Seven Springs Campground in Tonto National Forest, is a free campground located about 20 miles north of Cave Creek/Carefree. Seven Springs Campground is a semi-primitive campground that is an easy camping getaway from the Phoenix area. The flowing Seven Springs Wash borders the campground under large Sycamore and Walnut trees that provide shade during the summer and fall months.
There are 23 campsites in Seven Springs Campground. Each campsite has picnic tables and fire rings with grills. There is a bathroom onsite, and water is available from a solar powered pump during daylight hours at the campground.
NextCampsite Review Summary
Seven Springs Campground is one of the NextCampsite’s favorite camping spots to get away from the Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix area) at the last minute. Seven Springs is great early or late season camping spot in spring (spring starts in early February in the Phoenix Area) and late fall (likewise fall stretches into November most of Arizona); the weather is nice and the campground is virtually empty. However, in Spring and fall it can get cold at night, so be prepared for cold weather if you go at these times of year. Regardless of time of year, we have never had a hard time getting a spot at Seven Springs Campground and have always enjoyed the trip, especially because there is plenty of access to hiking or off-road trail riding on Forest Road 24.
The best campsites are on the southern end of Seven Springs Campground, as these are the most private. The campsites that are on the west side of the campground, against the creek, are your next best choice, as they are larger and can be setup to provide privacy and a view of the creek.
During the summer rainy season, be cautious of flash floods. Access to Seven Springs is via a washboard dirt road that can be bumpy, dusty, and narrow at times, but most vehicles should not have a problem with the road. however it is recommended to bring plenty of water with you as this pump is not dependable.
|Campground Type:||Organized, Semi-primitive|
|Number of Campsites:||23 Campsites|
|Cost:||$9/Night/vehicle via Tonto Pass|
|Drinking Water:||Yes, but not dependable – Bring your own water|
|Hiking Access:||Yes – Hiking Trails nearby|
|RV/Trailer Length:||40 Feet|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible – Verizon|
|Operating Season:||Open Year-round|
|Geo Coordinates:||33.971561, -111.865714|
|Nearest City/Town:||Carefree, Arizona|
|Location:||Maricopa County, Arizona|
|Paved Road Access:||No|
|Proximity to Stores:||20 miles to Carefree, Arizona|
|Directions:||From Carefree, AZ, take Cave Creek Road north 15.1 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign into campground. NOTE: After 5.9 miles, Cave Creek Rd. becomes dirt, narrow, rocky and rough.|
|Web:||Tonto National Forest||Twitter:|
When To Go
Late Fall/Early Spring – In late fall and early spring, the weather is very nice at Seven Springs Campground, and the campground is often not very busy.
Watch for snakes in Spring and Fall.
During the rainy season, be cautious of flash floods as they can raise the level of water in Seven Springs Wash from several inches to several feet in a matter of minutes, possibly overflowing into the campground.
Summer fire season restrictions may be in effect. Check with the local Forest Service Ranger District for up-to-date restriction information.
Highs in October and April can still exceed 100 degrees and lows in December and January can dip below freezing.
What To Do
One of the most popular activities at Seven Springs Campground is hiking. There is a trail head located on the other side of the creek from the entrance to the campground. Additionally, off-road trail riding is also popular. Take Forest Road 24 to Bloody Basin Road (FR 24 end here at a “T”, hang a left and you will eventually end up at Interstate 17) and turn right, take it to where it ends at the Verde River and you will find the historic Sheep’s Bridge (and possibly some hot springs, but we have never found them).
Also of interest is the Sears-Kay Ruins, which is located along FR 24 near Carefree, AZ. Sears-Kay is ruins of an ancient HoHoKam Native American settlement that existed around 1500 A.D.
Seven Springs Campground (and the neighboring CCC Group Camp) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934, as part of the New Deal that brought the USA out of the Great Depression. Stonework found throughout Seven Springs Campground and the neighboring CCC Campground is example of the work done by the CCC.
The campground is located along the Great Western Trail, which is a network of dirt-roads and trails that lead from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.
Image Credits: Justin Wilson