Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Campground Review: Mittry Lake Wildlife Area Yuma, AZ

Fifteen miles northeast of Yuma, AZ the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 3000 acres of lake surface, marshland and upland where you can camp for up to ten days in a calendar year.  The duration limit is somewhat unusual for BLM administered land as typically the limit is 14 days in a month but ten days per year is the limit at Mittry Lake.  You don't need any BLM permit or anything else to stay at Mittry Lake Wildlife area.  I split my ten days at two different campsites, the first too near a dusty road that had quite a bit more traffic than what I had deduced from reading other blogs about it so I relocated after two dusty days.

Marshland leading to Mittry Lake (way in the background)
My original campsite was right along the Imperial Canal but as I mentioned there was way too much traffic on the road that the campsites were just 20 or so feet from so I wouldn't recommend taking one of those sites.

The canal along the dusty road.
Here's the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area data sheet:

Hookups:                                             None                                                                          
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                                             
Water Access:                                     Yes                                                                 
Fresh Water:                                        No                                                      
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                         
Toilets:                                                Yes (near boat ramp)                                                  
Showers:                                             No                                                                  
Dump station:                                      No                                                      
WiFi:                                                   No                                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                                     
Laundry:                                              No                                                                  
Store:                                                  No                                                                              
Pool:                                                   No                                                      
Shade:                                                 No                                                      
Verizon reception:                                4G, 2 bars                                                       
Internet reception:                                2 out of 5 bars                                    
Cost:                                                 Free for up to 10 days

I said there was no shade in the data sheet because most of the vegetation around the wildlife area consists of big bushes but there are a few big trees with campsites near them so I guess you could find some shade.

My second campsite, note the vegetation and stony soil.
One drawback to camping in the wildlife area is the presence of mosquito's which is the first time I encountered them in camping in Arizona, maybe I've just been lucky.  The infuriating thing was that even with the Tank's windows and door closed the little pests still found a way in at night, no doubt attracted by the light.  Based on some of the itchy bites I woke up with in the morning I guessed that I had made several contributions to their meals.

The most scenic campsites are along the water portion of Mittry Lake which are almost the first you come to upon entering the area but the drawback with these is the access road that runs virtually right next to these sites.  If you continue along the access road past the boat launch for a mile or so you can find trails down off the access road that leads to more private, though less scenic, sites.

My time at the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area was fairly enjoyable but not really a top-notch boondocking experience due to congestion and lack of hiking trails but if you're looking for some free camping near Yuma the wildlife area fits the bill.

Thanks for reading!

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