Free camping along the Colorado River near Quartzsite

Free camping along the Colorado River near Quartzsite

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

With summer coming along soon, the snowbirds have flown their winter “coop” in Quartzsite. Yes, the weather is actually warming up, and for those who can’t stand much above 80 degrees, it is time to flee northward. But what about those who are a bit more heat tolerant? Not far west from Quartzsite, the line of demarcation between Arizona and California is the Colorado River. But that’s not all that’s marked there – there’s a bit of free boondocking available, and even some spots of shade for the cagey boondockers

ox-744Along the Arizona side, just below the booming Interstate 10, there’s a little stretch of gravelroad managed by the Bureau of Land Management called the Ox Bow Road (or variously, Oxbox depending on your maps). It doesn’t offer much but an escape from the noise of civilization, and a good place to cool off with a quick dip, or a chance at a fish or two if you’re so inclined. For several miles the Ox Bow runs with various places just to pull out and set up camp. On weekends when the weather is cool, you may run into a few noisy partiers, so be prepared.

The variety of sites is wide — you can find some to give you wide views of the surrounding countryside, stuck up on a bank above the Colorado; others are close enough to the wet to practically fish out your back door. Take your choice.

From I-10, jump off at the Ehrenberg exit, and take the frontage road on the south side of the interstate. Drive west pass the Flying J truck stop and keep your eyes peeled for a dimly visible, and equally dimly readable BLM sign. Or follow your GPS to the beginning of the road at 33.603125N by 114.525405W. The road runs several miles south along the river, and allows for an eventual cross on the Cibola Farmer’s bridge into California.

Blythe used to boast a free dump station at Miller Park. Alas, the city dads decided that was too much of a good thing. Still, you can dump your tanks in town for a $7 fee at the new (and improved?) dump station. You’ll find it at the waste treatment facility at 15901 S. Broadway, Blythe, 92225.

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