Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Campground Review: North Little Grand Canyon Road, BLM Land off Table Mesa Road New River, AZ

Trying to maintain my "Goldilocks" camping environment (not too hot, not too cold) I drifted about 30 miles north of Phoenix along I-17 to BLM land off of Table Mesa Road.  North Little Grand Canyon "Road" turns north off Table Mesa.  I put road in parenthesis because it's really a rock-strewn one lane clay path that leads past several obvious camping sites before it turns into a off-road vehicle only path.

There's a hiking trail called Black Canyon trail just to keep it confusing.

Having boondocked on BLM land for a number of years I've learned (the hard way) not to blindly drive down one lane dirt paths so I parked the pickup and Mini at a wide open area about a quarter of a mile into North Little Grand Canyon Road to search on foot for a good campsite.  Right before the spot where the road becomes too tough for bigger RV's was a really nice site with great views -- and it was vacant!  I almost ran back to the Mini fearing someone else would drive by me and take it, but I got there first.

The Mini's desert campsite.

Here's the data sheet on North Little Grand Canyon Road:

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 (Walmart 11 miles away)                                     
Pool:                                                    No                                                      
Shade:                                                 No                                          
Verizon reception:                               4G, 3 bars                               
Internet reception:                               3 bars
Cost:                                                    Free for up to 14 days

The temperatures were probably a little on the cool side for the second half of March, mid-70's in the day and high-40's at night, which meant pretty optimal.  My campsite had really great 360 degree vistas of the mountains and what I assume was North Little Grand Canyon.

The view from my lawn chair.  Note one of the few trees in the area.

While you can appreciate the natural beauty of the area from the photos, what you can't see is the litter that folks have decided to deposit in the area.  Every day when I did my walks I'd take a plastic Walmart bag and pick up beer cans and empty plastic water bottles until the bag was full but I'm afraid I didn't make much of a dent.  It's just really disheartening that people do this.  I don't know if it would help if Arizona instituted a 10 cent can deposit like in some other states but certain areas I've camped in this year are in real trouble.

There's an official shooting range about a mile and a half from where I camped so there is fairly steady gunfire on the weekends and occasionally during weekdays so if that would bother your camping experience be forewarned, it doesn't really bother me.  Also, on the other side of the canyon is a working mine but it hardly makes any sound at all although there is some truck traffic on Table Mesa Road during the day.

First time I've camped with a mine in the area.

Some one who had previously camped at my site had an artistic bent:

It's about 3 ft in diameter.  The green is beer bottle glass.

I've always enjoyed my times camping on BLM land and, to be honest, I liked my experience AT MY SITE along North Little Grand Canyon Road after I cleared my area of litter.  Whoever gets it after I leave will have the nicest campsite in the area, hopefully they'll read this review and fill some Walmart bags of their own.  As to returning I'll really have to think about it next year, the litter is kind of depressing and diminishes the camping experience.

Thanks for reading!

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