HomeSand DunesHot Well Dunes Recreation Area (Safford Arizona)

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area (Safford Arizona)

Overview of Hot Well Dunes

Open: Year round
Latitude / Longitude: 32.5205, -109.4407
Managed by: BLM
Usage: Moderate – Busy / Extremely Busy on Holidays
Fee: Free
Camping: Onsite camping
Location: Southeast Arizona

The Bowie entrance is the best option, it’s wider, so better for RVs and towing.

From Safford
Travel seven miles east on Highway 70
Turn right (south) on BLM’s Haekel Road
Drive 25 miles to dunes

From Bowie
Drive two miles north on Central Avenue to Fan Road
Travel one mile east on Fan
Go north on Donahue for one mile
Turn east on Rosewood and follow it for six miles to Haekel
Go another nine miles north to the site

Via Tanque Road
This road provides access from Highway 191
The turnoff from Highway 191 onto Tanque Road is located near milepost marker 105

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area 

Hot Well Dunes Campground

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Rustic campground with minimal amenities

Fee: $3.00 Self pay / honor system

  • 10 developed RV / tent sites
  • First come first serve
  • Pit toilets, no water
  • Limited shade, a few scrappy trees

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area

Dunes, plus natural hot springs, what could be better?

2,000 acres of remote sand dunes 2+ hours east of Tucson. The dunes are the beaches of a lake that existed here two million years ago. Most of the off-roading is on wide desert paths and washes.

There is one ATV dune area with a smallish comp hill, some surrounding minor dune hills with a bit of open sand, but the dessert provides miles of open riding with plenty of room to open up.

Not a traditional big dune experience, but excellent off-roading opportunities for those willing to make the journey.

There are two developed hot spring tubs available, the pools are concrete and fenced, they’re fed from a natural underground hot spring.

Because the pump is run on solar power, the tubs empty out once the sun goes down, so no night time soaking. I image this is intentional to discourage drunk partying.

Very, very remote, so buy supplies before you make the drive. The roads are poorly maintained and prone to flooding after rain storms, so check the forecast. Some potholes and washboard surface.

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area
On US-191 driving from Clifton to Safford with a view of Mt. Graham

  • Expect big crowds on major three day weekends
  • May – September is too hot for riding
  • OHV decal (for AZ residents) and flag required (park rangers are few and far between, but you can get a fine)

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area

Arizona ATV / OHV Registration

Arizona Residents

  • All OHVs in Arizona are required to be titled
  • All OHVs must have and properly display a license plate on the rear
  • OHVs must display an OHV decal in the upper left-hand corner of the license plate to operate on public and state lands

Non-resident OHV Decal Requirements

  • Non-residents that meet all of the following are exempt from OHV Decal purchase:
  • The person is not a resident of Arizona
  • The person owns the vehicle
  • The vehicle displays a current OHV Decal or registration from the person’s home state of residency
  • The vehicle is not in the state for more than 30 consecutive days

Arizona Game & Fish OHV Requirements

Arizona ATV / OHV Rules

  • Helmet that is properly fitted, fastened and has a USDOT safety rating for those 18 and under who ride on an OHV. (Riders in an OHV such as an ROV, while recommended for safety, do not need a helmet.) It is recommended that all OHV users wear a helmet.
  • Spark arrestor that is USDA approved.
  • Brakes adequate to stop and hold the vehicle.
  • Muffler or noise dissipative device that prevents sound above 96 decibels.
  • Eye protection for operators of vehicles not equipped with a windshield.
  • Headlights and taillights for use from dusk to dawn. Safety flag at least 6” by 12” and 8 feet above the ground on sand dunes or areas designated by the land management agency.
  • Brake light and at least one red rear reflector (if taillight does not reflect).
  • License plate securely fastened to the rear of the OHV and clearly visible.
  • Rearview mirror.
  • Seat and footrests for the operator and passenger if vehicle is designed to carry a passenger.

Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Guide: OHV Laws and Places to Ride

Featured Photo By Luis Castro | Unsplash

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