Updated: Nov 14, 2019
This was our favorite location in the Phoenix area! We landed here between our side trips for a few weeks at a time each. The location is on Arizona Trust Land. We found out about it initially through freecampsites.com but it seems the location is no longer listed there. We did some digging and found out how to acquire a permit to camp on 8 million acres available for recreational use and it only cost us $20 for an entire year.
The process was pretty easy. We purchased our permit from their website HERE and printed it off to display on our rig. You can also print one off for each vehicle. All vehicles entering state trust land for any reason must display the permit or risk a hefty fine. Finding a spot seemed overwhelming so I ended up calling and speaking to someone. They showed me this map that had designated areas on it. As long as the area was blue we could camp there if there weren't signs posted stating otherwise.
We scoped out quite a few spots from the map. Some areas are subleased for cattle grazing or other businesses and it's hard to tell unless you just go check it out. A few places blatantly state no camping so scouting ahead of time is a must. We also might suggest to call the office just to check and make sure. You are allowed to stay for 14 days but I wasn't clear how long you must be gone from the area. We moved frequently but often came back to the same areas. We never had any trouble and we even had a Sheriff come check on us once who was very friendly and upon seeing our permit said we were welcome to stay there.
AT A GLANCE
Length We Stayed: 14 day stints off and on
Solitude: No other Campers - sometimes some ORV
Distance to John's Work: 26 min
Services: 12 min to Wittmann for gas and propane, 25 to Sun City for groceries
T-Mobile Coverage: Decent
Time of year we stayed: On and off Dec - Feb
This area was super close to John's work and the kids loved to play outside. We always had a spot to come back to after leaving town to explore other areas. Free potable water, dump and super cheap propane was available 30 min away at Orangewood RV which was close to John's hospital.
If you don't feel comfortable being 100% alone this is not the place for you. We left our rig often (never over night) to run into town for various things and never had any issues or felt that it was unsafe. There was evidence of other campers and sadly quite a bit of trash. We cleaned up as best we could and dealt with the rest.