Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Campground Review: Gunsite Wash Why, AZ

After paying for two weeks stay at the Escapees North Ranch facility I was ready for some free boondocking which Arizona is renowned for.  Three miles south of the tiny Arizona town of Why in the Sonora Desert on the west side of Arizona Hwy 85 lay Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered land called Gunsite Wash.  You can camp for free at Gunsite Wash for up to 14 consecutive days after which you have to relocate at least 25 miles away.

This message board greets you at the entrance to Gunsite Wash.

If you decide to try camping at Gunsite Wash DO NOT use a Google Maps search of "Gunsite Wash",  the app will direct you down an extremely narrow bush lined two track path that it wants you to travel on for 5 miles!  I trusted my gut and immediately turned back to Hwy 85 rather than try to tow the Mini down Google's dubious trail.  The western turn in for the Wash is just past mile marker 55 immediately after you cross a small bridge.

A typical campsite at Gunsite Wash, note the stone fire ring.

Here's the Gunsite Wash data sheet:

Hookups:                                             None (Dry camping.)                                                 
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                                             
Water Access:                                     No                                                                  
Fresh Water:                                        No                                                      
Trash Service:                                      No (Pack in/pack out)                                                
Toilets:                                                 No                                                      
Showers:                                             No                                                                  
Dump station:                                      No                                                                  
WiFi:                                                    No                                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                                     
Laundry:                                              No                                                                  
Store:                                                   No (Convenience store in Why)                                
Pool:                                                    No                                                      
Shade:                                                 No                                          
Verizon reception:                               4G,  4 bars                                          
Internet reception                                4 bars
Cost:                                                    Free for up to 14 days

The weather during my stay at the Wash (I'm going to stay for another week) has been near perfect with days in the high 70's and nights in the mid-40's.  One thing I like about Gunsite Wash when I compare it to Craggy Wash is the multitude of trails through Gunsite that are perfect for me to get in my daily three mile hike (Gotta get my steps in!).

A path I walk daily while at Gunsite Wash.

One of the things you notice while camped at the Wash is how quiet it is.  The Mini's camp site is far enough away from Hwy 85 that there is no ambient noise whatsoever.

The Mini set up in the Sonora Desert at Gunsite Wash.

Gunsite Wash is about 20 miles north of the international border and there are signs reminding you of that fact at the entrance to the Wash.

There was a strong Border Patrol presence in the Wash area and along Hwy 85.

With fellow RV'ers within a couple hundred yards of the Mini's campsite I never felt at all uneasy even given the warning signs and I never saw anything or anyone suspicious during my daily walk although three Border Patrol SUV's raced through the Wash one day heading west, I don't know what they were after.

After almost five years of full-time RV life my list of great camp areas I want to return to on an annual basis is getting pretty long.  I'll publish it in a post one of these days but I'll definitely be adding Gunsite Wash to it with a note that the first 14 days of March is the time to experience great camping weather!

Thanks for reading!