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Do You Need A Permit For Boondocking In Arizona?

RV enjoying Arizona boondocking permit rules
Boondocking in the Arizona desert

Arizona Boondocking Rules Rundown

It’s that time of year again when RVers flock to boondock and camp in beautiful Arizona. Some things might be different this year, but permitting for boondocking in Arizona is the same. Here is what you need to know before you head out to boondock.

The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management manages a whopping 12.2 million acres of public land in the state of Arizona.

Maintaining all of that land costs money. 100% of the revenue collected from recreation fees goes to maintain, improve, and provide visitor services at the site or area in which it was collected. So at least you can feel good that your money is staying in the area!

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So do you need a permit for boondocking in Arizona?

There are a couple of different types of areas for boondocking and camping that have slightly different rules. There are also two types of lands discussed: BLM land and state trust land.

Boondocking in Monument Valley, Arizona
You can go boondocking in Monument Valley, Arizona

Long-Term Visitor Areas

Long-term visitor areas (LTVA) are specially designated areas of BLM land in Arizona. These special areas are for people who want to stay longer during September to April.

However, you do need to purchase a seasonal special recreational permit. This permit lets you stay in the 2 LTVA areas in Arizona (and 6 in California). The 2 LTVAs are Imperial Dam LTVA near Yuma and La Posa LTVA near Quartzsite.

Interested in Quartzsite, Arizona? Check out this post for where to stay: Where To Stay In Quartzsite, Arizona

Boondocking or Dispersed Camping

When you are camping on public lands that are away from recreational facilities, it is called dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is boondocking.

Boondocking on public lands in Arizona is allowed for up to 14 days within a period of 28 consecutive days. After the 14th day of occupation, you must move to another area that is outside of a 25 mile radius from where you were.

Boondocking is allowed on Arizona BLM land with no permit or other fees.

HOWEVER, if you are doing any sort of recreational activity on state trust land, then you do need to purchase a yearly permit. Individual permits are only $15 and a family permit is $20. Recreation includes all of the following: hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, bicycling, photography, sightseeing, GPS-based recreational activities, and bird watching, and camping.

Public land are parks or National Forests (no permit) and are managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. State trust lands are managed by the Land Department (permit required).

Regardless of where you go boondocking, just remember to leave no trace!

Check out this amazing spot from @howing.around

So there you have it, if you are boondocking on public BLM land in Arizona, you do not need a permit. For designated campgrounds or recreational areas, long-term visitor areas, or state trust land, you need to pay a fee or obtain a permit.

Have you ever been boondocking in Arizona? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or share them with the RV community on iRV2 Forums.