This area is a jointly run area by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the US Bureau of Reclamation, and AZ Game and Fish Department and provides a variety of dispersed camping sites along with fishing and boating. Camping is free for up to ten days in a calendar year. We only spotted a sign on the north entrance and saw nothing to indicate you were in the wildlife area on the south entrance.
Mittry Lake sits at the end of Laguna Dam Rd about 10 miles or so from Hwy 95 in Yuma. Upon entering the Mittry Lake Area the road turns to dirt and runs for about 6 miles north until you reach pavement again. The road can be extremely dusty and at times very “washboardy” but if you take it slow it will be fine. The road is wide and there are many large areas (pull-outs) for camping on the side of the road with great views. There are a few short turn-ins for smaller rigs and also a few turn-offs down roads for a short distance with a variety of sites. I would recommend unhooking your toad (if you have one) prior to heading down one of these roads as some were quite sandy and hilly and bumpy.
There are probably 8 or 9 sites you will encounter during the first 1.5 miles when entering from the south before reaching the boat ramp/day use area. Some of these sites are surrounded by a lot of tall brush with little or no view of the lake and some have terrific views. Some even have their own dumpster (but do you want to camp next to a dumpster?). One site had a bit of trash around the campfire pit (well maybe a lot) but the rest were nest and clean.
The boat launch/day use area has trash dumpsters, picnic area, a dock, a boat launch, and vault toilets.
As you continue north on the road for the next 4.5 miles or so you will find a variety of sites with great views.
We selected a site about a mile further north from the day use area which was a wide pull-out and had some terrific views. We wanted one of the wider spots to try and not be so close to the road due to dust and noise.
Campground: Mittry Lake Wildlife Refuge
Location: About 10 miles north of Yuma, AZ
Site: About 2.5 miles north on dirt road after entering the Refuge (near Betty’s Kitchen – a wildlife area)
Services: Dry camp
Comments: A lovely dispersed camping area with views of the lake and lots of bird life.
We even had a little hill we could climb in front of our site which provided us with even better views and a great happy hour location.
The best part about our site was not only the fabulous views and a happy hour hill, but the fact that we had nature surrounding us 360 degrees. We could not see any other rig nor any sign of man. Beautiful.
On the down side, there seems to be more traffic coming down this road then we had imagined. What they are doing we have no idea but it must be some kind of short cut between Yuma and YPG? That’s all we could figure out. And on weekends you have some ATV’s and of course, fishing boat traffic. If the road is dusty plan on keeping your windows and vents shut due to the dust. We had, luckily on our first day, a big downpour of rain which keep the dust to a minimum during our stay.
One morning around 9am we even had the US Marine Police K-9 Training Unit stop right next to our rig and got out and they worked with their dogs for about 30 minutes. Of course, it was fun to watch (being the dog trainer that I am) but the dogs were barking and the police were yelling their commands so obviously, it was not restful and peaceful. Why they choose to stop right next to us when they are so many other empty spots to stop is beyond us but it is public land so they have every right to stop and enjoy. We completely support the Marines and all their hard work AND I love a well trained animal!
The traffic seemed heaviest on the weekend and then in the morning/early evening. People traveling to/from work? We saw a few large semis hauling equipment and some big trucks with BLM Contractor written on the side of it. We can understand local traffic from campers and ATVers but where everyone else was coming from or going to we have no idea.
There also tends to be a fair share of something called “mosquitoes” (us people from the Inland Northwest don’t really know what that is but we have read about it) which I am sure is seasonal but you are still around a body of water so don’t plan on evening fires without lots of repellent. Daytime was absolutely no problem.
There was a slight bit of noise from the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) which isn’t far as the crow flies, just a few miles. A few Hercules flew over and a helicopter or two and we could hear some detonations in the distance but nothing at night, just peace and quiet.
For the most part, we had peace and quiet, and perfect solitude, outstanding views, and beautiful scenery.