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Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - Printable Version

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Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - Patrick Piper - 04-02-2019

Will be Boondocking for the first time in about 3 weeks.  We plan to cruise and Boondock from Fort Worth through El Paso, Texas and on to Tucson and Yuma Arizona.  I do not plan to cruise the border fence line.  Not my intent or job to do so.  I just don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Does Homeland have any way to issue warnings for specific areas along our route?    Or, are our safety concerns not really that concerning?


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - WanderingRose - 04-02-2019

You don’t say what kind of a rig you are in, but if a van I suspect you will come under very close scrutiny.

I would stay in sanctioned areas only, and not set up anywhere near the border. Not so much because you would be in danger from those crossing the border from Mexico, but because your presence will be noted and likely questioned.

Why would one do that, really.

I was in Texas for several weeks earlier this winter, and had no problems, but Border Patrol were very present.

You can camp for free on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore, if you’re interested. Smile


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - Almost There - 04-02-2019

(04-02-2019, 03:41 PM)Patrick Piper Wrote:     Or, are our safety concerns not really that concerning?

As far as I'm concerned, safety concerns are vastly overblown. Is there an increased presence at border crossings in to Meixco - hell yes. Are you personally in greater danger driving and staying near the border...not as far as I'm concerned.

A couple of us just spent the last 6 weeks or so touring south eastern AZ - Yuma, Ajo, Buenes Aires NWR, Coronado NF, Nogales, Bisbee etc. The furthest north we got was I 10 at Benson. I lost count of the number of border patrol road stops I cleared.

Unless you and your vehicle look disreputable you shouldn't have any problems with border patrol. Keep in mind that Border Patrol staff are federal agents and if you're violating federal law you could find yourself detained. Also, any time you are in a NF, NWR or on BLM land you are on federal land and their rules apply not state rules.

I actually found it comforting to find the numbers of them out there patrolling the areas but then that's just me. I don't fear LEOs of any type.

BTW, both of us were in vans - my high top conversion and a Road Trek. They're not treated any differently than any other enclosed vehicle. Questions asked - are you alone and my citizenship...that's it.

Have fun, quit worrying!


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - MrNoodly - 04-02-2019

I spent most of the past six winters along the border. If I stand on my toes I can see the fence from where I'm camped right now. I do not worry.

However, it's starting to get hot. It'll be hotter in three weeks. But some people like that.

There are military facilities near the border, like Fort Huachuca, Goldwater bombing range, Yuma Proving Grounds, that are off limits. There are also reservations where you need tribal approval to boondock. So study your maps and know where the public lands are.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - lenny flank - 04-02-2019

Meh, I spent a month driving all over Brownsville and environs. Never had any difficulty. Even chatted with the border checkpoint guards about the nearby Civil War battle site.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - Patrick Piper - 04-02-2019

(04-02-2019, 03:50 PM)WanderingRose Wrote:  You don’t say what kind of a rig you are in, but if a van I suspect you will come under very close scrutiny.

I would stay in sanctioned areas only, and not set up anywhere near the border.  Not so much because you would be in danger from those crossing the border from Mexico, but because your presence will be noted and likely questioned.

Why would one do that, really.

I was in Texas for several weeks earlier this winter, and had no problems, but Border Patrol were very present.

You can camp for free on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore, if you’re interested. Smile

Sorry.  We will be in a Dodge Grand Caravan.  Plan to be nearest Highway 10.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - WanderingRose - 04-02-2019

You should have no trouble up there.

Basic common sense should do it.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - MrNoodly - 04-02-2019

"Does Homeland have any way to issue warnings for specific areas along our route?"

No, because there's nothing to warn about.



"Plan to be nearest Highway 10."

You would miss the more interesting and scenic places if you did that. For example, I-10 from El Paso is just flat, windy and dusty. But if you take I-25 north to Caballo then 152 west, you go up into the mountains, over Emory Pass, to Santa Clara. Then 180 to Silver City. Then 90 takes you to Lordsburg. Then, just before Arizona, you have the choice of turning south on 80 and going into the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains at Portal, or continue on I-10 to US191 south to Cochise Stronghold, or turning south at Benson on 80 and go to Tombstone and Bisbee. And so on.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - StarliteRambler - 04-02-2019

I wouldn't worry about issues with illegal immigrants. The adults have to pay a cartel on the Mexican side around $3500 to be allowed to cross the border without being shot. Once across they are trying to get to the meeting place with the "coyote" they paid $10,000 in advance to smuggle them to wherever their job is. With all that on the line the last thing they want is any kind of interaction with boondockers.


RE: Where not to Boondock in Arizona or New Mexico near the border. - Patrick Piper - 04-02-2019

Thanks to all for the advice and recommended alternative interesting/scenic routes