Best kept secret in camping

One of the best kept secrets in the World of RVing is campgrounds located in county parks! But where are they, and how do you find them?

Sometimes they’re located in Woodall’s and Trailer Life Campground Directory. Often times they’re not. County parks are often relatively small and off the beaten path. But if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, do some bird watching, hike a near-by trail, or do some great sightseeing, it might be well worth seeking out some of these neat spots.

Maricopa County Regional Parks, AZ

Camping at Usery Mountain, a Maricopa County Regional Park near Mesa, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A county park system worth checking out is Maricopa County Regional Parks in Arizona. The parks circle the Phoenix metropolitan area and all are within a 45-minute drive from central Phoenix. And unlike Arizona State Parks, no Maricopa County park has been closed or has suffered cutback in services.

With 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres, Maricopa County Regional Parks feature the nation’s largest county park system.

So many local attractions and the great variety of outdoor recreation are sure to keep you coming back over and over.

The park system began in 1954 to preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in the 1970s called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at $2.50 an acre. A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and provides the residents of Maricopa County with an opportunity to enjoy “Natural Arizona.”

Enjoying the Sonoran Desert at Cave Creek Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The positive surroundings and the competently maintained facilities attract people from near and far including numerous snowbirds that have discovered this central Arizona gem.

Please note

  • Not all parks have developed camping facilities.
  • Currently all camping sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • County parks will be unveiling a new reservation system this winter. Campers have been asking for several years for a system that would allow them to reserve a campsite prior to arriving at the park.
  • All trails within the Maricopa County Park System are for non-motorized use only.

Free camping
Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is offering free camping until Wednesday, November 10, 2010. Visitors who pay the camping fee for one night will receive the next night of equal value for free.

Offer NOT valid for group campground reservations or unit fees. Limit of one free night per family, household, and/or group in a seven day period (Monday through Sunday). Rain checks will NOT be issued if space is not available. Offer NOT valid at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

An amazing display of spring wildflowers at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For additional information visit the Maricopa County Regional Parks website or phone (602) 506-2930.

Maricopa Regional Parks
Adobe Dam Regional Park
Information: (602) 506-2930
Location: 23280 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85310
Camping is prohibited; day use only

Buckeye Hills Regional Park
Information: (623) 932-3811
Location: 26700 West Buckeye Hills Drive, Buckeye, AZ 85326
Camping is primitive

Cave Creek Regional Park
Information: (623) 465-0431
Location: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Cave Creek offers 38 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electric hook-ups
Group camping available

Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Information: (623) 932-3811
Location: 14805 West Vineyard Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338
Estrella Mountain offers seven developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Information: (928) 501-1710 (Contact Station) or (602) 372-7460 (Operations Center)
Location: 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd., Morristown, AZ 85342
Lake Pleasant offers 72 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups at Roadrunner Campground and another 25 at Desert Tortoise Campground; and 41 semi-developed sites at Desert Tortoise Campground
Group camping available

McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Information: (480) 471-0173
Location: 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr., Fountain Hills, Arizona 85255
McDowell Mountain offers 76 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

San Tan Mountain Regional Park

San Tan Regional Park is a hikers' delight. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Information: (602) 506-2930
Location: 6533 West Phillips Road, Queen Creek Arizona 85242
Camping is prohibited; day use only

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
Information: (480) 488-6601
Location: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
The newest addition to Maricopa County Regional Parks System, the conservation area in the north Valley encompasses 2,154 acres of diverse, rugged upper Sonoran Desert.
Camping is prohibited; day use only
The area is slated for future development

Usery Mountain Regional Park
Information: (480) 984-0032
Location: 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ 85207
Usery Mountain offers 73 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

White Tank Mountain Regional Park
Information: (623) 935-2505
Location: 13025 N. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell, AZ 85355
White Tank Mountain offers 40 semi-developed sites with no water/electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

To be continued…

Worth Pondering…
Every day is a good day.

