Itinerary help: San Diego to Sedona & parks

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

pinto1

New member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Posts
1
Location
San Diego
Hi

So we're renting a class B (1st time in an RV!) from San Diego for a month starting mid September: planning to spend it mostly boondocking in Sedona area and also sightseeing Utah NPs, Las Vegas.
Distancewise it makes sense to be in Sedona, then leave and see the parks & LV (then continuing to LA, San Diego), but weatherwise not sure since e.g. grand canyon, Bryce Canyon seem to be more pleasant earlier in fall season.
So here are a few questions:
1. Would be happy to hear from the experienced, suggestions for an itinerary taking into account both distance & weather...Should we head 1st to the colder parks, return Sedona, then backtrack to the warmer parks & LV, or is it redundant?
2. If 1st point after San Diego is Sedona: 412 miles: 7 hour drive according to Google, for a regular car, not an RV and non-stop drive I presume. Single driver. Does this make sense or is it way too much for an RV?
3. Boondocking in Sedona: any suggestions how to approach this: where in the area & how to find a not too remote spot.

Would be happy to have more tips for 1st time RVers/this area/season :)
Thanks
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
17,135
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
1 - No one can predict the weather so I would be looking at a weather report for Bryce Canyon and if it is clear then head there first. I would stop first at Joshua
Tree National Park. It is incredibly beautiful and very few people know about it so it is usually empty. Then go to Las Vegas and then to Zion NP. From there I would either head to Bryce Canyon NP or the south rim of the Grand Canyon depending on the weather. Then Sedona. September is very unpredictable weather wise.
2 - 412 miles is a two day drive for me in any RV. It can be done but you will be doing drive by sightseeing.
3 - I love Sedona but I really don't think there is many boondocking spots there.
You should also consider Death Valley however it does have a flooding problem right now. Camping is inexpensive there. I know plenty of places to camp for free in Las Vegas but I won't post it here in a public forum. I have lived in Las Vegas but I don't gamble and so I consider it a one night stopover. If you want to do a lot of free camping then subscribe to a website like Overnight RV Parking | Free Campsites.
Actually I would stop first at Santee Lakes in San Diego for a night. Beautiful spot with lots of birds.
 

Old_Crow

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Posts
3,612
Location
Tom's Place, California
Tom's right about boondocking in Sedona. It's way to trendy to allow much of that.
Most opportunities for boondocking are closer to Cottonwood or Camp Verde. There seems to be a big boondocking area behind the Catholic Church in Cottonwood. You can't miss the building, it's sort of a modern replica of an old mission. My wife said (and she was right) the thing looks like a carnival bouncy house from a distance. There's a dirt road that leads behind the church and I've seen a large number of RV's parked out in the desert there.
There's also Dead Horse Ranch state park in Cottonwood. I've never been into the park, but I've driven by it. Lots of people I've talked to say it's a nice place to stay.
An RV, even a Class B is not going to be much fun to drive through Sedona. They love their roundabouts in that part of Arizona, and parking even a Class B is going to be challenging.
 

Frizlefrak

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Posts
3,690
Location
El Paso, Texas
If you do decide to stay in an RV park, Zane Grey RV Park in Camp Verde is wonderful. Quick drive into Sedona, Jerome, Village of Oak Creek, etc.
 

Pedro Dog

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Posts
538
Location
South Shores, CA
What Old_Crow said is dead on. We've camped at Dead Horse Ranch state park and it was OK. Lots of sightseeing around there. Next would be the drive to Flagstaff, there is a stretch on Rock Creek that is tight and twisty but the Class B should have no issues.

From Flagstaff, you have many choices for nice camping in the altitude. Me personally, would not bother with the South Rim of the GC, been there many times and it is always crowded.

Next, I would recommend the drive to Marble Canyon and cross the Colorado river via the Historic Navajo Bridge. From there head up to the North Rim of the GC, it is spectacular but very high altitude. We were there in early September and had the first Frost. We camped outside the Park and found it better that way as the sightseeing involves different drives to different lookouts.

The drive from there to Fredonia and Kanab is a nice drive and I recommend you work your way to Duck Creek Village, high altitude with Aspen forests. Once there you can go to Bryce and then work your way back to Cedar city and then to St. George and Zion.
 

jackiemac

Site Team
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Posts
7,472
Location
Scotland
Note that if your RV is over 30ft you cannot use 89A to Sedona.


