground outside the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Bonito Campground is a well-kept, concrete area nestled beneath an old-growth Ponderosa Pine canopy, keeping the campsites mostly sheltered from the summer sun.
The neighboring cinder-cone volcanoes and night-black lava flows have drastically shaped the terrain. Astronauts used to do moonwalks out here because it is so out-of-this-world.
The 1.7-mile Lava’s Edge Trail connects the campground to the monument’s two main walks, the Lenox Crater Trail and the Lava Flow Trail, for visitors who want to get around on foot.
Aside from that, the park is easily accessible by automobile; however, parking on busy summer weekends can be a problem.
The adjacent Wupatki National Monument and its ancient remains are about a half-hour drive away, and Desert View on the Grand Canyon South Rim is just over an hour away.
While the Bonito Campground, hosted by sunset crater, does not take bookings, the nearby O’Leary Group Site can be reserved ahead of time.
#2 Flagstaff KOA
The Flagstaff KOA welcomes all types of campers with tent, RV, and cabin sites nestled among the pine woods, suited for RV camping as well. If you don’t have your rig and want to try something new, the KOA also lends out teepees for a great evening without the bother.
The Flagstaff KOA’s excellent amenities are popular with campers; however, the park can get crowded on summer weekends, especially if you’re camping in a tent.
There are lots to do for the youngsters, including a “Jumping Pillow” and a playground; the campsite’s friendly staff members also put on numerous summer programs. If the kids aren’t weary after a few hours at the playground, take them to the nearby trails to get some fresh mountain air and see the Coconino National Forest’s waterfalls. It is about a day trip from the Petrified Forest.
#3 Cave Springs
Cave Springs is among the most popular camp spots around Flagstaff, Arizona, so make your reservations early during the summer months.
You can evidence how popular this site is by watching the same crowd coming back year after year for the exciting adventure and fishing opportunity this place offers.
One of the 89 sites is just for tents, while the rest have hookups for rigs up to 36 feet.
Almost all the campsites are on the banks, making the camping experience calm, with running water ambient noise alongside. Cave Springs is a fantastic starting place for hikes in the Coconino National Forest and adjacent Sedona. At Cave Springs, there are also lots of trees for a relaxing time in the hammock or to try hammock camping.
#4 Canyon Vista Campground
The Canyon Vista Campground is the nearest to the town of the campgrounds off Lake Mary Road south of Flag. It’s a terrific site if you want to explore Lake Mary and Ashurst Lake while keeping close to Oak Creek Canyon’s higher levels. It is located near the hiking trails in Walnut Canyon and close to the Meteor Crater.
Sandy’s Canyon Trail, which connects to the Arizona Trail and finally leads to Fisher Point, is famous for hiking and mountain bikers. Climbers can approach Le Petit Verdon, also known as the Pit, via Vista Loop Trail. Hence, it is a must-go spot for hiking and mountain biking.
Anglers will need to drive to get to the water, but Upper Lake Mary is only a 10-minute drive away.
The campground is well-kept, nestled among the cool Ponderosas, and provides pleasant but fantastic views of the famed San Francisco Peaks if they are distant. Additionally. This camping site offers quick access to the town and the Oak Creek Canyon.
#5 White Horse Lake Campground
Once you drive past 15 miles from the city, White Horse Lake Campground provides a welcome escape from the metropolis of Flagstaff. White Horse provides a private haven for relaxation and recreation and hiking, biking, and fishing at a local lake popular with anglers.
There are many trees to provide shade at each of the campsites, and paths leading into Kaibab National Forest depart from the campground. Pit toilets are accessible, and drinkable water is supplied from several fixtures throughout the campground.
#6 Pine Flat Campground West
Pine Flat Campground West, like Cave Springs Campground, has 60 sites along Oak Creek, with practically every site providing easy and quick access to the creek. While Pine Flat does not offer showers, campers can go to Cave Springs and utilize their token-operated batteries for $4 apiece. You can also make a nice camp shower by rinsing it off in the creek using non-harmful organic soap.
There are hiking paths in the Coconino National Forest nearby and plenty of trout fishing in Oak Creek’s waters. The campsites are large, and the noise level is moderate in comparison to the rest of the campground, despite its proximity to the road.#7 Fort Tuthill County Park
Fort Tuthill County Park is great for large groups like family reunions if you’re in town for a show or expo. It also provides convenient access to Flagstaff and the amphitheater.
Other than portapotties, there are no amenities; however, campers claim that they are clean.
The County Park near Flagstaff, Arizona, offers more than simply camping.
If you enjoy adventurous activities, this site has a high ropes course to add some thrill to your vacation. Several mountain bike paths leave from the campground if you prefer human-powered fun.
#7 Lockett Meadow Campground
The beauty of Lockett Meadow Campground is uncanny. While the route to the Lockett Meadow campground might be rocky and jarring, the vistas and spaciousness of the campsites make the journey worthwhile.
Once you arrive at Lockett Meadow Campground, the site will welcome you with 17 fantastic, first-come, first-serve campsites. This site is relatively popular among the people, and thus it doesn’t take too long for these sites to become crowded.
This popular campground is surrounded by aspen and pine groves, with trailheads leading to magnificent overlooks of the valley below. Humphrey’s peak, also known as the highest point of Arizona, is located at Lockett Meadow Campground.
#8 Freidlein Prairie Dispersed Camping
Before you drive to Freidlein Prairie Camping Spot, make sure you aren’t riding a low clearance vehicle, or else it will be challenging for you to reach here. These free campsites are lovely and excellent for a cool respite from the scorching heat of Phoenix and southern Arizona once you’ve made your way up the road.
Ensure your camp is in one of the authorized pull-outs across the road and avoid constructing a second fire ring.
These campgrounds were built by the Forest Service to help with roadside erosion. From March 1 to August 31, Sites 10-14 are closed for breeding Mexican Spotted Owls.
#9 Ashurst Lake
Ashurst Lake is surrounded by two campgrounds, Ashurst Lake Campground and Forked Pine Campground near Anderson Mesa forests.
Because it is usually windy out this way, wind-surfing is a viable activity. Aside from that, Ashurst is a terrific place to go fishing and relax while taking in the sights.
The roads are typically passable for sedans, making them accessible to almost everyone.
The land is covered with short Pinyon pines and Juniper trees, which don’t block the farther view of San Francisco Peaks. The site is quite dry and not lushed with greens.
Few people visit this area because of the dirt road access, making it quieter, especially because powerboats are not allowed on this lake.
#10 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
In the south of Arizona, near the Mexican border, is another mesmerizing camping spot, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. This is the spot to go if you want to get away and camp in the desert beneath a star-filled sky.
The organ pipe cactus is a unique plant that you can only find in this part of the state. The mountains, saguaros, organ pipe cacti combined with a green desert create an amazing natural wonderland.
Organ Pipe National Monument also boasts one of Arizona’s top treks. It’s simple to keep yourself entertained in this park.
The campground is covered with green desert with mountain views. The campground rarely, if ever, fills up, especially on weekends, due to its distant position. The 208 campsites are divided into one for RVs and another for tents without generators.
This campground, which is relatively safe for birdsong, has an end-of-the-world air about it, but it provides a reasonable comfort level, with bathrooms and flush toilets.