Dispersed Camping Guidelines for the Coconino National Forest

Photo Credit: Coconino National Forest

THE FOREST BELONGS TO EVERYONE… however, there are some firm guidelines we must all follow out of respect for everyone who owns the Forest, human and animal. You may camp most anywhere on the Coconino National Forest (unless otherwise posted) according to the following guidelines:

  1. Generally, there is a 14-DAY PER MONTH STAY LIMIT (14 days in a 30-day period – Forest Order #04-99-08-R) on the Coconino National Forest. Please note that there are some exceptions where the limit is less than fourteen days. Establishing residency is against federal regulation.
  2. No camping or campfires on the forest within city limits.
  3. Do not camp on private property unless you have the owner’s permission.
  4. No camping within one-fourth mile of a wildlife watering tank/hole. (Arizona Revised Statutes § 17-308: “It is unlawful for a person to camp within one-fourth mile of a natural water hole containing water or a man-made watering facility containing water in such a place that wildlife or domestic stock will be denied access to the only reasonably available water.”)
  5. Camp at least one mile from a pay (designated) campground or established (developed) recreation area, or as posted.
  6. Please do not camp in or drive through open meadowland due to the scarring effect it causes.
  7. Down and dead firewood may be gathered around your camping area for use at your campsite but it is illegal to load wood in a vehicle to take out of the Forest without a special permit. (You may not cut standing trees nor can you cut limbs off of standing trees.)
  8. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry.
    • Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
    • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
    • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
    • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
  9. When car camping on the National Forest, do not drive your vehicle more than 30-feet from the side of designated roads to camp, except in designated camping corridors shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. In designated camping corridors, one can drive up to 300 feet from the road to car camp. These rules only affect motor vehicle use. Forest visitors can always hike to campsites at farther distances from the roads.
  10. Always use the pack-in/pack-out method for the disposal of litter to keep your Forest clean.
  11. Please use a digging tool to bury all human and pet waste at least 6 to 7 inches deep.
  12. Pets are welcome in most areas but must be kept leashed at all times.
  13. Always practice “Leave No Trace” Outdoor Ethics.
  14. Please dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, sewage, waste water or material, or rubbish either by removal the site or area, or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes. Failure to do so can result in a fine. Please see Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart A, 261.11(d), under “Sanitation”.

Specific Sites and some Exceptions

In addition to the Dispersed Camping Guidelines above, there are several sites designated and set aside as Dispersed Camping sites. Some of them are listed here along with some exceptions. Dispersed Specific Sites