In the heart of Gila County in southern Arizona, you can make your way to San Carlos, a tiny desert town. San Carlos is the largest and most populous town on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, serving as the administration and government center for the tribe.
Only a few thousand people live in San Carlos, yet it remains an important hub for both the county and the reservation as a whole. The town is a two-hour drive away from both Tucson and Phoenix, yet remote enough to enjoy spectacularly dark night skies and unimaginably beautiful desert scapes. Desolate desert ecosystems, majestic mountains, and a whole lot of scenery make San Carlos an excellent place to rent an RV with an eye towards exploring the stoic beauty of southern Arizona.
The Great Outdoors
Arizona is packed with excellent places where you can soak up the sun and enjoy some relaxing desert vibes. There are lots of places within driving distance of San Carlos that are ideal for day trips or camping overnight in your San Carlos camper rental. When you book an RV in San Carlos, you can head to Roper Lake State Park down the road on U.S. Route 70. The park revolves around Roper Lake, an artificial lake fully stocked with trout and other assorted fish. You can swim or boat in the lake or hike around it to catch picturesque views of the surrounding mountains. There is a campground along the lakefront that you can enjoy from the comfort of your San Carlos motorhome rental if you need a place to stay. No more than three miles away, Dankworth Pond State Park is an equally suitable place to bring your San Carlos RV rental. The pond is fed by an artesian spring that makes the water hot to the touch. You can fish, canoe, kayak, swim, or hike around the pond.
Down near Tucson, the scenic Saguaro National Park sits on either side of the city in two non-contiguous sections, both absolutely beautiful in every way. The park is named for the iconic saguaro cactuses that dot the landscape. The towering Rincon Mountains hover over the city of Tucson, with fabulous hikes and panoramic views of the park and beyond. There are even ancient rock formations scattered throughout the park that are believed to be over one and a half billion years old.
Petrified Forest National Park is 200 miles to the north and worth the trip if you've got the time. The park is named for the massive deposits of petrified and fossilized trees. Aside from the park’s namesake, there are breathtaking geological formations like the Teepees, named for their resemblance to the indigenous dwellings. There are no campgrounds for the San Carlos camper rental, but don’t let that be a reason you miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There isn’t an overabundance of campgrounds close to San Carlos, but you will find that there are a few serviceable options close to town where you can camp with the San Carlos RV rental. Gila County RV Park comes complete with a batting cage facility for people who love baseball. Other on-site amenities include wireless internet, laundry facilities, restrooms, and a fully stocked convenience store.
The Apache Gold Casino Resort has swimming pools, casino gambling, fine dining, and its own RV resort for guests to use. Those who stay in the RV portion are treated as hotel guests with all the amenities and services that come with staying in the hotel.
For a rustic camp setting, you can head into the Tonto National Forest or one of the other countless forests and national parks surrounding San Carlos. Kellner Campground and Pioneer Pass Campground are the closest public campgrounds to town.
San Carlos isn’t the liveliest town, so first-time visitors shouldn’t expect a bustling city center with lots of businesses. That being said, you can find some exciting entertainment options scattered in the reservation surrounding the town, especially if you enjoy learning about history and other cultures. The Tonto National Monument is an incredibly well-preserved series of structures nestled between cliff sides in the desert. These masterfully crafted cliff dwellings were built by indigenous people in the 13th century, way before the arrival of Europeans. The Besh-Ba-Gowah Museum is another example of indigenous architecture built centuries ago that you can see when you rent an RV in nearby San Carlos. You can take a self-guided tour through these stunning ruins while observing antique pottery, artwork, and tools from the past.
Gila County Historical Museum is a small museum with fascinating and informative exhibits regarding the region’s complicated past. Guests can truly get a taste of the Old West when they visit this lovely institution in the city of Globe. Local artwork adorns the walls, and lots of antique items, minerals, mining implements, and other relics of the past make an appearance in the museum’s various exhibitions.
If you are looking for entertainment and nightlife, the casino in town might be just the place to find it. At this massive resort, you'll find a wide-open gaming floor, a golf course, a hotel, several restaurants, and much more.