Box Bar Recreation Site

Tonto National Forest

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East Rio Verde Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85263 480-595-3300 602-225-5200 Official Website

GPS: 33.7437, -111.6608

Last Price Paid: $8
Pad Type: dirt
Elevation: 1526 ft
Max Stay: 14
Max Length: 32 ft
Tent Camping: Yes

1 person has reviewed this location.

Ratings Summary

Site Quality

Cell Phone Coverage

Verizon 4G/LTE
Thumb 2016 11 30 11 00 31 icloud photos
Charlevoix, MI 31' Airstream Excella 500 Mercedes-Benz R320
44 reviews
Nightly rate: $8
Days stayed: 1

Trekerboy would stay here again

“Uneven, riverside camping”

Reviewed Nov 09, 2018

Overall Rating

We decided to give this spot a chance despite there not being any reviews on Campendium because we needed to be close to Scottsdale. It's... just OK.

The area of Arizona that Box Bar Recreation Site is in in technically Scottsdale, but you're a good 40+ minutes for the main part of town, and Rio Verde, which is only a mile or so from the campsites is sort a strange housing and country club oasis in an otherwise very National Forest-y region. Rio Verde has what seems to be thousands of homes and lots of golf courses, but I have yet to find a single coffee shop, grocery store or gas station within the town. The nearest google result was 25 minutes away. The only reason I mention this is that entering the Box Bar recreation site you may think you're just outside a town center, but you're really not; you'll have to give a half hour or more to get supplies.

The camp here, you need the Tonto Forest Pass, which is $8, and you can get a 50% discount with America the Beautiful National Parks pass. You can use the VIPly app to purchase pass on your phone and then display a permit (provided near the entrance to the camping area on the sign posts) with the purchase and permit information. The sign posts also list a number of other areas where passes can be purchased (none of which are nearby).

The campsites themselves... well, the pictures from the USDA make it look like there is a wooded area with lots of flat space to camp... I don't know if the river topography changed recently or what, but this area was nowhere to be found. What was there was a dirt parking lot, and maybe 6 other sites where you could set up a camper. The parking lot would be suitable for big rigs if you could manage the few tight turns and steep inclines getting in there.

The 5 suitable campsites aren't well defined; you can pretty much park wherever you want once you get into the area, but it's very uneven throughout and lots of large pits to avoid when maneuvering around.

The river is right there, and a rope swing for kids if you walk the river's edge to find it. River itself is fast moving.

At the time we camped there, it looked like someone may have been "permanently tent camping" down by the river on the other side of the brown metal fence/barrier.

There are garbage dumpsters near the entrance to the main camping area, a few porta-potties in the main camping area, and access to at least two hiking trails.

Internet access was decent... on AT&T about 10mbps down and 2mbps up. Verizon about the same (both unboosted and un-mimo'ed). Internet access in the "town" of Rio Verde wasn't much better... LTE signal was strong but throughput was ssssllllooooowwwww...

It's just sort of an "eh" place to camp, but it was quiet and very little light pollution if that's something you're looking for.

Site Quality
Verizon 4G/LTE

This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of

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  • dry camping
  • Dispersed Camping
  • fishing
  • picnic area
  • water access
  • restrooms: vault
  • trash
  • pets


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