Free Camping Sedona: Top Places To Go With An RV

RV Destinations | Location


Nestled in central Arizona, almost perfectly between Phoenix and Flagstaff, Sedona is a fantastic year-round camping destination. 

The climate is mild most of the year; visitors have their pick of outdoor activities (hiking, off-roading, outdoor yoga, and horseback riding are popular choices). It’s an ideal basecamp for visiting many other areas in the Southwest, and — best of all for campers — there’s a ton of public land available for free camping in Sedona. 

We rounded up five of the best free campsites in the Sedona area for RVs, all with incredible views and great access to the city. Before heading out, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules about camping on BLM and other public land. 

Best Time for Sedona Camping

Sitting at an elevation of about 4,350 feet, Sedona enjoys mostly mild weather year-round. The overall best times for free camping in Sedona are March through May and September through November. It is generally crowded with visitors, but the weather is pleasant, and the desert is bursting with color. 

You can camp in the summer, but it gets extremely hot, and seasonal monsoon storms bring flash flooding and heavy, unpredictable rain throughout July and August. 

Tips for Sedona Camping for Free

Like anywhere else, it’s important to practice Leave No Trace in Sedona. Beyond that, there are a few things to know. 

  • Watch Your Step: Sedona is in the desert, with desert plants and wildlife. Always wear sturdy shoes and watch where to step, looking out for cacti, snakes, and scorpions. 

  • Be Aware of Fire Restrictions: Because of the dry climate, there are often fire restrictions in Sedona. Be sure to check the current conditions for the area you’re camping in.

  • Respect Private Property: Many free campsites in the Sedona area border private property. Be respectful of where you park and turn around so as not to trespass. Always be mindful of boundaries and respect the rights of landowners. Park only in designated areas and avoid trespassing on private land.

  • Pack Out All Trash: Practice Leave No Trace principles diligently. Ensure you leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. This includes packing out all trash, food scraps, and litter. Sedona's natural beauty is one of its main attractions, so help preserve it for future generations.

  • Water and Hydration: The desert climate in Sedona can be harsh, especially during the summer months. Ensure you have an ample supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. It's also a good idea to carry a water filter or purification system for refilling from natural water sources if necessary.

  • Check for Permits: Some areas may require permits for camping, even if it's free. Check with the local authorities or visitor centers to ensure you are in compliance with any permit requirements for your chosen camping location.

  • Plan Ahead and Be Self-Sufficient: Since you'll be camping for free, there may not be amenities like restrooms or potable water sources nearby. Plan ahead and bring everything you need, including a portable toilet if necessary. Also, consider carrying extra fuel, food, and first-aid supplies.

  • Stay Informed About Wildlife: While enjoying the desert environment, be aware of local wildlife. Keep a safe distance from animals, never feed them, and secure your food to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite.

  • Check for Road Conditions: Many free campsites in Sedona may be accessible via rough or unpaved roads. Ensure your vehicle is suitable for these conditions, and check the current road conditions before heading out.

  • Weather Preparedness: The desert can experience rapid weather changes, including sudden temperature drops at night. Bring appropriate clothing layers to stay warm and comfortable, even during the cooler seasons.

  • Quiet Hours and Campsite Etiquette: Respect the tranquility of the natural surroundings and fellow campers by observing quiet hours. Keep noise to a minimum, especially during the evening and early morning hours.

By following these tips and being responsible campers, you can enjoy the natural beauty of Sedona while minimizing your impact on the environment and respecting the local community.

Best Activities for Sedona Camping

Sedona, Arizona is a beautiful destination for camping with its stunning red rock formations, picturesque landscapes, and numerous outdoor activities. Here are some of the best activities for camping in Sedona.

Hiking: Sedona is known for its fantastic hiking trails, catering to all levels of hikers. Some popular options include Cathedral Rock, Devil's Bridge, West Fork Trail, and Boynton Canyon. These trails offer breathtaking views of the red rock formations and surrounding wilderness.

Mountain Biking: If you're into mountain biking, Sedona offers excellent trails like the Bell Rock Pathway and the Chuckwagon Trail. There are options for both beginners and experienced riders.

Stargazing: Sedona's clear desert skies make it an ideal place for stargazing. Set up a campfire and enjoy the night sky. Consider joining a local astronomy tour for a more educational experience.

