Red Tank Draw ranks up there as one of the most beautiful camping areas I've come across. The red rock here is gorgeous and there aren't 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. The Red Tank Draw camping area is 12 miles southeast of Sedona, Arizona.
Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 34 40.420’ W 111 43.751’
Elevation: 3808 feet
Campsite Directions: From Camp Verde take I-17 north to the Sedona Hwy 179 exit (exit 298) and turn right onto FR 618. Take FR 618 to FR 121 (just past Red Tank Draw) turning right. Follow FR 121 less than ½ mile and turn right on the first side road. There are a handful of great campsites along this road, some next to the edge of Red Tank Draw canyon.
This is about the best camping spot I’ve found so far. In terms of scenic beauty at the actual campsite, this is the most beautiful so far. I can look out my window and see down into the canyon from above; superb scenery and red rock. It is more private than the spot I had at West Clear Creek, however I’m still 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 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.
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 of here. Oh well, it’s worth it for the great views and being able to see down into the canyon to the west and north. 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. It’s an easy hike down in to the draw from here.
I have seen a few other campers here. There was one family that learned of this campsite from my website. This may become a popular place to camp now!
I have heard a few gunshots off in the distance - thankfully no shots nearby.
There is plenty to see and do here. I still need to find the Red Tank Draw petroglyphs! 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 now so I'll hold off on that adventure till next time.
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.
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).
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.
Weather: The weather’s been nice. 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’s 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, though when a storm system comes through, like it did on 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.
Campsite Rating: 9 out of 10. It’s a gorgeous spot with lots to do in the area.