Red Tank Draw, Sedona, Arizona | Camping

The eastern edge of Red Tank Draw as the sun sets

Red Tank Draw ranks up there as one of the most beautiful camping areas I’ve come across. It is 12 miles southeast of Sedona, Arizona. The red rock is gorgeous and there aren’t too many places where you can RV camp right next to the cliff of a lovely canyon. The views of the canyon from above are outstanding. Most headed this direction pass it by for Wet Beaver Creek, to the southeast.

The north section of Red Tank Draw has several petroglyphs, or Native American rock art. The canyon was an important travel route for the Sinagua people, who used it to descend from the Mogollon Rim.

Wet Beaver Creek is another fine display of red rock and is just southeast of Red Tank Draw. The upper section of Wet Beaver Creek is protected as Wet Beaver Wilderness. This portion of the canyon is very remote and requires swimming or wading through pools bordered by steep canyon walls.

There are two trails, Bell Trail and Apache Maid Trail, both of which offer outstanding views of the area. Wet Beaver Creek is stocked with trout and fishing, swimming, wading, hiking, and wildlife viewing are all popular activities.

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Where in The World?

This is how to get to the Red Tank Draw camping area. Lawrence Crossing is another camping option. It is a small free campground (best for small RVs) next to Wet Beaver Creek, with a toilet and fire rings. To get to this campground, follow the directions below, only continue on FR 121 until you reach FR 618G, where you will turn left down to the creek.

Camping Elevation: 3,808 feet

GPS Coordinates: N 34 40.420’ W 111 43.751’

Directions to Camping Area: From Camp Verde, Arizona take I-17 north to Exit 298 for Sedona Highway 179, and turn right onto Forest Road 618. Take FR 618 to FR 121 (just past Red Tank Draw) turning right. Follow FR 121 less than 1/2 mile and turn right on the first side road. There are a handful of great campsites along this road, some next to the canyon edge of Red Tank Draw.

Red Tank Draw Camping Area Map

Red Tank Draw RV Camping Journal

May 26, 2010

In terms of scenic beauty at the actual campsite, this is the most beautiful I’ve come across. I can look out my window and see down into the canyon from above.

It is more private than the spot I had at West Clear Creek. I’m not too far from I-17 as I can hear the traffic and see it off to the west in the distance. There are also Forest Roads 121 and 119 in view. There are a few small trees that surround the site and make it feel more private. They also provide a little shade.

Gnats were not a problem when I arrived, though they are a bit annoying now as it seems they’ve recently increased in numbers. Overall, it’s a very lovely site.

November 1, 2011

I’m back again to this great camping area. I’m camped very close to where I camped last year, only I’m at the very end of the road this time. There’s not a whole lot of room to maneuver in here, and I wasn’t even sure I could get the trailer into this spot. It’s probably going to be a little tricky getting out. Oh well, it’s worth it for the great views and being able to see down into the canyon to the west and north. It’s an easy hike down into the draw from here.

I’m camped where the cliff curves around about 90 degrees. Privacy is excellent, though I can just make out FR 119 (Beaver Creek Road) to the northwest on the other side of Red Tank Draw. Sometimes the traffic can be heard when outdoors.

I have seen a few other campers here. There was one family that learned of this campsite from my website.

I heard a few gunshots off in the distance – thankfully no shots nearby.

Recreation: There is plenty to see and do here. I still need to find the petroglyphs at Red Tank Draw. I haven’t explored the draw north of FR 618 much and I hear that’s where the petroglyphs are. I hiked Bell Trail (in Wet Beaver Wilderness) up to the Mogollon Rim. I also hiked Long Canyon Trail about 5 miles or so. I would like to explore Wet Beaver Creek from “The Crack” on up. The Crack is a gorgeous swimming hole along Bell Trail. The water is a bit cold for wading and swimming, so I’ll hold off on that adventure till next time.

Weather: The weather has been nice this time of year in late October. It was a bit hot with highs around 90 when I arrived. Then it cooled down to the mid 80s and just this past week it cooled down to the 70s. The forecast calls for even colder weather later in the week. Lows are usually in the 40s.

It’s been sunny except for a couple days, and one day I got a good amount of rain. I could see and hear water flowing in Red Tank Draw afterwards. I’ve noticed more wind here than up near Flagstaff. Of course this site is quite exposed, being on the edge of the canyon. Often it’s just a breeze, but when a storm system comes through, as it did one day, the wind can really pick up. In fact it did a bit of damage to my awning and ripped the side opposite to where I patched it from being damaged previously…I guess it’s time for a new awning.

Wildlife: I’ve seen ravens, a couple road runners, robins, turkey vultures, and other small birds. I’ve also seen cottontail rabbits, squirrels, and small lizards. I just caught a glimpse of a deer or elk while hiking Long Canyon Trail east of Forest Road 618.

Insects: There have been a few annoying gnats, thankfully no no-see-ums. These gnats are very small and sometimes fly by your ear. They’re not a big problem though.

Cell Signal: Verizon cell phone service has been good. Verizon mobile broadband internet has been fast with the external antenna. Without it the connection was sometimes slow, though not as slow as National Access service. Sometimes pages would take awhile to load, even when it was showing a fast connection (75/75).

RV Campsite Rating: 9 out of 10. It’s a gorgeous spot with lots to do in the area.

Red Tank Draw Video Slideshow

The eastern edge of Red Tank Draw as the sun sets

Wet Beaver Creek Video Slideshow

Swimming hole at Wet Beaver Creek in the Coconino National Forest, Arizona

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