Tent Camping Near Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ is one of the most magical, mystical, and majestic places in the world- with an estimated 3 million visitors a year.   You are making a very good decision to camp in Sedona and will not be disappointed!  With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where you want to tent camp.  Tent camping near Sedona, AZ  includes campgrounds where you pay (more amenities) and dispersed camping where you don’t pay (almost no amenities).

The closest campsites near Sedona are Up Oak Creek, but I have added others as well.  The campsites nearest to Sedona (Coconino National Forest) fill up quickly- but there are excellent campsites further away that are free and have less people.

Some of these campsites are open year round. During the months of December and January -the temperatures can get down to 34 degrees and the  hottest month is in July at 100 degrees. There is an average rain fall of 40 days; there are dispersed campsites you will not be able to get to in wet weather conditions.

Along Oak Creek

These 3 campgrounds are the closest to Sedona- and all have a fee. They are extremely popular and get booked quickly in the peak season. The best times to secure a campsite along Oak Creek a is between 8 am – 11 am on non holiday  Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

Cave Springs

This site is the largest campground and among the most popular one in Oak Creek.  Cave Springs is an excellent choice for those families with small children.  The creek runs right next to the shaded camp sites and is stocked with trout.  You have the option of hiking, fishing, or just taking it easy under the canopy of Ponderosa Pine trees.  South of the campground is the famous “Slide Rock State Park” with numerous swimming holes for your family to enjoy.

Cave Springs Campground can get extremely crowded during spring and summer- especially during the major holidays. Make reservations way ahead of time for those sites that can be reserved and then get there early for the first come first serve route.

  • Cost: $22 per night up to 8 people per camp site.  Also open for day use-$7
  • Season:  Opens early April Best season is Spring through Fall)
  • Amenities:   Picnic tables, grills, fire pits, drinking water, & vault toilets
  • Sites:  84 Campsites-1 of these sites are tent only.  21 of these sites can be reserved ahead of time. The rest are on a first come first serve basis.
  • Stay Limit:  7 Days
  • Location:  12 miles North of Sedona on 89A in Oak Creek Canyon
  • Management/Reservations:   Coconino National Forest, (928) 282-4119, / Reservations can be made by visiting Recreation.gov.

Manzanita campground

This campground is for tents only and is fairly small so it fills up quickly on weekends and holidays.  The campground is along the creek so you can enjoy  fishing for trout, swimming, hiking, and watching the wildlife.  Ash and box elders provide shade for those moments when you want to relax.  For the active campers, nearby trails include the North Wilson and Sterling Pass Trails.

  • Cost: $22 per night, Senior and access interagency passes are accepted for a 50% discount.
  • Season:  Open year round, (Best season is Spring through Fall). 
  • Amenities:  Picnic tables,  fire rings, cooking grills, drinking water, & vault toilets.
  • Sites:  18 campsites (11 can be reserved)
  • Stay Limit:  7 Days
  • Location:  6 miles North of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon.
  • Management/Reservations:    Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or on-line at Recreation.gov/  Concessionaire. Contact Red Rock District 928-203-2900

Pine Flat Campground

This is another very popular campground being that it is the second largest along Oak Creek. There is plenty to do while you are here; you can fish for trout, swim, hike or watch the birds and other wildlife.

  • Cost: $ 22 per night (up to 8 people per site. If your party consists of more than 8 people, you will need an additional site
  • Season:  Opens in the Spring
  • Amenities:    Picnic tables, cooking grills, fire pits, drinking water, and vault toilets, and firewood ($7 from camp host)
  • Sites:  56 campsites (18 can be reserved). All campsites accommodate tents
  • Stay Limit:  7 Days
  • Location:  12 miles North of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon
  • Management/Reservations:   Call Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or visit Recreation.gov

Free & Designated Dispersed Camping Sites

Over the years, the number of campsites have been reduced in Sedona to limit the wear and tear by careless campers and minimize impact to certain areas. These campsites do not charge a fee- but are still “designated” areas.  The information on dispersed camping is limited- below are the areas I  know of that are closest to Sedona. These sites are a better fit if you are looking for places that are less crowded and do not mind limited amenities.

North of Sedona

HWY 89A north of Oak Creek Vista to the west FR535 is a designated camping corridor for dispersed camping.  There are 4 designated camping sites/areas that have numbered markers and campers must be within 50 feet of the marker to camp. Each site has a designated fire ring. Camping is prohibited along this entire road, except for the 4 sites.

South of Sedona

FR121, FR689, FR214, FR215, FR618 more than 1 mile south of Beaver Creek Campground.

Lawrence Crossing (FR 121) is located along the Beaver Creek Rd (FR 618), across from the Bruce Brockett Trailhead (FR 624).  You need a high clearance vehicle to get to this camping spot; the road can close in wet weather conditions because even in 4-wheel drive it’s difficult to get in and out.  This designated dispersed camping area has 6 marked sites, fire rings, and a single vault toilet in the parking area. You cannot park your vehicle on the campsite itself, so camping gear must be carried to the site. This beautiful location is along Wet Beaver Creek and was designed to address the increasing impact of people going farther up the creek creating more road, soil, and vegetation damage.

East of Sedona

Schnebly Hill Road (FR153) East of the Schnebly Hill Vista is a designated camping corridor. Look for the “Camping Permitted” sign

West of Sedona

3 miles west of Lower Red Rock loop Road on Hwy 89A to Forest Road 525. A designated camping corridor of approximately 30 campsites starts about 2 mi N. of 89A on FR525 and ends at Boynton Pass Rd (FR152C). The first 5 miles of FR 525 and all of FR 525C are available for camping.  

Address: FR525 & FR525C
Sedona, Arizona
GPS: 34.833159, -111.908447
Elevation: 3986

Contact Information for all of the Dispersed Campsites:
Red Rock District
Coconino National Forest
P. O. Box 20429
Sedona, AZ 86341-0429

Administrative Offices:
(928) 282-4119 or
(928) 203-7500

Visitor Information:
(928) 203-2900

Freidlein Prairie Road

The sites along Freidlein Prairie Road (FR 522), located half way up FR 516 (Snow Bowl Rd) are a bit further away from Sedona, but could be an option if closer spots are taken. There are 14 campsites and each one is marked with a  post that has a site number and a “Designated Campsite” decal. Campers must camp within 50 feet of the post and only a fire ring is provided.

Childs Dispersed Campground

This campsite is also further away from Sedona, but is still located in the Coconino National Forest .  This campsite is a very popular dispersed camping area.  It is close to what used to be an operational power plant building on the Verde River.  From this campsite you can access the Verde Hot Springs (once famous resort) with a short hike upstream.  The Fossil Creek in general pulls in a lot of visitors, so don’t expect to have this campsite all to yourself.

  • Cost: Free
  • Season:  Open Year Round
  • Amenities:    Vault toilet
  • Sites:  Dispersed
  • Stay Limit:  5 Days
  • Location:  About 30 miles southeast of Camp Verde or 86 miles south of Flagstaff. High clearance vehicles are highly recommended!
  • Management/Reservations:    Red Rock Ranger District – 928-203-2900

Summary

Tent camping in Sedona can be an amazing experience if you plan your trip accordingly. Whether you are staying in a paid, established campground or dispersed, your time in Sedona will be unforgettable! If you want a more inclusive experience where you can stay in a tent, then you may want to look into Lo Lo Mai or Camp Avalon.

Do you have an experience with camping in Sedona that you would like to share? Please leave a comment below!

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