Black Hills, Arizona | Camping

RV camping below the Black Hills in the Prescott National Forest, Arizona

The Black Hills in central Arizona are more than just “hills”. This is a large mountain range with elevations ranging from 3,000 feet at the Verde River to 7,844 feet at Mingus Mountain. Much of the Black Hills lie within the Prescott National Forest, and are open to camping.

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Where in The World?

Camping Elevation: 3,000 to 7,700 feet

Black Hills Area Map

Black Hills RV Camping Journal

November 13, 2010

I’m camping below the Black Hills about halfway between Cottonwood and Camp Verde, Arizona off Forest Road 361 in the Prescott National Forest. This spot is conveniently located with easy access to Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

I have an excellent view of the Black Hills and Cherry Peak. There are great views of Cottonwood and I can see some red rock near Sedona. The vegetation is low to the ground, being mostly grass and bushes with very few trees. It’s nice and level here and there is plenty of open space. Cross the road and you find a good drop where Wilbur Canyon sits.

The campsite is close to the road; however, there is not too much traffic and it’s mostly on the weekends.

Recreation: The Verde River is just 3 miles away, across Highway 260 and down Thousand Trails Road. The Bignotti Picnic Site is down this road next to the river. Sheeps Crossing Fishing Site is further down Thousand Trails Road.

For hiking, you can visit Wilbur Canyon or head up the road and into the Black Hills. It can be a long walk from this campsite, so biking a ways up the road is better.

Weather: It’s early November and the weather has been very nice with highs in the 70s up until this week. It’s cooled down to the 30s at night, 60s during the day. It’s been sunny. There is noticeably less wind here than at my last campsite – where I was on a hill and at a higher elevation.

Insects: Insect problems are pretty much nil, except for the occasional bug found in the trailer (a type of flying stink bug). If going up into the Black Hills, there are many bees, especially any place there is water.

Cell Signal: I have very fast Verizon mobile broadband internet and great cell phone reception.

May 25, 2011

I’m camping near the same area as I did last year, below the Black Hills about halfway between Cottonwood and Camp Verde, Arizona off Forest Road 361 in the Prescott National Forest. Only this time I’m further up the road, with a better view.

This campsite has a great view of the Black Hills and the Verde Valley. The view is better than my campsite from last November. I can see the red rock near Sedona and the San Francisco Peaks off in the distance. I do feel I’m camping on the side of a mountain, even though I’m only in the foothills.

Except for the occasional car/dirt bike/ATV it’s been quiet here. It’s nice to not hear the highway traffic.

Recreation: After spending several months in the Sonoran Desert I got used to hiking anywhere and in any direction I pleased. It was mostly flat and easy going, with sparse vegetation. It’s a different story here. There is more vegetation and it’s mostly hilly. There’s more cactus here, along with thorny bushes that you really have to watch out for as they easily stick into your ankles.

I took a bike ride on Forest Road 147A down to the Verde River. Did some exploring on foot along the river which was fun. It’s a beautiful river.

Weather: It’s late May. I had some strong winds (which isn’t too bad as it keeps the no-see-ums at bay), a day of rain, and a few days of clouds. Otherwise it’s been mostly sunny and nice with temps in the 70s and 80s. 

Insects: Gnats and no-see-ums weren’t a problem last time I was here in November. They have become a nuisance now. I’ve had some bites on my ankles that became red welts and got very itchy. It wasn’t as bad as last year at Apache Maid Mountain. At least the bites didn’t puss up and last as long. There aren’t as many no-see-ums as there were at Apache Maid Mountain either, and they aren’t flying through my window screens when I cook, which is good! There are also larger gnats that just like to fly near your ears or land on you. No bites from them, thankfully.

Black Hills & Verde River Video Slideshow

RV camping below the Black Hills in the Prescott National Forest, Arizona

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