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Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite1) (“Q” or “Q-town”) is the most famous snowbird winter haven. It is centered of the intersection of Interstate 10 and US Route 952) / AZ Route 953).


The area is known more for snowbird services rather than for aesthetic beauty.

The camping surface is desert pavement, a hard and fairly flat surface. Venturing off into sand (even beside road shoulders) can result in getting stuck. Avoid camping in arroyos (low spots) because flash flooding in the desert is very real. You Have Been Warned.

geogypsytraveler.com_wp-content_uploads_2015_02_06-dsc_4872lerw-last-light-on-cholla-dome-rock-quartzsite-az-g-1024x678-2.jpg There are saguaro cacti but they are giant and easy to avoid. Avoid stepping on small plants barefoot as they may have stickers.

“Jumping” cholla4) cactus (at right) is evil. Don't touch cholla, get near cholla, or even look at cholla. If you get attacked by cholla the least painful way to get rid of it is with a pocket comb. Carry one now, thank me later.


Dispersed camping on BLM land is free and limited to 14d as with many other BLM lands. Because of heavy use there are some restrictions:

  • dispersed camping is only allowed in designated areas
    • Plomosa, 6 miles north of Q
    • Hi Jolly5), 3 miles north of Q ← often the first to fill up
    • Scadden Wash, 4 miles east of Q
    • Dome Rock, 6 miles west of Q
    • Road Runner, 5 miles south of Q
  • a free permit is required

The permit is available from the camp host; typically the host's RV will be near the entrance and have a table out front to facilitate paperwork. A flagpole signifies when the host is available: if the flag is flying you can approach to get the permit. If the flag is down find your spot and come back when the flag is flying.

neighboring areas

The camping limits in effect are the normal BLM rules for boondocking: 14d stay followed by 28 days at least 25 miles away. Luckily there are areas relatively nearby to meet this need.

From north to south:

  • Lake Havasu BLM, AZ - Craggy Wash6), Lone Tree North, Crossroads, etc
  • Parker BLM, CA - Shea Road, etc. Hillier, more OHV activity.
  • Ehrenberg, AZ7). Visually similar to Quartzsite
  • Quartzsite
  • KOFA wildlife refuge (southernmost portion). Beautiful area with mountains. Limited cell service.
  • Yuma


Longer stays are available for a fee in La Posa, which are a collection of four Long Term Visitors Areas (LVTA). The LTVA typically offer dumpsters, RV dumps, vault toilers.

In some years the LTVA areas can get full.

RV parks

Commercial RV parks are also available for those who cannot boondock or who prefer not to.


Informal swap meets and flea markets are plentiful.

Groceries and restaurants do exist in Q but tend to be very expensive. Stock your cupboard before arriving. Having said that, there are many salvage groceries where you can get oddball, expired, and discontinued foods for cheap:

Showers are available at Main St Laundry ($9 for 20 minutes) and at at least one truck stop (~$12).

RV Pit Stop on 95 has propane, and water by the gallon. If you have a camper or rv you can get bulk water for cheap ($2 for 40 gallons). Bulk water and propane is paid for at the little office in the parking lot.

Trash can be deposited for free at the La Paz refuse collection point north of Q. Hours are traditionally 7:30am - 2:30pm Sunday through Wednesday but check signage.

Silly Al's Pizza is a famous pizza place in town.

Hi Jolly's grave is interesting and refers to a part of American history few people know.


In January and February Q hosts gem/rock shows, swap meets, and the "big tent" RV show.

Historically the winter Rubber Tramp Rendezvous has been held in January in the Q area.

the name is historical mis-spelling
which turns west at Q
heading north
corruption of “Haj Ali”
free permit required
BLM areas may not be technically 25 miles from Quartzsite dispersed
camping/snowbirding/quartzsite.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/19 20:04 by frater_secessus