Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum El Camino Del Diablo mini trip report

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      Kevin MacAfee

      A full article with photos is forthcoming but in the meantime, here is a short report on what became a most excellent adventure. Limited by Covid and some permitting issues, four truck campers made the trip down the Diablo Road. One of the participants had driven the route the previous week and based on his report, we skipped the short section from Yuma to the Tinajas Atlas tanks (natural water holes) and accessed the route from Wellton. The first few miles were on a wide and well graded road and we made quick time, stopping to take pictures of some fake military tank targets and a sign highlighting the history of the route.

      At the tanks, we stopped and did a short hike, enjoying the amazing rock formations. As we were getting ready to leave, a couple on mountain bikes rode in and we spent some time chatting with them before hitting the trail. The route became much narrower and rolled up and down over a series of washes with occasional deep sand. We continued on and as the day was getting shorter we stopped at Tule Well for the night, having completed about 50 miles. Tule Well had a nice sheltered campsite and we were able to get all four rigs in on level ground. A fire was started and food shared as we all got to know each other better and tried to solve all the world’s problems before our beds called us in.

      The next morning, the group climbed up to several high points which afforded us some excellent views and great photo opportunities. There was a lot of Border Patrol activity and apparently a number of people were stopped and detained. We broke camp and continued east crossing through some very lush Saguaro and Cholla gardens. The trail here is fairly narrow and all the rigs got some pinstriping but aside from one steep climb and some deep sand in places, the route is easy to travel.

      We stopped for lunch and an F18 circled us a few times. After waving at the pilot, he/she gave us a wing wave and flew off to the east. The border wall is visible through much of this stretch but access down to the wall is prohibited. After traveling through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and passing several Border Patrol bases, we entered Organ Pipe National Monument. Many of the roads in the Monument are closed either because they are restoring the area or access the border wall. Eventually we found a spot large enough to accommodate four rigs and we set up camp just West of Bates Well. We enjoyed some short hikes, amazing sunsets and great conversation around a campfire.

      The next morning, we broke camp and headed to Ajo. The road became much wider and smoother as we left Organ Pipe and we were able to make great time to its junction with AZ 85. We stopped to air back up, said our goodbyes and headed out – some heading home and others on to their next adventure.

      Driving the El Camino Del Diablo is not technical but does require some preparation. 4 wheel drive is suggested (but not absolutely necessary) but a vehicle with high ground clearance is a must. Permits are required and easy to get. The biggest issue is the width of the trail and the size of the campgrounds. Full size rigs can easily do it with some pinstriping but none of the campgrounds we saw were large enough to accommodate more than 5-6 truck campers at a time (permits for groups are limited to 5 rigs).

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