Camping on Top of the Mogollon Rim

As spring comes full bloom in Arizona, the higher elevation areas are warming up for camping. While Arizona has no shortage of great views, sometimes they can be a challenge to find. In our experience, finding free disbursed camping here has been a tad bit more challenging than what we were used to in New York, not because they don’t exist, but because information online has been scarce.

Last fall, Liam took me to the Mogollon Rim for our first disbursed camping trip together. Off of Forest Road 9350, there are a multitude of free sites available. The Mogollon Rim sits at 7500 ft. and is the southern boarder of the Colorado plateau.

Right before the Forest Road begins, you can see the sign for the Mogollon Welcome Center. The center shows the view from the Rim overlooking a vast pine forest. It’s a short walk from the car to the overlook and well worth a quick stop.

Mogollon Rim overlook

Along the drive on the forest road, we passed many campsites. Each campsite has a fire pit but other than that, you’re on your own! The view from the edge is steep and really shows the vastness of the world we live in. There is an abundance of birch trees, pine, and oak and you can really feel their presence in the air quality. Bring plenty of water as we did not come across a water source on the rim.

When we got there, we set up camp and settled in the take in the view. Before dinner we decided to walk up the road and see what may lay ahead. It felt like the road could go forever. We passed more sites, some with trees blocking the view after the rim, and some with an absolutely clear view of the trees and mountains. There were golden fields with birch trees, their leaves golden from the cold. It was quiet and peaceful.

5 star campsite!

Before long it was time to return to camp for a warm dinner of mashed potatoes, hot dogs, and sausage. We ate next to a warm fire and admired the sunset. After spending hours staring at the stars, it was time for bed. We had packed our 0 degree sleeping bags and bundled up for a cozy nights sleep.

We awoke with the sunrise, packing up camp and making a final meal of corn beef hash to start our day. I sat by the rim with a warm cup of coffee and took in the final view of the changing colors below me. It was a successful trip.

Morning coffee on the Rim

There weren’t too many tent campers when we visited but there were a few trailer campers. Be sure to get to camp early to secure a site you like, there are plenty of beautiful ones to choose from! The sunset from Mogollon is unmatched so if you’ve got some time and want an easy car camping weekend, check out the Mogollon Rim! You’re in for a treat.