Two Meander

Adventures with Debra and Robert

Campsites

Campsite Review: Saddle Mountain BLM Area Near Tonopah, Arizona

Image: Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Location: Tonopah, Arizona
Type: BLM Dispersed
Access: Approximately 10 miles from Interstate 10, Exit 94
Coordinates: 33.464388, -113.066330
Elevation: 1,250 Feet
Road Conditions: Pavement
Phone Coverage: Verizon, 2-3 out of 5
Maximum Stay: 14 days
Fee: Free
Amenities: None; primitive, dispersed camping
Website: https://www.blm.gov/arizona

Details

The BLM dispersed camping area at Saddle Mountain is one of the more scenic BLM areas in Arizona. The camping area is bordered to the south by mountains, with more mountains visible in the distance to the north and west. The area around Saddle Mountain was also surprisingly green in early spring, with grass and other ground cover, plentiful Mexican Gold Poppies just beginning to bloom, and the usual desert vegetation like Saguaro and Creosote.

Saddle Mountain is conveniently located between Quartzsite and Phoenix, about 10 miles from Interstate 10. This location makes Saddle Mountain a convenient stopover spot on the way across Interstate 10, but Saddle Mountain is worthy of visiting for its own sake. This area is much more scenic that Quartzsite or Ehrenberg, where many people spend the winter.

There are several access roads into the BLM camping area from the pavement on W. Courthouse Road. Some of the roads are quite narrow, some are rather rocky and rutted, while others are in surprisingly good condition for BLM roads.

Verizon phone service is good at Saddle Mountain with a usable signal available in the areas that were visited. You may find the signal stronger closer to the road and further from the mountains.

There are some hiking trails around Saddle Mountain, but they may not be easy to find. Still, there is plenty of opportunity for just walking around. Do be careful of the volcanic scree that covers the mountain slopes though. It looks solid, but disintegrates beneath your feet and can cause dangerous falls.

The nice thing about Saddle Mountain, in addition to the lovely views, is that it is not as crowded as BLM areas in Ehrenberg or Quartzsite. While there may be other people camping in the area, this site does not seem to have the traffic that other areas attract.

There are a few gas stations with limited fast food options near Interstate 10. The nearest shopping is in Buckeye, about 30 miles to the east. Buckeye has a Walmart, Lowe’s, Goodwill, and many other stores and services.

Video Tour

Directions

Take Interstate 10 to Exit 94, then proceed south on 411th Ave for 2.8 miles. Stay to the right at a fork in the road, and continue for 0.1 miles to the intersection of W. Salome Highway. Turn right on W. Salome Highway and continue west for 5.2 miles. Turn left onto W. Courthouse Road just before the pavement ends on W. Salome Highway. Follow W. Courthouse Road to the west for about 2.5 miles.

There are several primitive BLM roads along the south side of W.Courthouse Road around Mile Posts 13 and 14. All of these roads run toward the mountains to the south. Note that some roads are in better condition than others. You may want to explore on foot or bicycle before heading back too far with a larger vehicle or trailer.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for these and all you hard work plus talent! Will figure out best time of year. Don’t know how far your post date is from the time you were there date.
    Crazy weather the past couple years.

    • I first camped at Saddle Mountain several years ago right after RTR – so probably in late January. The weather was perfect and there were wildflowers popping up all over the place as well as green grass. It was heavenly after having been in the Quartzsite/Ehrenberg area for a while where almost nothing besides the palo verde trees and creosote bushes was any shade of green.

      The weather has indeed been strange lately and is shifting the time frames when some of these places have pleasant weather. Who knows what this next year will bring? LOL

      As a general rule, I consider southern Arizona (along I-10 and south) to be pleasant for camping from about November through February. There are exceptions, of course, but generally it is too hot for us before sometime in November (if not December) and is again too hot by sometime in February most years. Before and after we like to look for spots at slightly higher elevation like Wickenburg, Prescott, Cottonwood, Sedona, or Pahrump in Nevada. Flagstaff is even higher so is cooler than any of those other places that I just listed. Hope this helps!

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