Location: Tonopah, Arizona
Type: BLM Dispersed
Access: Approximately 10 miles from Interstate 10, Exit 94
Coordinates: 33.464388, -113.066330
Road Conditions: Pavement
Phone Coverage: Verizon, 2-3 out of 5
Maximum Stay: 14 days
Amenities: None; primitive, dispersed camping
The BLM dispersed camping area at Saddle Mountain is one of the more scenic BLM areas in Arizona. The camping area is bordered to the south by mountains, with more mountains visible in the distance to the north and west. The area around Saddle Mountain was also surprisingly green in early spring, with grass and other ground cover, plentiful Mexican Gold Poppies just beginning to bloom, and the usual desert vegetation like Saguaro and Creosote.
Saddle Mountain is conveniently located between Quartzsite and Phoenix, about 10 miles from Interstate 10. This location makes Saddle Mountain a convenient stopover spot on the way across Interstate 10, but Saddle Mountain is worthy of visiting for its own sake. This area is much more scenic that Quartzsite or Ehrenberg, where many people spend the winter.
There are several access roads into the BLM camping area from the pavement on W. Courthouse Road. Some of the roads are quite narrow, some are rather rocky and rutted, while others are in surprisingly good condition for BLM roads.
Verizon phone service is good at Saddle Mountain with a usable signal available in the areas that were visited. You may find the signal stronger closer to the road and further from the mountains.
There are some hiking trails around Saddle Mountain, but they may not be easy to find. Still, there is plenty of opportunity for just walking around. Do be careful of the volcanic scree that covers the mountain slopes though. It looks solid, but disintegrates beneath your feet and can cause dangerous falls.
The nice thing about Saddle Mountain, in addition to the lovely views, is that it is not as crowded as BLM areas in Ehrenberg or Quartzsite. While there may be other people camping in the area, this site does not seem to have the traffic that other areas attract.
There are a few gas stations with limited fast food options near Interstate 10. The nearest shopping is in Buckeye, about 30 miles to the east. Buckeye has a Walmart, Lowe’s, Goodwill, and many other stores and services.
Mexican poppy at Saddle Mountain
Saddle Mountain (side view)
Sunset near Saddle Mountain
Take Interstate 10 to Exit 94, then proceed south on 411th Ave for 2.8 miles. Stay to the right at a fork in the road, and continue for 0.1 miles to the intersection of W. Salome Highway. Turn right on W. Salome Highway and continue west for 5.2 miles. Turn left onto W. Courthouse Road just before the pavement ends on W. Salome Highway. Follow W. Courthouse Road to the west for about 2.5 miles.
There are several primitive BLM roads along the south side of W.Courthouse Road around Mile Posts 13 and 14. All of these roads run toward the mountains to the south. Note that some roads are in better condition than others. You may want to explore on foot or bicycle before heading back too far with a larger vehicle or trailer.