You might want to consider the Grand Circle as a route, obviously you need to change slightly for San Diego. There are lots of sites on that route and it takes you to lots of the parks.


I agree that Joshua is great to see. However the last few times we have been it has been busy. That would be a good 1st stopping point to get you in the swing of things.

You can do a lot of miles in one day but it will be more tiring than a car journey and you may find your average speed 55 - 60mph.

If boondocking then you need to be careful with your tanks. Suggest if toilet paper only being used for a pee then put it in a bin not down the tank. It will give you longer between dumping.

Check out campendium for boondocking suggestions.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
17,135
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
I agree that Joshua is great to see. However the last few times we have been it has been busy. That would be a good 1st stopping point to get you in the swing of things.
I am shocked to hear it is busy at JT. I must have recommended it too often. Jumbo Rocks is one of my all time favorite campgrounds. It is paradise. I see a lot of Joshua Trees in commercials on TV. Fun fact - Joshua trees aren't actually trees—they're succulents, a type of plant that stores water.
 

jackiemac

Site Team
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Posts
7,472
Location
Scotland
I am shocked to hear it is busy at JT. I must have recommended it too often. Jumbo Rocks is one of my all time favorite campgrounds. It is paradise. I see a lot of Joshua Trees in commercials on TV. Fun fact - Joshua trees aren't actually trees—they're succulents, a type of plant that stores water.
I guess it depends on what you class as "busy" but certainly a lot more people than our first trip when you could go to several spots and be almost alone.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
17,135
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
I guess it depends on what you class as "busy" but certainly a lot more people than our first trip when you could go to several spots and be almost alone.
I was there about 15 to 25 years ago. During the week most of the campsites were empty in wintertime. Did you visit the excellent WW2 museum just east of the south entrance? Very cool place and free. Here is a shot I took inside the museum of General Patton pissing in the Rhine.General Patton pauses.jpg
 

Alaskansnowbirds

Site Team
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
3,085
Location
Camp Verde, AZ
Jackiemac mentioned RVs over 30ft cannot use 89A to Sedona. That's NORTH of Sedona. 89A south between Cottonwood and Sedona is four lane.

I don't know of any boondocking area around Sedona. They even charge you to park your car at a trailhead to hike for a day. A great majority of the BLM land between Sedona and Cottonwood has been closed to camping because of the number of campers permanently camping in the area. They were also turning the area into a trash dump. Not controlling their trash and the wind blowing it all over the place. If they did bag up the trash then they would just leave it there when they left.
 

Old_Crow

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Posts
3,612
Location
Tom's Place, California
Jackiemac mentioned RVs over 30ft cannot use 89A to Sedona. That's NORTH of Sedona. 89A south between Cottonwood and Sedona is four lane.

I don't know of any boondocking area around Sedona. They even charge you to park your car at a trailhead to hike for a day. A great majority of the BLM land between Sedona and Cottonwood has been closed to camping because of the number of campers permanently camping in the area. They were also turning the area into a trash dump. Not controlling their trash and the wind blowing it all over the place. If they did bag up the trash then they would just leave it there when they left.
I've seen big rigs go up and down that hill, but I guarantee that the drivers were NOT happy campers.
In 2020 my wife and I had been out in the desert between Sedona and Cottonwood in our Jeep. We returned to the pavement on that dirt road that comes out behind the church. There were a group of what looked to be border patrol, state troopers, and possibly sheriff's cars posed to enter a place where a lot of RVs were camped. Perhaps this was part of the crackdown you were speaking of.
I know part of that land is AZ trust land, and you have to go on the computer to pay the camping fee even though there is no host or amenities. I believe the sheriff enforces that, but I'm not sure.
We had a nice FHU spot in the manager's site at Crescent Moon Ranch.

20200404_130154.jpg
 

jackiemac

Site Team
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Posts
7,472
Location
Scotland
Jackiemac mentioned RVs over 30ft cannot use 89A to Sedona. That's NORTH of Sedona. 89A south between Cottonwood and Sedona is four lane.

I don't know of any boondocking area around Sedona. They even charge you to park your car at a trailhead to hike for a day. A great majority of the BLM land between Sedona and Cottonwood has been closed to camping because of the number of campers permanently camping in the area. They were also turning the area into a trash dump. Not controlling their trash and the wind blowing it all over the place. If they did bag up the trash then they would just leave it there when they left.
Thanks for clarification.
 
Top Bottom