—Yun-Men

Best kept secret in camping

One of the best kept secrets in the World of RVing is campgrounds located in county parks! But where are they, and how do you find them?

Sometimes they’re located in Woodall’s http://www.woodalls.com/ and Trailer Life Campground Directory http://www.trailerlifedirectory.com/ . Often times they’re not. County parks are often relatively small and off the beaten path. But if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, do some bird watching, hike a near-by trail, or do some great sightseeing, it might be well worth seeking out some of these neat spots.

Maricopa County Regional Parks, AZ

A county park system worth checking out is Maricopa County Regional Parks http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/ in Arizona. The parks circle the Phoenix metropolitan area and all are within a 45-minute drive from central Phoenix. And unlike Arizona State Parks http://azstateparks.com/index.html , no Maricopa County park has been closed or has suffered cutback in services.

With 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres, Maricopa County Regional Parks feature the nation’s largest county park system.

So many local attractions and the great variety of outdoor recreation are sure to keep you coming back over and over.

The park system began in 1954 to preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in the 1970s called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at $2.50 an acre. A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and provides the residents of Maricopa County with an opportunity to enjoy “Natural Arizona.”

The positive surroundings and the competently maintained facilities attract people from near and far including numerous snowbirds that have discovered this central Arizona gem.

Note: Not all parks have developed camping facilities.

Currently all camping sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

County parks will be unveiling a new reservation system this winter. Our visitors have been asking us for several years for a system that would allow them to reserve a campsite prior to arriving at the park.

All trails within the Maricopa County Park System are for non-motorized use only.

Free camping
Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is offering free camping until Wednesday, November 10, 2010. Visitors who pay the camping fee for one night will receive the next night of equal value for free. Offer NOT valid for group campground reservations or unit fees. Limit of one free night per family, household, and/or group in a seven day period (Monday through Sunday). Rain checks will NOT be issued if space is not available. Offer NOT valid at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

For additional information visit the Maricopa County Regional Parks website http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/ or phone (602) 506-2930.

Maricopa Regional Parks
Adobe Dam Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/adobe/
Information: (602) 506-2930
Location: 23280 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85310
Camping is prohibited; day use only

Buckeye Hills Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/buckeye/
Information: (623) 932-3811
Location: 26700 West Buckeye Hills Drive, Buckeye, AZ 85326
Camping is primitive

Cave Creek Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek/
Information: (623) 465-0431
Location: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Cave Creek offers 38 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electric hook-ups
Group camping available

Estrella Mountain Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/estrella/
Information: (623) 932-3811
Location: 14805 West Vineyard Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338
Estrella Mountain offers seven developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

Lake Pleasant Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant/
Information: (928) 501-1710 (Contact Station) or (602) 372-7460 (Operations Center)
Location: 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd., Morristown, AZ 85342
Lake Pleasant offers 72 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups at Roadrunner Campground and another 25 at Desert Tortoise Campground; and 41 semi-developed sites at Desert Tortoise Campground
Group camping available

McDowell Mountain Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell/
Information: (480) 471-0173
Location: 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr., Fountain Hills, Arizona 85255
McDowell Mountain offers 76 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

San Tan Mountain Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/santan/
Information: (602) 506-2930
Location: 6533 West Phillips Road, Queen Creek Arizona 85242
Camping is prohibited; day use only

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross/
Information: (480) 488-6601
Location: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
The newest addition to Maricopa County Regional Parks System, the conservation area in the north Valley encompasses 2,154 acres of diverse, rugged upper Sonoran Desert.
Camping is prohibited; day use only
The area is slated for future development

Usery Mountain Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/usery/
Information: (480) 984-0032
Location: 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ 85207
Usery Mountain offers 73 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

White Tank Mountain Regional Park http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/white_tank/
Information: (623) 935-2505
Location: 13025 N. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell, AZ 85355
White Tank Mountain offers 40 semi-developed sites with no water/electrical hook-ups
Group camping available

To be continued…

Worth Pondering…
Every day is a good day.
—Yun-Men

Maricopa County Regional Parks, AZ

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