Boondocking Review – American Girl Mine Rd – Winterhaven, CA / Yuma, AZ

American Girl Mine Rd is a hop, skip, and a jump away from Yuma, AZ – it’s technically in Winterhaven, CA and it is a huge boondocking spot. We picked this location because of the sand dunes located right next to them (it’s more commonly known to people as “Glamis”).

Coordinates: 32.8367,-114.8108 (those are the coordinates to our particular spot which had a great view – see photo above) Take exit 159 off I8 onto Ogilby Rd for about 3.5 miles. You’ll go over some train tracks (they’re level and you won’t lose any RV legs!) and you’ll see 2 turnoffs to the right. First one will be for Sidewinder Rd and the second one will American Girl Mine Rd. You can take either one – they’re both BLM.

We found it using an app called Campendium (here). It’s how we find a lot of our free camping spots. 😉 There is a 14 day stay limit and no facilities.

The closest dump station is just off of I8 at a Chevron gas station. They’re expensive and charge by the foot (for both dump and water) and are always busy… but they’re conveniently close. Click here to get more info. You can also dump at the RV parks nearby. My research tells me they’re between $10-$15 to dump and fill up you water tanks. So, if you have big tanks like we do, it makes more financial sense to hunt down an RV park.

Side note: What we personally do when we need to dump, flush, and fill is to stay at a Passport America RV park close by or a Good Sam so that way we are spending about $20 or less for the night. We can flush our tanks properly, fill our water tanks, take a long, hot shower and charge up our batteries overnight.

Below are our requirements when searching for a spot. Yours may be different. These categories are what we consider important.

SITE QUALITY: 5/5 – The road leading in is paved until you turn onto American Girl Mine Rd, which is dirt but hard, packed dirt. Any rig can go down it. It’s a little washboard like in several spots so go slow. There are pull-offs all down the road on both sides that can be unleveled so watch your RV feet! You can pick any spot you like and the ground is all pretty level.

PET FRIENDLINESS: 5/5 – This area is SO great for pets. The ground is very rocky so make sure you let your pets adjust. We let ours go off-leash when they need to run a bit. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE always keep an eye on your pet, there are coyotes out here and other wildlife.

CELL SIGNAL: 3/5 – AT&T is decent and usable without a booster. AT&T averaged 10 down / 8 up. Verizon we had to bust out the booster to get useable signal. Verizon averaged around 7 down / 7 up. We were able to get online, do conference calls, and stream. It does get congested here.

THE VIEW: 5/5 – The view was fantastic in every direction you looked! The Cargo Muchacho Mountains are in the distance one direction and the sand dunes in the other. The sunrise and sunsets here are amazing.

LOCATION: 5/5 – Quiet and peaceful, 90% of the time. There are trucks that drive by during the day hauling from the mine and the occasional train goes by. We did find out that it gets busy with the sand dunes during holidays so traveler beware! If silence is what you seek, avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter! Its about 20 miles from Yuma, AZ which has everything you could need. We would go into town several times a week to get groceries or go to the gym.

Some history about this western mine:

The Cargo Muchacho Mountains were first described by a Spanish explorer back in 1776 and it is believed to be the first gold mining in California. As legend goes the district name, Cargo Muchacho, (or “Loaded Boy”) refers to two Mexican boys who returned to camp with their shirts loaded with gold. Eventually, American miners became interested in the area after the Mexican War of 1848. In 1862 gold was reportedly rediscovered and it became established that year.

The completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad between Los Angeles and Yuma in 1877, brought an influx of American miners and additional strikes soon followed. In 1880, a strike was made three miles further north in Gold Rock Canyon (later Tumco Wash). A small rush ensued and in 1884, the miners formally established the Ogilby Mining District and christened their settlement Gold Rock Camp. The Gold Rock discoveries accelerated interest in the area. Rich ore samples were reported to grade as much as $9,000 to $12,000 a ton. In 1892, the Golden cross alone had produced $24,374 in gold from its small scale operation. If you would like to read more about American Girl Mine and the other mines surrounding the area, click here or here.

American Girl Mine is currently an active gold mine. Come visit! Maybe you’ll strike it rich! 😉

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