Rock Climbing: The red rock formations in Sedona provide opportunities for rock climbing. However, it's essential to have the necessary skills and permits. You can also hire local guides for a safe climbing experience.

Jeep Tours: If you don't want to camp, you can still explore the area with a guided jeep tour. These tours take you through rugged terrain and offer insight into the geology and history of the region.

Creekside Camping: Oak Creek Canyon offers some beautiful creekside camping opportunities. Camping near the water allows you to relax by the creek, swim, or try your hand at fishing.

Photography: Sedona's natural beauty makes it a photographer's paradise. Capture the vibrant red rocks, towering spires, and breathtaking sunsets during your camping trip.

Bird Watching: Sedona's diverse ecosystem attracts a variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and a field guide to enjoy birdwatching in the area.

Yoga and Meditation: Many people come to Sedona for its spiritual energy and healing properties. Consider practicing yoga or meditation amidst the serene landscapes.

Picnicking: Many camping areas in Sedona have designated picnic areas. Enjoy a meal outdoors while taking in the stunning views.

Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for desert wildlife like deer, javelina, and a variety of bird species. Respect their space and observe them from a safe distance.

Off-Roading: If you have a high-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle, you can explore off-road trails like Schnebly Hill Road and Broken Arrow Trail. Be sure to check trail conditions and permits.

Remember to check for current weather and trail conditions, and practice safety precautions while enjoying the outdoors in this stunning Arizona destination.

Free Camping Sedona: 5 Awesome Spots

Wondering, “Where can you camp in Sedona for free?” There are plenty of spots for free camping in Sedona, but here are our top five favorites for RV travelers. 

1. Schnebly Hill Road 

Officially Forest Road 153, Schnebly Hill Road spans 12 miles and connects 89A (the main highway to Sedona) to I-17 just south of Flagstaff. 

Due to its incredible views and relatively easy access, Schnebly Hill Road is one of the most popular free camping Sedona options. Most of the campsites are within the first three miles on the east side, and the further you get from the highway, the more privacy you’ll have. 

Note that the road sometimes closes between December and March and is smooth only for the first few miles. Beyond those, a high clearance or 4-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. 

2. Forest Road 525/525C

Two adjacent forest roads in the Coconino National Forest just west of Sedona, both FR525 and FR525C offer wide-open campsites with excellent red rocks views. Both roads are extremely popular ATV routes, so they can get dusty and noisy during the day, but it dies down at night. 

In the summer of 2022, the Forest Service made extensive changes to FR525, designating eight large dispersed camping areas that each comprise 10-35 individual sites. FR525C has more campsites, so check both roads to see which is busier. 

RVs of all sizes can camp in this area, as the road is in decent shape and there are few big trees to contend with. Note that campfires are not allowed when camping on either road (common with any free camping in Arizona).

3. Loy Butte Road

Further down FR525C, you’ll find an especially scenic dispersed camping area off of Loy Butte Road. There are numerous sites at little spur roads and pullouts, all with stunning views. 

The road is quite smooth at the beginning, then gets rougher the farther back you go, so larger RVs should look for a spot sooner rather than later.

Loy Butte is about 30 minutes from downtown, so it’s understandably one of the more popular free camping Sedona options. As with others, the further you get away from the main road, the more privacy you’ll enjoy.  

4. Angel Valley Road

Angel Valley Road, AKA FR89B, is a smaller site for free camping in Sedona close to town. 

The site only accommodates eight RVs, the road in and out is rough, and the sites are far from level, but the incredible views more than make up for it. There’s one vault toilet shared among the campsites. 

Note that the camping area is adjacent to gated private property, so be especially mindful of where you pull into and park. 

5. Edge of the World/East Pocket 

Those willing to put in a bit more time and effort will enjoy some of the most spectacular free camping in Arizona overall. East Pocket, AKA Edge of the World, is closer to Flagstaff on FR231, about 1.5 hours from Sedona. It’s only 30 miles, but the vast majority of the drive is through the forest 

There are several campsites here, but only a handful right along the rim (the “edge of the world”), so get there early to snag one!

East Pocket is higher elevation than Sedona, so the scenery is more alpine and less desert — but you have incredible views of the red rocks below!

Looking for more free camping in Sedona? Check out our guide to finding free RV campgrounds! Pick up a Cruise America RV rental for your upcoming road trip!