Walnut Canyon National Monument East near Flagstaff, Arizona

by Will

RV Boondocking East of Walnut Canyon National Monument

RV Boondocking East of Walnut Canyon National Monument

This is a nice area to camp that provides excellent access to the south side of Walnut Canyon in the Coconino National Forest east of Flagstaff. The site is among a juniper forest and receives plenty of sunlight. Anderson Mesa and Lake Mary can be reached by heading southwest on the forest road.

RV Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 35 10.915’ W 111 25.843’

Elevation: 6380 feet

Campsite Directions: From Flagstaff take I-40 east to exit 211, for Winona. Head south on Winona Ranch Road (FR 82) for about 1 ½ miles until you reach FR 128 on your right. Head west on FR 128 for 1 mile and you’ll see a faint road on your right (north) that dead ends at the campsite. The road is just after you ascend a small hill. There is a nice spot partially surrounded by juniper trees on the left as the road fades.

More Campsites: There are more places to camp along forest roads that branch off FR 128 - but most of these roads can be quite rough and are best for small RVs with good ground clearance.

There are several more places to camp north of the monument - click here for my article about RV camping north of Walnut Canyon National Monument.

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Walnut Canyon National Monument Video Slideshow

Walnut Canyon National Monument RV Camping Journal

September 25th, 2011

This is a great campsite! It’s in a juniper forest and even though the site is fairly close to FR 128, the junipers provide some privacy. FR 128 can be busy at times, surprisingly so. I’m guessing folks coming from the east use the road to access Lake Mary and Anderson Mesa. The last few days have been pretty quiet though.

The campsite is on top of a hill so thunderstorms could be an issue – especially lightning, since these junipers are rather short and not much higher than my camper. Monsoon season is not the best time to camp here. Thankfully there have only been a couple thunderstorms since I’ve been here. It appears monsoon season is coming to an end.

Wildlife: I awoke the morning of my “big adventure” to hike the bottom of Walnut Canyon, and saw a very large bull elk about 25 feet away out my back window. It was about 7 am. He saw me as well. I got my camera

and slowly opened the door, but that quickly scared him away. There aren’t as many birds here as at my last campsite on the other side of Walnut Canyon. I’ve seen many cottontail rabbits and a few small lizards.

Cows: A few cows have come by my site. Thankfully there aren’t many out here.

Insects: I’ve had no real problem with insects, though there are some tiny flies, sort of like “eye gnats” but they don’t go for the eyes. They just fly around you and sometimes by your face.

Cell Signal: No problem with Verizon cell phone calls. Verizon mobile broadband internet has worked well with the external antenna placed on my RV roof. It’s fairly fast. I can only get National Access when not using the external antenna.

Weather: I received one good rainstorm which left things pretty wet. I couldn’t start a fire afterwards and had to wait a couple days for things to dry out. Temps during the day have been perfect – mid 70s to low 80s. Lows have been a bit chilly and in the 40s, perhaps a couple degrees below 40 on a few nights.

Recreation: I have excellent access to the south side of Walnut Canyon and the National Monument from here. However, there is no access to the main entrance as that’s on the other side of the canyon. There are even ways to access the bottom of Walnut Canyon, via side canyons. There is a great route to get to Santa Fe Dam by taking FR 128 west just past Onyx Tank. You’ll see a road on your right and this will lead you to the National Monument boundary; from here hike southwest a short ways to a side canon next to the dam. You can take the side canyon to the bottom - it's not too difficult, but there is some boulder hopping involved.

Accessing Marshall Lake and Anderson Mesa should be pretty easy; just follow FR 128 southwest.

There isn’t a whole lot for hiking directly from camp. It can be difficult to see very far ahead of you in this juniper forest. However, there are a few faint jeep roads nearby to hike. The best scenery is in and around Walnut Canyon.

RV Solar: Keeping my batteries charged has been easy as there is plenty of sun.

RV Campsite Rating: 7 out of 10. There is much to see here and accessing Walnut Canyon and Anderson Mesa is easy. The downside is that the campsite is fairly close to the sometimes busy road, FR 128.

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