With the Phoenix metropolitan area being a popular winter destination for RV owners, I often get asked where the best places are to boondock in the area. There are numerous places in the Valley of the Sun and locations nearby where you can camp for the night. One of the better places is the so-called Florence Junction area on the east side of the valley between Highway 60 and the city of Florence. Here you will find plentiful boondocking along the popular Box Canyon 4×4 Jeep trail. Note, boondocking at these sites will require an Arizona State Trust Recreation Permit (the cost is $20 a year). Box Canyon is actually on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), but the roads leading to the narrow slot canyon are on Arizona state trust land.
Finding the boondocking locations along the Box Canyon 4×4 Trail is fairly easy. Most can be found along Cottonwood Canyon Road off of Highway 79, which serves as the northern entrance to the trail. Boondocking is permitted on both sides of the road and because the sites are flat they are open to pretty much any type of RV including large motorhomes and toy haulers. During the weekends we were there we counted about two dozen RVs along this 8-mile-long road, which isn’t bad at all. In addition to Cottonwood Canyon Road, you can find several boondocking sites along Price Road, which enters Box Canyon from the south. Because Price Road is rougher and narrower, these sites are pretty much limited to small RVs like truck campers and small class C motorhomes. These primitive sites can be found mainly on the east side of the road about half-mile before you enter the south end of Box Canyon.
As for the Box Canyon 4×4 Trail itself, what kind of vehicles can explore it? Unfortunately, nothing larger than a Jeep or high clearance SUV. The northern and southern approaches to the canyon are wide enough for a truck camper, but the drive through the narrow slot canyon is littered with large and small boulders, including a very steep rock obstacle dubbed the waterfall, and numerous trees with low hanging limbs. Because of these obstacles, the passage through the slot canyon is best left to Jeeps, quads, razors, and motorcycles. Still, we were able to explore some of the trails north and south of Box Canyon in our Northstar Laredo.
It’s worth noting that the Florence Junction area is a nationally recognized Jeeping attraction. Aside from the Box Canyon Trail, you can also tackle the nearby Coke Ovens Trail, the Woodpecker Trail and Ajax Mine, the Elvis Trail, the Martinez Cabin Trail, the Jack Handle, and the Reymert Mine Road. Indeed, the network of trails is so vast and plentiful that you could easily spend a week here and not see and do everything (make sure you bring good maps with you as it’s easy to get lost). If you tow a Jeep or a trailer with a quad, motorcycle, or razor behind your truck camper, then the Florence Junction area is a must-see, must-do attraction. Look for a more detailed review of the Box Canyon 4×4 Jeep Trail soon.